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U.S. Warns Countries To Halt Iranian Oil Imports By November

The United States is pushing countries to halt Iranian oil imports from early November, a senior State Department official said on June 26, warning that Washington will not grant any sanction waivers.

President Donald Trump on May 8 announced that the United States was leaving a landmark 2015 deal that Tehran signed with world powers to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, and was reinstating trade sanctions on Iran and against those countries that keep doing business with it.

The U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Trump intends to stick to his 180-day deadline, expiring November 4.

And the Trump administration does not intend to give out waivers allowing countries such as close allies to keep importing, the official told reporters.

"I would be hesitant to say zero waivers ever. I think the predisposition would be no, we're not granting waivers," the official said.

"We're going to isolate streams of Iranian funding and looking to highlight the totality of Iran's malign behavior across the region," the official said.

The price of U.S. crude jumped to more than $2 on June 26 to $70 a barrel for the first time since May as the threat that the United States would push buyers to limit Iranian oil imports added to concerns about tightening supplies.

The U.S. official said the United States was working with Middle East countries to increase production so the global oil supply isn't harmed.

Earlier on June 26, Iranian President Hassan Rohani reassured Iranians that his government will offset the economic pressure of upcoming U.S. sanctions, a day after protests fueled by concern over a sharp fall in the value of the country's currency.

Iranian media reported a strike was under way for a second day in some sections of the Grand Bazaar, and demonstrators were shouting antigovernment slogans in surrounding streets.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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