China, Japan, India among those exempt from Iran oil sanctions, says US

A Saudi Arabian oil facility

Arabian oil facility

They include some of Iran's top oil customers - China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

US President Donald Trump says he wants to gradually impose sanctions on Iran's oil, citing concerns about shocking energy markets and causing global price spikes.

"President Trump's predecessors also began crafting their Iran policy with similar bravado; but came around to accepting and respecting the reality of Iran as they became more experienced in office".

In a gaffe which drew immediate ridicule, the United States sanctions targeted the oil tanker Sanchi that sank off the coast of China in January and Tat Bank, which was dissolved in 2012.

Brent futures for January settlement added 34 cents to settle at US$73.17 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Israel has been a fierce opponent of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which the US withdrew this year, saying the deal didn't rein in Iran's regional military activities.

Exports peaked at 2.8 million barrels per day in April, including 300,000 barrels per day of condensate, but have fallen to 1.8 million bpd since then, according to WoodMac, which expects volumes to drop further to 1 million bpd.

"When I look at the list, it's obviously very large economies that still in many ways depend on Iran oil imports and at this time don't have any strong alternatives", said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

Imposing maximal economic pressure on Iran is vital for getting Tehran back to the table, he said.

"The question is will the buyers be willing to defy the USA and risk sanctions", he said.

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"Iran is a much different country than it was when I took office", said Trump, adding: "They wanted to take over the whole Middle East". In fact, Iran's oil exports may go up and not down this month, according to RT's Boom Bust.

An effigy of U.S. government icon "Uncle Sam" is held up by demonstrators during a rally in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, marking the 39th anniversary of the seizure of the embassy. Iran can either change its behavior or see its economy collapse, he said.

While stopping short of urging regime change, he reiterated demands for Iran to end policies rooted in the 1979 Islamic revolution including its support for regional proxies such as the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and its development of missiles.

"It will be hard for Iran to maximise exports when virtually all trade in oil is cleared in USA dollars, putting global oil companies, many national oil companies, traders and banks off limits", said Homayoun Falakshahi, analyst at Wood Mackenzie. "We are prepared to resist any pressure", Rouhani said.

He also called the sanctions that went into effect on Monday "fruitless" and part of the US propaganda and psychological war against Iran.

The sanctions will target oil exports, shipping and banks.

Iran is already facing an economic crisis.

But Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in an interview published Monday with USA Today, said Iran would consider fresh diplomacy if there were a "different approach" by Washington.

They have set up an alternative payment mechanism - or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) - that will help companies trade without facing U.S. penalties. US officials said they expect the exempted companies to eventually cut all Iranian deals, but the waivers offer another avenue for Tehran to fight the sanctions.

Supporters of the agreement say Iran remained compliant with the deal.

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