Washington is “in the midst of an internal process” of considering significant reduction exceptions (SREs): waivers that would be applied to countries which continue to import Iranian oil, a US government official said on condition of anonymity, Reuters reports.
It is the first time a US official has admitted to possible exceptions for countries affected by the sanctions against Iran. However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had hinted that temporary allowances might be made during his visit to India last month, when he said that some buyers of Iranian oil would need a “little bit of time” to reconsider their trade relations with Iran.
The administration is “prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis,” the official said.
The official’s comments came after reports that India will buy 9 million barrels of Iranian oil in November, despite the Trump administration’s second volley of sanctions. The US first imposed the sanctions on Tehran in August, withdrawing from the 2015 accords in order to compel Iran to abandon its alleged involvement in conflicts in Syria and Iraq and shut down its ballistic missile program. The Trump administration also planned to introduce sanctions on Iran’s crude oil consumers on November 4. Iran said it would continue following the rules of the agreement struck with the five other countries that agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.