The Latest: Iran minister unhappy with OPEC committee stance
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on the situation in Iran after the re-imposition of all American sanctions on the country (all times local):
Iran’s oil minister has written a letter to the OPEC chief, asking that the so-called Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee — which consists of all OPEC and non-OPEC countries — be dissolved because of its stance on the newly re-imposed U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The minister, Bijan Zanganeh, said in his letter to OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo that some members of the committee “openly take side with the United States in imposing unilateral and illegal sanctions against Iran.”
He says there is no reason to continue with JMMC. The committee is due to hold a meeting next week in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, an ally of Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia.
Zanganeh’s remarks were by Iran’s official news agency IRNA on Tuesday. It’s unlikely, however, that his letter to OPEC would lead to the dissolution of the committee.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the decision of the United States to re-impose sanctions on Iran “is not legitimate” and that the rest of the parties in the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by Washington are working to make economic cooperation with Tehran possible.
Lavrov spoke on Tuesday in Madrid, where he is holding talks with his Spanish counterpart. His remarks are Russia’s first reaction to Washington’s new list of sanctions against Iran’s vital oil exports, banking and transport industries.
The Russian diplomat says the sanctions go against international law and practices, and that the U.S. government’s “policies of issuing an ultimatum and making unilateral moves are unacceptable these days.”
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell has said that the U.S. move raised economic and security risk internationally and that the European Union would work to realize the 2015 nuclear deal struck with Iran.
A former Indian diplomat says his country earned a waiver from U.S. sanctions against Iran because of its reliance on Iranian oil and earlier moves to reduce imports.
The Indian government has yet to comment on its being granted a waiver, along with seven other countries. India’s top oil supplier is Iraq, followed by Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The former diplomat, Pinak Chakravarty, said Tuesday that India reduced its oil imports from Iran during an earlier round of sanctions.
He says it was a “quid pro quo that if you scale it down a bit, then the U.S. would arrange for this sanctions waiver.”
He says imports cover almost 80 percent of India’s energy needs, and that it must import from Iran in order to grow its economy.
The U.S. restored sanctions on Iran’s oil industry this week that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord, which President Donald Trump withdrew from in May.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says new American sanctions are an “indiscriminate assault” on his country.
Zarif made the comments Tuesday in an online video. He said the sanctions were aimed at forcing “us to submit to (America’s) will, no matter how absurd, unlawful or fundamentally flawed its demands are.”
Zarif urged America to re-examine its “catastrophes” in the Mideast. That includes its support of both Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Despite being granted a waiver, Turkey’s president has criticized the resumption of sanctions on Iran calling it a destabilizing step.
Speaking to reporters in Parliament on Tuesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said the sanctions contravene international law and diplomacy, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration resumed sanctions on Iran on Monday, although Turkey is among eight major importers of Iranian oil who are spared temporarily from immediate penalties.
Anadolu quoted Erdogan as saying: “We do not find sanctions to be right because to us, they are sanctions aimed at upsetting the global balance.”
Asked about Turkey’s “roadmap” for when the temporary waiver is lifted, Erdogan recalled Turkey’s dependence on oil and natural gas imports and said he cannot allow his citizens to “freeze in winter.”
“We cannot abide by them (the sanctions), we cannot accept them,” Erdogan said.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister holds out little hope for negotiations to ease tensions between Iran and the United States now that the Trump administration has re-imposed sanctions.
Ambassador Seyed M. Kazem Sajjadpour said in London on Tuesday that the United States has the “very simple naive” view that Iran will wilt under the pressure.
“The assumption is, we cut the money of the oil, then Iran will be deprived, then Iranian people will revolt, then the system will be changed, then we are fine, then the paradise will come,” he said in a Chatham House talk
He says this view “negates the reality of Iran and the realities of foreign politics.”
Sajjadpour says Iran is self-confident and will not be forced to negotiate by having a knife put to its throat.
Japan says it is pleased to be temporarily spared from penalties as the U.S. resumes sanctions on Iran.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, however, told reporters Tuesday that Japan will monitor and analyze any possible impact the sanctions may have to make sure the sanctions do not adversely affect Japanese companies.
President Donald Trump’s administration reinstated all remaining sanctions on Iran on Monday.
A U.S. ally, Japan is one of eight major importers of Iranian oil that received waivers on immediate penalties.
Suga said Japan’s exclusion reflects Washington’s consideration of Tokyo’s repeated requests to minimize the impact of sanctions on Japanese companies.
He said Japan will continue to cooperate closely and discuss the issue with the U.S. side.
The U.S.’s self-described “largest-ever” sanctions list targeting Iran includes an oil tanker already sunk and a bank long since closed.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif late Monday in a tweet called the re-imposition of sanctions a desperate move and said they target ordinary Iranians.
The sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department target, among other things, the oil tanker Sanchi that sank in January after a week of burning off the coast of China, killing all 32 crew on board.
The list also includes Tat Bank, which was dissolved in 2012 over lack of transparency and financial charges.
South Korea’s presidential spokesman says the U.S. has demonstrated the strength of the two countries’ alliance by allowing South Korea to continue importing Iranian crude oil products under reinstated sanctions against Iran.
Kim Eui-kyeom spoke to reporters Tuesday after South Korea was named as one of eight countries that received waivers from the United States to continue importing Iranian crude and other petroleum products without penalty.
South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong says the waiver “opens breathing room” for South Korea’s oil refining industry and companies that export to Iran.
South Korea says it can also continue exporting non-sanctioned products to Iran after the United States agreed to recognize a transaction system where local companies receive payments through two Korean won-denominated accounts that Iran’s central bank opened in South Korea.