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US grants eight countries Iran sanctions waivers: Bloomberg

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The U.S. government has agreed to let eight countries, including close allies South Korea and Japan, as well as India, keep buying Iranian oil after it reimposes sanctions on Tehran from next week, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing a U.S. official.

Iran’s biggest oil customers – all in Asia – have been seeking sanctions waivers to allow them to continue buying some of its oil.

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Bloomberg reported that close U.S. allies South Korea and Japan had received waivers along with India, which relies heavily on supplies from Iran. A list of all countries getting waivers was expected to be released officially on Monday, Bloomberg said.

A Chinese official told Reuters that discussions with the U.S. government were ongoing and that a result was expected over the next couple of days.

“We think Trump will agree to China importing some volumes, similar to the treatment that India and South Korea receive,” Clayton Allen of Height Securities said in a note on Friday.

South Korea’s foreign ministry declined to comment, and Japanese officials were not immediately available for comment.

Another country that has been seeking a sanctions waiver is Turkey, which takes significant volumes via pipeline from neighboring Iran.

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Turkey’s Energy Ministry said on Friday it had heard rumors of waivers but added it had not received written notification of any exemption on buying Iran oil after the United States reimposes sanctions on Tehran on Nov. 5.

Although some waivers had been expected, crude oil prices fell, with Brent futures down by 10 cents at 0752 GMT to $72.79 per barrel, as the number of waivers granted surprised many traders.

Analysts said, however, that Iranian oil sanction waivers would likely only be temporary.

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“The U.S. may use waivers to slow-walk implementation, but these will not apply indefinitely,” Allen said.

Goldman Sachs said it expects Iran’s crude oil exports to fall to 1.15 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the year, down from around 2.5 million bpd in mid-2018.

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Reporting by Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE and Aizhu Chen in BEIJING; Additional reporting by Hyonhee Shin in SEOUL, Osamu Tsukimori in TOKYO, Gulsen Solaker in ANKARA; Editing by Richard Pullin and Tom Hogue


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles — ‘the hardest #Megxit possible’

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Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy.

The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple's shock resignation from front-line royal duties.

It means Queen Elizabeth II's grandson Harry and his American TV actress wife Meghan will stop using the titles "royal highness" -- the same fate that befell his late mother Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

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GOP senator tells home-state press that impeachment trial must be ‘viewed as fair’: report

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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke to local reporters on Saturday about her role in the upcoming Donald Trump impeachment trial.

Murkowski explained she would likely vote with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on an initial vote on whether to allow witnesses. However, she left the door open to voting for witnesses after House impeachment managers make their opening case.

"I don't know what more we need until I have been given the base case," she said. "We will have that opportunity to say 'yes' or 'no' ... and if we say 'yes,' the floor is open."

Overall, Murkowski said it was important for the trial to been viewed as fair.

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White House press secretary urged to do her job: ‘We don’t pay you to be a Twitter troll’

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White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham was blasted on Saturday over the confusion resulting from her refusal to hold daily press briefings.

CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy was alarmed that Grisham's assistant, Hogan Gidley, was forcing reporters to refer to his remarks as coming from a "sources close to the President's legal team."

Darcy noted that Trump had repeatedly questioned the veracity of unnamed sources, making it problematic for Gidley to demand to be quoted as such.

https://twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1218704788432572422

Grisham responded to the criticism and asked Darcy to "stop with the righteous indignation.

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