USA tells allies to halt Iran oil imports by November

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"There is a level of frustration that people have with regard to the regime activity and behavior, the enrichment of the military and clerical elite and the squeezing out of the life of the economy", the senior State Department official said.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has also told countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday. Iran is OPEC's third-largest oil producer, exporting 2 million barrels a day.

European powers in particular have been attempting to negotiate exemptions for their firms, but the official confirmed that Trump intends to stick to his 180-day deadline, expiring Nov 4.

The official reportedly said there are no plans to issue waivers and the administration will be lobbying other Middle Eastern exporters to ensure global supply.

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The senior United States official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, admitted that this would be unpopular. "I think the predisposition would be no, we're not granting waivers", the officials said to a question about granting waivers.

Several companies, including French oil giant Total, have already said they will wind down business in Iran if they do not receive waivers.

"The atmosphere for the work, life and livelihood of the people must be secure", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with judiciary officials, according to his official website.

However, the request that countries cut their purchases to "zero" by 4 November without exception came as a surprise. He has not, however, yet held talks with China, which is Iran's largest oil importer - taking nearly a quarter of its output (24 per cent) - followed by India, South Korea and Turkey.

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Last month, the EU said it would revive legislation to allow European companies to continue doing business with Iran, despite U.S. rules.

"The U.S. can not defeat our nation, our enemies are not able to get us to their knees", he said. Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman will be in the U.S. for talks with their American counterparts, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis. Iran's oil import could emerge as a major topic of discussion between India and the U.S. during the first 2+2 Dialogue next week.

Importers of Iranian crude face the risk of being hit by "secondary sanctions" by the United States that could take various forms, but the most significant of which would be being blocked from the American financial system, which no country, developed or underdeveloped, can afford.

"For the vast majority of countries they are willing to adhere and support our approach to this because they also view" Iran's behavior as a threat, the official added.

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President Hassan Rouhani promised Iranians on Tuesday the government would be able to handle the economic pressure of new USA sanctions amid a second day of demonstrations in protest at financial hardship and a weakening rial. In January 2012, Iran agreed to accept India's local currency, the rupee, to settle almost half of its sales to India. "During 2011-2015, India reduced its purchases of Iranian oil-at some cost to its own development-in order to receive from the USA administration exemptions from sanctions".

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