US says countries buying Iranian oil will be subject to sanctions

Reuters Washington D.C., DC, USA May 31, 2019, 06.54 AM(IST)

Brian Hook, US Special Representative for Iran. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Sanctions would be imposed "even if a country had not met its previously-negotiated purchase caps," Hook said in a statement. "Our firm policy is to completely zero out purchases of Iranian oil. Period."

The United States will sanction any country which buys oil from Iran after the expiration of waivers on May 2, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Thursday.

Sanctions would be imposed "even if a country had not met its previously-negotiated purchase caps," Hook said in a statement. "Our firm policy is to completely zero out purchases of Iranian oil. Period."

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Thursday that countries like China and India which were issued waivers in November to buy Iranian could continue the purchases after May 2 until they reached a negotiated cap.

 Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, saying it was an effort by Tehran to raise the global price of oil.

"These were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world," Pompeo told reporters shortly before leaving on a trip to Europe.

He suggested he had seen evidence of Iran's involvement cited earlier on Thursday by White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Speaking in London, Bolton said evidence that Iran was behind the attacks would be presented to the United Nations Security Council next week.

Asked if he had seen the evidence, Pompeo said: "Oh yes. Ambassador Bolton got it right."

Arab leaders are meeting in the Saudi city of Mecca to discuss drone strikes on oil installations in Saudi Arabia and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi tankers, off the UAE coast earlier this month.

Tehran has denied involvement.