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Iran denounces 'illegal' US sanctions as oil waivers end

The United States said it would start imposing sanctions on countries such as India, China and Turkey that buy Iranian oil.

FILE: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States will punish countries that buy Iranian oil after 2 May. Picture: AFP

TEHRAN - Iran denounced US sanctions on its oil sector as "illegal" on Monday after the United States announced it would no longer grant sanctions exemptions to Iran's oil customers.

"Since the sanctions in question are principally illegal, the Islamic Republic of Iran did not and does not attach any value or credibility to the waivers given to the sanctions," the foreign ministry said in a statement issued on its official website.

The United States said on Monday it would start imposing sanctions on countries such as India, China and Turkey that buy Iranian oil.

The foreign ministry said Iran was in "constant talks with its international partners including the Europeans" on the ending of the exemptions.

Eight governments were initially given six-month reprieves from unilateral US sanctions on Iran.

The other countries - Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan - have already heavily reduced their purchases from Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that the United States would punish countries that buy Iranian oil after 2 May, without spelling out the scope of the sanctions.

"We've made clear - if you don't abide by this, there will be sanctions," Pompeo told reporters. "We intend to enforce the sanctions."

In May 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal which had given the Islamic republic sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

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