The United States said on Friday it will temporarily allow eight importers to keep buying Iranian oil when it re-imposes sanctions to try to force Iran to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who announced the decision, did not name the eight, which he referred to as “jurisdictions,” a term that might include importers such as Taiwan which the United States does not regard as a country.
China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and Japan have been top importers of Iran’s oil, while Taiwan occasionally buys cargoes of Iranian crude but is not a major buyer.
Turkey has been told it will temporarily be allowed to keep buying Iranian oil, its energy minister told reporters, as has Iraq, as long as it does not pay Iran in U.S. dollars, three Iraqi officials said.
Washington reintroduced sanctions against Iran’s currency trade, metals and auto sectors in August after it pulled out of a multinational 2015 deal that lifted sanctions in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear programme.
Tehran says it has complied fully with the nuclear accord and its commitment has been repeatedly confirmed by the U.N. atomic watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The European Union, France, Germany and Britain, parties to the nuclear agreement who are trying to keep it alive, said they regretted Washington’s decision to re-impose sanctions. The EU is creating a special mechanism that would circumvent U.S. financial sanctions on Iran.