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Oil jumps after US says it'll end all waivers for Iran sanctions

Mike Pompeo says eight economies that can now buy Iranian oil will have no grace period beyond May 1

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday saying the Trump administration will not renew waivers that let countries buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions, a move that risks upsetting major importers such as China and India.

Washington

THE United States on Monday said it will eliminate in May all waivers granted to eight economies allowing them to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions, as it ratcheted up pressure to choke off all oil revenues of the Islamic Republic.

The decision, taken by President Donald Trump, has sent oil prices to their highest in 2019, even though the White House said the US was working with top Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) exporter Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure the oil market is"adequately supplied."

The sanctions were imposed as Washington pressed Iran to curtail its nuclear programme and stop backing militant proxies across the Middle East.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday reiterated that Washington's goal was to bring down exports of Iranian oil to zero and added the US had no plans to give any grace period beyond May 1 for countries to comply.

"Today I am announcing that we will no longer grant any exemptions," Mr Pompeo said in a briefing. "We are going to zero. We're going to zero across the board."

Oil prices spiked after Sunday's reports that the waivers would end and remained higher on Monday. International benchmark Brent rose 2.6 per cent to US$73.87 a barrel after earlier touching US$74.31, the highest since early November. US crude futures gained 2.4 per cent, or US$1.52 a barrel, to US$65.52. It earlier touched a high of US$65.87, a level not seen since late October. REUTERS