Iranian Oil Heads to Korea After Months of Trump-Induced Lockout

A major Iranian oil buyer that shut out supplies last year even before U.S. sanctions on the Persian Gulf state took effect is finally set to receive cargoes once again.

National Iranian Tanker Co.’s Silvia I is expected to reach South Korea — Tehran’s third-biggest customer before it stopped purchases in August — on Jan. 15, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The cargo could be the first of at least 14 million barrels from the Islamic Republic that will reach the nation’s shores through April.

Shipments are resuming after South Korea, along with some other buyers, managed to secure waivers from the U.S. to continue buying Iranian oil even after American sanctions on the Islamic Republic went into effect in early November. The exemption was critical for the North Asian country as it allowed the purchase of 200,000 barrels a day of an ultra-light oil known as condensate, which is used by several domestic refineries that are designed to process such supply.

Unlike other major buyers from Iran such as India and China, which only curbed buying from the Islamic Republic, South Korea entirely halted purchases under pressure from the U.S. Seoul’s close political and national-security ties to Washington meant it couldn’t go against the Donald Trump administration’s policy that allies must adopt a tough policy against the Persian Gulf state.