United States warns ports against welcoming Iranian ships, following new sanctions


The sanctions that went into force on November 7 target Iran's energy, financial, and shipping sectors and result from President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, which had lifted the sanctions for a time.

Seoul's Foreign Affairs Ministry says the decision means South Korea will be able to maintain a stable supply level of Iranian condensate, or ultralight oil.

The United States is warning other countries not to allow Iranian oil tankers into their ports, saying the tankers not only could incur penalties under us sanctions but may be courting "environmental disaster".

Pompeo said eight countries would be granted waivers from the sanctions as they had significantly reduced their purchases of Iranian crude over the past six months.

On Monday, the Belgium-based worldwide financial messaging system SWIFT said that it would comply with the USA sanctions on Iran and would cut off sanctioned Iranian banks from its network. "We continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero", said the Secretary of State. Meanwhile, the report also noted that China and India's imports from Iran remained fairly consistent throughout the year, and both governments have shown little sign that they intend to fully comply with the sanctions. It is also considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries after Pakistan denied transit access to India.

India has invested $500 million (approximately Rs 3,600 crore at current exchange rate) in the Chabahar project, which will connect the country with Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

"The president's [Donald Trump's] South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India", said the official.

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The port provides key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan.

In a relief for India, the United States has exempted New Delhi from the imposition of certain sanctions for the development of the strategically-located Chabahar Port in Iran as well as the construction of the railway line connecting it with Afghanistan.

When asked on the fate of Chabahar Port after the USA reimposed all its sanctions on Iran, the spokesperson said, "This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan".

Iran has plans to link the port by railway to Zahedan on the Pakistani border up to Mashhad in the northeast. If the sanctions are meant to "convince the [Iranian] regime to abandon its current revolutionary course", as Pompeo said on Monday, such exceptions surely undercut that effort.

With this exception, however, business as usual will continue for now at Chabahar.

Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative on Iran policy, said that the USA sanctions extended to insurers and underwriters.