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Three countries granted Iran oil waivers have cut imports to zero - U.S. envoy

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By Reuters
Three countries granted Iran oil waivers have cut imports to zero - U.S. envoy
FILE PHOTO: Brian Hook, U.S. special representative for Iran, in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago   -   Copyright  Alexander Drago(Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three of the eight countries to which Washington granted waivers to import Iranian oil have now cut their shipments from Iran to zero, a U.S. special representative said on Tuesday.

While the United States has set a target of driving Iranian oil exports to zero, it granted temporary import waivers to China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea.

“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, the envoy on Iran, told reporters.

Hook did not identify the three countries.

“There are better market conditions for us to accelerate our path to zero. We are not looking to grant any waivers or exceptions to our sanctions regime,” Hook said.

A senior Trump administration official told reporters on Monday that the U.S. government was considering additional sanctions against Iran that would target areas of its economy that have not been hit before.

The administration aimed to follow through with new sanctions around the anniversary of U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement last May withdrawing the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and several world powers, the official said.

The accord sought to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb in return for the removal of sanctions that had crippled its economy. Trump ordered U.S. sanctions to be reimposed on Iran.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton and David Brunnstrom; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)