U.S. exempts Japan, 7 others from Iran oil sanctions

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration exempted Japan and seven other «jurisdictions» from its ban on Iranian oil imports as it reimposed sanctions against Tehran on Monday.

The seven others are China, India, South Korea, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a joint news conference with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Earlier Monday, the administration reimposed sanctions on Iran’s energy, banking, shipbuilding and shipping sectors to compel Tehran to end its nuclear program and support for militant groups in the Middle East.

«These sanctions hit at the core areas of Iran’s economy,» Pompeo told reporters Friday. «They are necessary to spur changes we seek on the part of the regime,» which the administration calls the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.

He said two of the eight jurisdictions will wind down Iranian oil imports to zero in «weeks» and the six others will import «at greatly reduced levels.»

Japan had asked for a waiver during negotiations with the United States, saying its imports of Iranian oil have been recently falling.

Takashi Tsukioka, president of the Petroleum Association of Japan, said in September that Japanese oil distributors would temporarily suspend oil imports from Iran until the end of the negotiations.

Aside from restrictions on oil imports, the administration added more than 700 names — including individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft linked to the energy and financial sectors and other segments of Iran’s economy — to the U.S. list of sanctioned entities.

Of those added, more than 300 are new designations and the remainder won sanctions relief under the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, from which Trump withdrew the United States in May.

The administration advised SWIFT, the global messaging network that connects the world’s financial institutions, to cut off its service for designated Iranian financial institutions.

Mnuchin warned that Brussels-based SWIFT will be subject to U.S. sanctions if it provides financial messaging services to such institutions.

«Any financial institution, company, or individual who evades our sanctions risks losing access to the U.S. financial system and the ability to do business with the United States or U.S. companies,» Mnuchin said. «We are intent on ensuring that global funds stop flowing to the coffers of the Iranian regime.»

After pulling the United States out of the deal struck between Iran and six major powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — the administration began reimposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic in August.

Under the deal, Tehran had agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

All — Kyodo News+

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