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Trump will punish everyone for Iran, except Azerbaijan

The Azeri Times

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The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued an amendment to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR), in furtherance of the US President’s May 8, 2018 decision to cease the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  This regulatory amendment, as explained on the official website of the Treasury, is currently available for public inspection with the Federal Register and will be effective upon publication in the Federal Register on Monday, November 5, 2018.  OFAC plans to issue additional guidance related to the snapback of Iran sanctions on that day.

With this move, the US government is reimposing economic and trade sanctions on Iran, starting at midnight on Sunday. The move is intended to change the country’s politics through economic pressure on its ability to sell oil. The sanctions will also apply to countries that have economic and finacial dwalings with the Islamic Republic.

However, as report US media, the Trump administration announced on Friday that it was exempting eight countries from bruising sanctions that the United States was reimposing against Iran, undercutting its pledge to economically punish Tehran’s regional aggressions while widening a profound rift with European allies.

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, did not identify the eight countries that were being granted six-month waivers, but a senior official confirmed that they include India, South Korea, Japan and China — among the world’s largest importers of Iranian oil.

Mr. Pompeo said the European Union, which recently announced the creation of an economic channel to continue financial dealings with Iran, was not among those receiving waivers.

The sanctions were promised in May, when President Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from a 2015 deal with world powers to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

One of the most notable exemptions is Azerbaijan.

The document explicitly states:

‘Paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section shall not apply with respect to any person for conducting or facilitating a transaction involving a project —

(i) For the development of natural gas and the construction and operation of a pipeline to transport natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and Europe;

(ii) That provides to Turkey and countries in Europe energy security and energy independence from the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Iran;

and (iii) That was initiated before August 10, 2012 pursuant to a production-sharing agreement, or an ancillary agreement necessary to further a production-sharing agreement, entered into with, or a license granted by, the government of a country other than Iran before August 10, 2012.’

The document further stipulates:

‘Although it is not named in the section, section 10 of E.O. 13846 refers to the Shah Deniz natural gas field in Azerbaijan’s sector of the Caspian Sea and related pipeline projects to bring the gas from Azerbaijan to Europe and Turkey.’

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Oil extends slide from 7 percent slump the day before as outlook darkens

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil markets slipped again on Wednesday, extending losses from a 7 percent plunge the previous session as surging supply and the specter of faltering demand scared off investors. FILE PHOTO: Oil pours out of a spout from Edwin Drake’s original 1859 well that launched the modern petroleum industry at the Drake Well…

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Oil extends slide from 7 percent slump the day before as outlook darkens

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil markets slipped again on Wednesday, extending losses from a 7 percent plunge the previous session as surging supply and the specter of faltering demand scared off investors.

FILE PHOTO: Oil pours out of a spout from Edwin Drake’s original 1859 well that launched the modern petroleum industry at the Drake Well Museum and Park in Titusville, Pennsylvania U.S., October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $55.50 per barrel at 0514 GMT, down 19 cents from their last settlement.

International benchmark Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 22 cents at $65.25 per barrel.

Crude oil has lost over a quarter of its value since early October in what has become one of the biggest declines since prices collapsed in 2014.

The slump in spot prices has turned the entire forward curve for crude oil upside down.

Spot prices in September were significantly higher than those for later delivery, a structure known as backwardation that implies a tight market as it is unattractive to put oil into storage.

By mid-November, the curve had flipped into contango, when crude prices for immediate delivery are cheaper than those for later dispatch. That implies an oversupplied market as it makes it attractive to store oil for later sale.

Oil markets are being pressured from two sides: a surge in supply and increasing concerns about an economic slowdown.

U.S. crude oil output from its seven major shale basins is expected to hit a record of 7.94 million barrels per day (bpd) in December, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday.

That surge in onshore output has helped overall U.S. crude production C-OUT-T-EIA hit a record 11.6 million bpd, making the United States the world’s biggest oil producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Most analysts expect U.S. output to climb above 12 million bpd within the first half of 2019.

“This will, in our view, cap any upside above $85 per barrel (for oil prices),” said Jon Andersson, head of commodities at Vontobel Asset Management.

The surge in U.S. production is contributing to rising stockpiles.

U.S. crude stocks climbed by 7.8 million barrels in the week ending Nov. 2 to 432 million as refineries cut output, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.

The producer cartel of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been watching the jump in supply and price slump with concern.

OPEC has been making increasingly frequent public statements that it would start withholding crude in 2019 to tighten supply and prop up prices.

“OPEC and Russia are under pressure to reduce current production levels, which is a decision that we expect to be taken at the next OPEC meeting on Dec. 6,” said Andersson.

That puts OPEC on a collision course with U.S. President Donald Trump, who publicly supports low oil prices and who has called on OPEC not to cut production.

Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford

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1.1 million Marylanders expected to travel for Thanksgiving

More than 1.1 million Marylanders will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the most in more than a dozen years, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic projections.It’s the fourth straight year the auto club has projected Thanksgiving travel volumes of more than 1 million people in Maryland. Roughly one in every six state residents are expected to…

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More than 1.1 million Marylanders will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the most in more than a dozen years, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic projections.

It’s the fourth straight year the auto club has projected Thanksgiving travel volumes of more than 1 million people in Maryland. Roughly one in every six state residents are expected to go away between Wednesday and Sunday of the holiday weekend.

“As the economy continues to grow, along with wages, disposable income and household wealth, many Marylanders are feeling enough confidence to not hold back on spending, which is evident by this year’s robust holiday travel forecast,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Ragina Cooper Averella said in a statement.

Most will drive, and low gas prices could be playing a role in their decision, she said.

After hitting a high of $2.99 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline over Memorial Day weekend, the average price at the pump in Maryland had fallen to $2.37 as of Tuesday, according to AAA.

Prices have fallen 30 cents in the last month and 7 cents in the past week. The current average is within 5 cents of the lowest price this year, set March 9.

“Prices could drop even lower, especially if there is a surge in gasoline production after refiners fully restart units from the fall maintenance season, and oil prices continue to remain stable,” Averella said.

If possible, the 91 percent of travelers who are driving to their destinations should try to avoid the early evening commute period next week, which is expected to be the most congested, according to AAA, which worked with INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, on its projections. Sunday is expected to be busy, too.

To avoid the gridlock, Troy Brad, 30, of Glen Burnie, plans to leave for Virginia before sunrise Wednesday, between 5 and 6 a.m.

He’ll spend Thanksgiving with his children and his mother’s and sister’s households, about a dozen family members in total, at a time-share in Massanutten, Va., they bought this summer.

“The whole wolf pack,” Brad called his crew. “It’s going to be a nice family event.”

Kristina Turner will be one of more than 82,000 Marylanders expected to fly for Thanksgiving — although she is taking a little longer than a holiday weekend for her trip.

The 24-year-old, who lives in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, is headed to Portugal Tuesday for a three-week trip to Barcelona, Paris, London and Brussels with her boyfriend, Sergeant First Class Marion Brawley, during his time off from his deployment in Afghanistan, she said.

Turner said she is more excited to see Brawley than she is worried about long wait times at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

“It’s overdue!” she said.

Nearly 22,000 are expected to travel by train, bus, boat or other mode of transportation, which is roughly flat compared with last year, AAA said.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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Japan’s Economy Shrank in July-September as Trade Falls

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