USA sanctions on Iran oil officially begins

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Speaking with the reporters at the White House on Friday before leaving on a campaign trail, Trump said Iran was not the same country which it was when he started nearly two years ago.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced the measures on Saturday, saying Trump had "disgraced" USA prestige and would be the ultimate loser in the long-running quarrel between the countries.

And China said on Monday its lawful trade cooperation with Iran should be respected and expressed regret that the United States re-imposed sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.

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The European Union is not one of the recipients, according to Pompeo who said those who receive waivers "have made important moves towards getting to zero crude oil importation".

Switzerland said on Monday it is holding talks with the USA and Iran about launching a payment channel to help ensure that food and drugs keep flowing to the Islamic Republic. "That's our expectation. It's the reason for President Trump's policy", he asserted.

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The relaxation may offer major reprieve to India that has been importing close to 10 per cent of its oil needs (about 500,000 barrels of oil per day) from Iran.

Pompeo defended the Trump administration's reimposition of sanctions against Iran from conservative critics who argue more should be done to isolate the country. "The whole world understands these sanctions are real", he said during an interview of CBS's Face the Nation.

Pompeo maintained that despite the waivers, "these sanctions have already had an enormous impact". "We think China and Iran carrying out normal cooperation under the framework of global law is lawful and reasonable, and (this right) should be respected and protected", he added. That number will fall farther.

"The expected USA waiver for India is a good development that should allow the country to continue getting its share of oil on attractive terms from Iran".

"So the ultimate objective is to pressure Iran to get back to the table of negotiations as per the terms of US President Donald Trump's administration".

Rouhani then maintained that the country's exports have increased in the past seven months compared to the same period a year ago, saying the growth occurred despite the US' attempt to hamper Iran's economic activities.

Secretary of State Pompeo defends waivers to Iran sanctions
Pompeo said: "Every effort is aimed at giving the Iranian people the government that they not only want but deserve". That was one of the most ridiculous deals ever made by any country, at any time: "the Iran nuclear deal", he said.

But Mr Rouhani struck a defiant tone, saying that Iran would "continue selling oil".

Details of the sanctions will be released at a news conference scheduled for 8:30 a.m. ET with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

His decision was widely criticized overseas and by Democrats at home, who said that while imperfect, the pact had placed the Iranian nuclear program under the tightest scrutiny ever.

"The Iranian people will prove to them how loyal they are to their Supreme Leader (Khamenei) and that they will never abandon him".

A first set of sanctions announced August 7 prompted European automakers Daimler and PSA to quit Iran.

"Going forward, next year, we anticipate a much better supplied oil market, and that will help us accelerate, I think, the path to zero", he asserted.

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