Iran cheers against the US and rates its sanctions of failure

Iran cheers against the US and rates its sanctions of failure

The Iranian authorities today described as failure the sanctions of the United States and their pressures to the rest of the world to apply an oil embargo to Iran as of Monday, although these measures have already plunged the country into a serious economic crisis.

After Washington announced that it will temporarily exempt eight countries from sanctions for the purchase of Iranian oil, the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, assured that the US has been the "loser" in his 40 years of confrontation with the Islamic Republic.

"The power of US pressure, using its economic and military power, is diminishing," Khamenei said in a speech, in which he considered that this loss of influence has increased during the term of the current president, Donald Trump.

In his opinion, Trump "has discredited" the US, and "the world opposes any of its decisions": "The US today is much weaker than it was 40 years ago," he said.

Referring to the sanctions, the leader commented that "the US objective was to boycott and paralyze the country's economy," but as a result, Iran has strengthened its "self-sufficiency" through an increase in local production.

The new round of US sanctions, which goes into effect next Monday, includes the sale of oil, the ban on financial transactions with its Central Bank and restrictions on the Iranian port sector.

However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced yesterday that Washington will temporarily exempt eight countries that have made "efforts" to reduce their oil imports from Tehran.

Although he did not mention the countries, some of the beneficiaries are South Korea, Japan, India and Turkey, while with China "the talks continue", according to Pompeo.

China is the main buyer of Iranian oil by importing about 800,000 barrels a day, followed by India, with 700,000. For its part, South Korea, which cut its exports about three months ago for sanctions, bought about 90,000 barrels per day, and Japan around 170,000.

Iran's oil exports exceeded 2.5 million barrels per day in the first six months of 2018, but have since fallen by some 800,000 barrels.

On the exemptions, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said today that "most of the US measures failed after paying a high price to force banks and companies" to comply with sanctions against Iran.

"It does not seem that the US has more capacity to pressure the countries of the world not to cooperate with Iran (…) There is nothing to worry about," said spokesman Bahram Qasemi, who denounced, nevertheless, "a psychological war against Iran. "

The first US sanctions came into force last August, three months after Trump withdrew his country from the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran.

Although the rest of the signatories – Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany – are looking for ways to counteract their impact, the sanctions have already had a negative effect on the country's economy, whose national currency has suffered a sharp devaluation .

Therefore, the exemptions to some of the main clients of the Iranian crude suppose a relief for the country, that it has in the oil exports one of its main income of currency.

The head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament, Heshmatola Falahatpishe, stressed today that the exemptions are due to "the US government has come to the conclusion that it can not reduce Iran's exports to zero."

"He has met with the reluctance of other countries and this shows the power of Iran in the oil market," said Falahatpishe, asked by Efe at a conference.

Regarding the future, since the exemptions are temporary, in some cases until March, the Iranian official considered that "these countries will not be able to resist without Iran's oil", so "other modes of supply will be created".

"We have the necessary experience in the field of sanctions, and do not doubt that the Iranians can export their oil as badly as they need in the worst possible situation," he concluded.

Some of the measures already adopted by Iran to avoid sanctions have been to send a large volume of oil for storage in China, use its freighters to transport the oil and turn off the transponders of its tankers to avoid tracking systems.

Also, offer discounts to its customers and sell their oil on the stock exchange, all with the objective that their exports are at most reduced to 1 million barrels per day. EFE

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