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    An oil tanker is seen off the port of Bandar Abbas, southern Iran (File)

    Over 20 Nations Dropped Iranian Oil Imports to Zero - US State Department

    © AFP 2019 / ATTA KENARE
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    On Monday, US President Donald Trump declared his decision not to reissue waivers to any country that is currently importing Iranian oil.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — More than 20 countries have lowered their oil trade with Iran to zero since last May, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

    "We have seen over 20 nations went to zero since May," Hook said

    The official noted that Washington gave a choice to other countries to work with the United Sates or continue to deal with Iran.

    "There has not been evidence that any of these countries are thinking about evading American sanctions," he said.

    At the same time, Hook vowed that the US will help Iraq increase its oil output so that Turkey and other importing countries remain well supplied after Washington ends its Iran sanctions waivers.

    "We have worked on the significant diplomatic overtures and helped on technical side with Iraq to boost their output, and are very pleased to see significant volumes of Iraqi oil now being imported into Turkey," Hook said. "Those overtures will continue so that Turkey, as well as all of the importing countries are able to obtain the oil that they need to continue to develop their economies."

    The waivers, which will not be reissued after they expire in May, as Trump announced Monday, were given to a total of eight countries in November 2018, including China, Japan, India, Italy, Greece, South Korea Taiwan and Turkey. However, Greece, Italy and Taiwan no longer need sanctions waivers because they have already stopped their Iranian oil imports.

    Commenting on the decision, Washington announced that the US, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would ensure that the global oil market would remain "adequately supplied".

    READ MORE: Saudi Arabia Pledges to Stabilise Market as US Ends Iran Oil Waivers — Minister

    The move prompted significant raise of oil prices: Internatonal benchmark Brent increased 2.6 percent to $73.87 a barrel, the highest since early November, while US crude futures rose 2.4 percent to $65.52.

    The announcement drew swift objections from Turkey and China, which were among the countries that previously received such waivers. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticised the US move in a Twitter post, saying that his country rejects unilateral sanctions and US attempts to impose rules on Turkey's relations with its neighbors.

    READ MORE: Beijing Vows to Defend Business Amid US' Reported Plans to End Iran Oil Waivers

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    sanctions, sanctions waiver, oil imports, Iran
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