China refuses USA order to reduce oil imports from Iran

Roman Schwartz
August 5, 2018

Sporadic protests broke out in several cities in Iran for a fifth night on Saturday, a day after demonstrators attacked a seminary, according to Iranian news agencies and social media, as Iranians brace for a return of U.S. sanctions.

NEW DELHI, Aug 2 (Reuters) - India's monthly oil imports from Iran surged by about 30 percent to a record 768,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July, as state refiners' intake surged ahead of us sanctions in November, preliminary tanker arrival data obtained by Reuters showed.

Iran has acquired five new airplanes a day before the USA is to begin restoring sanctions suspended under the 2015 nuclear deal.

Protests have broken out in Iran since the beginning of the year over high prices, water shortage, power cuts and alleged corruption.

In May, the United States pulled out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which global sanctions were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

The snub could seriously undermine U.S. efforts to isolate Iran over the country's controversial nuclear programme. Iranian authorities have yet to comment on them and several officials contacted by Reuters declined to comment.

Iran's oil exports could fall by as much as two-thirds by the end of the year because of the United States sanctions, putting oil markets under huge strain amid supply outages elsewhere in the world.

Also last month, China, which is Iran's biggest customer, said it did not accept unilateral sanctions against Iran.

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Reuters reported last week that India's oil industry is preparing for a blanket cut in Iranian imports, although officials from the two countries continue to hold talks on the issue. We will go by our interests.

"Based on existing agreements, five new ATR aircraft will land at Mehrabad Airport at 9am (04:30 GMT) tomorrow [Sunday]", the national carrier said on its Telegram channel. Their arrival means state carrier Iran Air has received 13 of the 20 it ordered from the French-Italian manufacturer in April 2017.

The twin-prop planes are jointly manufactured by France's Airbus and Italy's Leonardo, but because just over 10 percent of their parts are made in the USA, they are subject to the renewed sanctions.

People are growing increasingly angry over rising inflation and a dramatic plunge in the currency - the rial - which has lost almost two-thirds of its value in the past six months.

A third official said the Iranian naval operations did not appear to be affecting commercial maritime activity.

"We are already seeing vehicle prices going through the roof over fears about raw material imports", she told AFP.

"There is a massive loss of confidence in the financial system and the government's ability to control things and withstand sanctions", she said.

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