USA pushes allies to halt Iran oil imports, waivers unlikely

India is reportedly preparing to Iran in rupees for oil cargoes it purchases from the country in a scheme meant to avoid the impacts of US sanctions

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday called on all countries to stop imports of Iranian oil from November.

The State Department official said the USA plans to engage with other countries in the Middle Easter to "ensure that the global supply of oil is not adversely affected by these sanctions".

The decision will test the United States' ability to pressure Iran unilaterally, with European countries which worked in unison with the Obama administration to cut shipments voicing strong opposition to the Trump administration's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran is one of the world's largest oil producers, with exports worth billions of dollars each year.

Asked about what kind of reaction he has been getting from European allies, who remain part of the Iran nuclear deal, the official said, "I am continually struck by the amount of business that is falling out of Iran".

The senior USA official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, admitted that this would be unpopular.

The Trump administration is asking its worldwide partners for a full halt on oil imports from Iran by November 4, or else they could face sanctions.

"For Japan it is going to be relatively easy to fill the gap of Iranian oil", said Ikuo Hamabayashi, president of the Oil Information Center at the Institute of Energy Economics Japan.

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At the time, the Trump administration gave foreign companies either 90 or 180 days to wind down their business with Iranian counterparts, depending on the type of commercial activity.

"The government hasn't done enough to confront the economic problems", he said, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

The official said the message has been delivered already to allies in Europe and Asia and an interagency team of state and treasury department officials will be visiting India, China and other countries in the coming weeks.

The official also said that countries should start reducing the import of oil from Iran now and bring it to zero by November 4. Iran's oil import could emerge as a major topic of discussion between India and the USA during the first 2+2 Dialogue next week.

Other protests also were seen around the country, with shouts of "death to Palestine", "No to Gaza, no to Lebanon" and "Leave Syria and think of us", being heard. But external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had said that "India follows only United Nations sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country" days after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran deal.

"As always, America wants to break apart the power, glory of the Islamic Republic of Iran and grandeur of the system and the nation with a new method", Rouhani claimed, as he sought to reassure Iranians growing angry by the day over the regime's handling of the economy.

In a recent report, the bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) said as global sanctions on Iran increased in 2010-2013, India sought to preserve its longstanding ties with Iran while cooperating with the sanctions regime. "During 2011-2015, India reduced its purchases of Iranian oil-at some cost to its own development-in order to receive from the U.S. administration exemptions from sanctions".

Reports say the United States has asked all countries, including India, to stop all oil imports from Iran by November.

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