By Lesley Wroughton
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday it will be harder for countries to get waivers on Iran oil sanctions than during the Obama administration and dismissed concerns that oil prices could rise, saying the market had already factored in the losses.
In an interview with Reuters in Jerusalem at the start of a Middle East trip, Mnuchin said countries would have to reduce their purchases of Iranian oil by more than the roughly 20 percent level they did from 2013 to 2015 to get waivers.
“I would expect that if we do give waivers it will be significantly larger reductions,” said Mnuchin.
He added: “Oil prices have already gone up, so my expectation is that the oil market has anticipated what’s going on in the reductions. I believe the information is already reflected in the price of oil,” he said.
His comments come two weeks before the Trump administration reimposes oil and financial sanctions against Iran after President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers, which aimed to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.