Mnuchin says Iranian oil importers to face more difficulty getting waivers

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday countries that seek waivers on Iran oil sanctions will have to reduce their purchases by more than 20 percent, the amount that the Obama administration established when it expanded sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.

"I would expect that if we do give waivers it will be significantly larger reductions," Mnuchin told Reuters during a stop in Jerusalem at the beginning of his trip to the Middle East.

Mnuchin, whose comments come just weeks before the Trump administration reimposes financial sanctions – which include oil – also downplayed the effect on oil prices, saying the losses were already factored in by the markets. The sanctions on Iranian crude oil consumers will resume after Nov. 4.

“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.

The Treasury secretary added that eventually countries would have to reduce their imports to zero.

“I don’t expect we will get to zero in November but I do expect we will eventually get to zero,” he said. “There have been already very significant reductions in advance of this date.”