Washington: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he gave temporary exemptions to India and seven other major importers of Iranian oil as they sought USâ âhelpâ and that he did not want to drive oil prices âup to $100 a barrel or $150 a barrelâ.
The US on Monday imposed âthe toughest everâ sanctions on a defiant Iran aimed at altering the Iranian regimeâs âbehaviourâ. The sanctions cover Iranâs banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports.
However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that eight countries â India, China, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey â were temporarily allowed to continue buying Iranian oil as they showed âsignificant reductionâ in oil purchase from the Persian Gulf country.
âI gave some countries a break on the oil. I did it a little bit because they really asked for some help,â Mr Trump told reporters at a press conference in the White House on Wednesday.
He said that he also did it âbecause I donât want to drive oil prices up to $100 a barrel or $150 a barrel.â
âI am driving them (oil prices) down. If you look at oil prices, they have come down very substantially over the last couple of months,â he asserted.
Mr Trump said the sanctions may âget tougher as time goes byâ, but he does not want them to have any effect on the global oil prices worldwide as he âconsider that to be a tax, and I donât like taxesâ.
Later at another press conference, the US state department said its goal is to go down to zero oil import from Iran and during the next six months, it will monitor the diplomatic progress.
âWe have to ensure that we advance our national security objectives without injuring our economic interests. If we were to increase the price of oil, it would be bad for Ameri-can consumers, it would be bad for the global economy, and it would give an advantage to Iran,â Deputy State Department Spokesperson Robert Paladino said. Â Â Â