Iran warns Israel of firm response if oil shipments are targeted

Elias Hubbard
March 15, 2019

Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative on Iran, said in remarks at the CERAWeek energy conference that due to a global oil surplus - in part due to record US production - the United States is accelerating its plan of bringing Iranian crude exports to zero.

The remark comes after on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the conference that Washington meant to drive Iran's oil exports, which is the country's largest source of income, to zero.

Tuesday's (March 12th) meeting with top oil executives would remark a new approach of White House to address industry executives as part of Trump Administration's "energy dominance" agenda.

The U.S. sanctions have also resulted in stalled early negotiations between Iran and South Korea for new supertankers, while Panama has de-flagged many Iranian ships from its registry, according to Reuters' sources.

According to an official schedule, following the meeting with top oil executives on Houston, Pompeo would be speaking at HIS Markit's CERAWeek conference, the largest annual gathering of United States oil and gas industry.

Iran is, of course, trying to keep its procuration efforts under the radar as it struggles to keep crude exports going following the re-imposition of crippling US sanctions. Officials have also said that the oil shortage issue can be resolved by using other nations' tankers.

U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, described Iran's tanker sector as a "floating liability" in November.

"I call on the worldwide community to halt, by any means, Iran's attempts to bypass the sanctions via the sea", Netanyahu said.

Last May the United States pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, reimposing stiff economic sanctions that had been lifted from Iran in return for the dismantling of the weapons-capable elements of its nuclear development program. "While the United States is working to develop an independent, sovereign Iraq, Iran is using its energy to create a vassal state", Pompeo added.

Government sources say Reuters' calculations showing India's oil imports from Iran in this fiscal year would be higher than the 452,000 bpd, or 22.6 million tonnes, it imported in the previous year, were correct.

The sanctions have started to have an effect on the Iranian economy and the regime is desperate to find ways around sanctions.

A spokesman for Daewoo said it signed a preliminary agreement with Iran in December 2016 to cooperate on developing the shipyard, but said no progress had been made since then.

All eight are in bilateral talks about the waivers, sources said.

When asked about Iran's efforts to secure ships, a third Iranian source said they were looking at all options.

Besides China, India and Japan, Washington also gave South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece the green light to keep buying Iranian oil, although it's unclear whether these waivers will be renewed when they expire in May. However, the age of the fleet and the dilapidated state of the tankers are making the challenge even more hard.

Vietnamese officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Oil traders do not want to enter Iran.

Shipping data showed at least two Panama flagged tankers - the Sarak and the Sobar - were re-flagged to Iran on January 1.

"Banks will not engage when you mention the Iran word".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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