India and South Korea Win Waivers From Iranian Oil Sanctions, but the Pressure's Still On

Nov 1, 2018 | 21:52 GMT

This photo shows Iranian and South Korean tankers docked at the Kharg Island oil facility off the Iranian coast in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian and South Korean (right) tankers dock at the oil facility on Iran's Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf during March 2017. Even if Iranian oil customers are granted waivers from U.S. sanctions, they will find it difficult to pay for the oil, transport it and insure the shipments.

(ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)


  • The United States will find it necessary to grant a limited number of waivers to sanctions it will impose on Iranian oil customers, but in exchange, it will demand that the countries substantially cut those imports.
  • The United States will continue to pursue its goal of reducing Iran's oil exports to zero, and it will demand further reductions when the six-month waivers expire in order to renew them.
  • Even the Iranian customers who gain waivers will find it difficult to set up mechanisms to pay for the oil or to arrange shipping and insurance to transport it.
  • India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey are the countries most likely to receive waivers, while others, including China, will continue to try to secure them.

After months of negotiations and just days before U.S. sanctions imposed on importers of Iranian oil kick in, the United States has apparently agreed to give waivers to two of Iran's biggest oil customers, sparing them from the penalties. Bloomberg News reported Nov. 1 that India and South Korea, the largest importers of Iran's oil behind China, have arranged deals for the exemptions, while noting that the details of those broad agreements may not be completed until after sanctions start on Nov. 5....

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