Targeting major Russian energy firms may come to be seen as the turning point at which US sanctions policy over-reached and spurred a major effort to re-route financial transactions away from the US.
Prohibiting core Russian energ
A full lifting of sanctions on Iran could spark new rivalries within the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) as Tehran seeks to reclaim its rank as No 2 producer from former foe Iraq.
After years of tough sanctions over Iran's nuclear programme, many in the country now say they want the government to make compromises that could satisfy world powers and allow a semblance of prosperity to return.
The United States would like to see all sanctions on Iran lifted but that can only happen "in total" after a comprehensive deal on Tehran's nuclear programme is reached, a senior US official said on Thursday.
Iran has hiked purchases of alumina from China and India in the past two months as the country scrambles to shore up supply after the US tightened sanctions on raw and semi-processed materials at the start of July.
South Korea's imports of crude from Iran fell 7 per cent in June, against the daily average for the previous six months, less than half the rate Seoul has pledged it will cut oil shipments from the sanctions-hit country over the next six mon
The United States slapped financial sanctions on a Greek businessman it says secretly operated a shipping network on behalf of the Iranian government to get around international sanctions on the country's sale of oil.
Tighter US sanctions are killing off Turkey's gold-for-gas trade with Iran and have stopped state-owned lender Halkbank from processing other nations' energy payments to the Opec oil producer, bankers.
US officials have so