Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

China rejects US request to cut Iranian crude imports

China rejects US request to cut Iranian crude imports

Iran's oil exports could fall by as much as two-thirds by the end of the year because of the U.S. sanctions, putting oil markets under huge strain amid supply outages elsewhere in the world.

However, two top U.S. bureaucrats have told Bloomberg that China is provocatively refusing to comply. "When we decide anything on Iran, we will inform you".

The official confirmed that during July delegations would be dispatched to Beijing and Delhi to press home the case, having already visited the capitals of other major Iranian oil importers.

"Iran will survive this round of USA sanctions as it has survived them before", Rouhani said, describing them as a "crime and aggression".

Tamar Essner, an analyst at Nasdaq Inc., said there are "no signs whatsoever that this trade war is going to clear up anytime soon", and that has "caused investors to continue to trim net length, take profits, and de-risk that position with the sense that oil's upside is limited unless there's material reduction in Iranian barrels".

Chinese and Indian companies "will be subject to the same sanctions that everybody else's are if they engage in those sectors of the economy that are sanctionable", a State Department official told reporters in June. "China will continue to cooperate with Iran adhering to its global obligations", she added.

China - the world's top crude buyer and Iran's No. 1 customer - has said previously that it opposed unilateral sanctions and lifted monthly oil imports from the country by 26 percent in July.

Trump's policies are already putting significant pressure on the Iranian economy, although USA intelligence suggests they may ultimately rally Iranians against the United States and strengthen Iran's hardline rulers, officials say.

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The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, has pledged to fill any supply gaps in the market after Trump's complaints.

Last month, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said the Trump administration had launched a communications campaign to foment unrest and put pressure on Iran to end its nuclear programme and its support of armed groups.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal in May.

Although smaller foreign firms have vowed to work around the U.S. measures, multinationals such as France's Total and Peugeot, and Germany's Siemens have already said they will have to pull out.

Trump claimed the deal wasn't stopping Iran supporting terror groups or developing ballistic missiles.

Iranian protesters have attacked a religious school in Karaj province near Tehran, the conservative Fars news agency reported on Saturday, as sporadic protests simmered ahead of the reimposition of United States sanctions.

US sanctions targeting Iranian trade in automobiles, gold and other key metals will be re-imposed on Monday, while sanctions targeting the country's energy and banking sector will resume November 4.

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