USA exempts Chabahar port-related activities from its sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Supply concerns that drove crude to a four-year high last month faded on speculation the USA would soften the blow of its sanctions on Iran to lower pump prices at home.

The United States is warning other countries not to allow Iranian oil tankers into their territorial waters or ports, saying such access may run afoul of us sanctions and not only incur penalties, but also result in catastrophic economic and environmental damage should an accident occur.

While Pompeo said more than 20 importing nations have already zeroed out their imports of Iranian crude, he warned the USA will continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are showing they're anxious, signalling last month that they might need to dial back near-record output levels. The Energy Information Administration just increased its 2019 production forecast by 300,000 barrels a day to 12.06 million.

New Delhi has poured $2 billion into development in Afghanistan since the 2001 USA -led overthrow of the Taliban government.

The foreign minister further stated that while previous US Presidents have also displayed "disrespectful attitudes" towards Iran, they have eventually changed their stance, and said the Trump administration will have to do the same.

Oil rose as OPEC and its allies were said to plan talks on fresh production cuts next year, responding to recent increases in crude inventories amid surging USA supply.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were up 6 cents at $72.13 a barrel. Total volume traded was nearly double the 100-day average. The global benchmark crude traded at a US$10.13 premium to WTI for the same month.

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In the USA, the government is estimating the biggest yearly increase in domestic crude production.

Asserting that the US' "desperation" was highlighted in their move to include closed companies in the sanctions, Zarif said that the anti-Iran move was mostly criticised and opposed by the global community and that only a handful of nations like Israel and others supported the move.

Preventing oil prices from rising any further has been a relentless rise in United States crude output, which hit a record 11.6 million bpd in the week ending 2 November, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released on Wednesday.

At the same time, industry data was said to show that nationwide oil inventories rose by 7.83 million barrels last week, while a median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of analysts expected a 2-million-barrel increase ahead of government data Wednesday.

The decision by the Trump administration, which a day earlier imposed the toughest ever sanctions on Iran and is very restrictive in giving exemptions, is a seen as a recognition by Washington of India's major role in the development of the port on the Gulf of Oman, which is of enormous strategic importance for the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

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