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Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Ahead of US sanctions, state refiners import record Iranian oil

Ahead of US sanctions, state refiners import record Iranian oil

The US is due to impose a series of new sanctions on Iran in the next few months.

Washington has told countries they must halt all imports of Iranian oil from 4 November or face United States financial measures.

The rhetoric between the USA and Iran remains heated, despite Trump tweeting last week that he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

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

In Tehran, street demonstrators chanted "Death to the dictator", according to a social media video, which could not be independently verified.

Iran has started naval exercises in the Gulf amid heightened tensions with Washington, US officials have revealed.

Interestingly, China has also rejected a USA request to cut imports from its biggest customer, Iran, for the sake of fulfilling US president Donald Trump's objective of achieving a complete halt of outgoing Iranian crude supplies; China's rejection would presumably lessen the chance of a market tightening that many analysts are still anxious about and consequently help keep prices relatively low - which is what Trump was demanding from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Anti-government demonstrators in several cities stretched into a fourth day in Iran, with protesters attacking an Islamic seminary west of the capital, Tehran, according to Iranian news agencies and social media reports on Saturday.

The first phase hits on Tuesday with blocks on financial transactions and imports of raw materials, as well as sanctions on Iran's automotive sector and commercial aircraft purchases. We will go by our interests.

The Trump administration argued that the nuclear deal, which lifted some economic sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program, was fatally flawed because it didn't address the country's destabilizing behavior or limit its development of ballistic missiles, among other things.

"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 Iran Air has received 13 of the 20 passenger planes 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 United States, they are subject to the renewed sanctions.

Increased US hostility has also driven a run on Iran's currency, which has lost around two-thirds of its value in six months.

It is not yet clear how all this will affect ordinary Iranians, but a European diplomat in Tehran who monitors the economy said prices of basic foods were already creeping up.

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

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