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Oil Imports Of Three Iran-Waiver Countries 'Cut To Zero'

Brian Hook, the U.S. State Department Special Representative for Iran, speaks during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, March 24, 2019

Three of the eight countries to which Washington granted waivers to import Iranian oil have now cut their shipments from the country to zero, according to the U.S. special representative for Iran.

“In November, we granted eight oil waivers to avoid a spike in the price of oil. I can confirm today three of those importers are now at zero,” Brian Hook told reporters in Washington on April 2, without identifying the countries.

The United States reimposed sanctions against Iran after withdrawing last year from a landmark 2015 agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The U.S. administration has a stated goal of reducing Iranian oil exports to zero by demanding importers reduce purchases or face U.S. sanctions.

However, Washington has granted Italy, Greece, Turkey, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan temporary waivers to import Iranian oil.

"There are better market conditions for us to accelerate our path to zero," Hook said, adding that Washington is "not looking to grant any waivers or exceptions to our sanctions regime."

On April 1, a senior U.S. administration official said that the United States is considering additional sanctions against Iran.

"We just want a continued chilling effect," the official said. "We want businesses to continue to think doing business with Iran is a terrible idea at this point."

The official said Washington hoped to take the additional measures in the coming weeks.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa