Tokyo has agreed to make 'concrete' steps towards cutting imports of Iranian oil after an appeal by US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner. The Secretary had recently visited Chinese leaders in Beijing, who cited that they “should not mix issues with different natures, and China’s legitimate concerns and demands should be respected.” However, talks that Beijing is conducting with other oil-producing countries suggest that China is beginning to look elsewhere for its energy supplies.
Iran now faces heavy reductions in exports to the European Union, India, China, and Japan. The sanctions, however, are not without risk to Iran alone; Japan, since the closure of the Fukushima nuclear plant, has had to rely more heavily on oil imports than in previous years. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made his concerns, about the impact of sanctioning Iranian oil on the global economy, clear to Secretary Geithner.
As well as concerns over a highly secretive nuclear programme, which Tehran denies is being used for military purposes, Iran’s recent threats to block the Straits of Hormuz have the potential to cut off shipments from several major oil producers based in the Gulf and thus dramatically increase the global price of oil.
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