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11 Nations reduce Iranian oil imports, avoiding a US penalty

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The US has announced that 10 European Union countries and Japan have been officially exempted from financial sanctions because of significant reductions made to their purchases of Iranian oil.

Notably absent from the list of exempted countries were China, India, South Korea, and Turkey, all major Iranian oil consumers and the latter two also allies of the US.

The Japanese government has announced that it will continue to reduce its dependency on Iranian oil with imports to be cut on a regular basis. The chairman of the Petroleum Association of Japan, Akihiko Tembo, stated that the wishes of the Japanese government were for crude buyers to reduce their Iranian oil supplies by 10 – 20% per year.

Setting a good example

A representative from the US State department, Carlos Pascual said that despite the Fukushima incident’s negative impact upon Japanese energy security, “Japan was a model … If Japan was able to do what it did … that should be an example to others that they could potentially do more.”

To date, there remains no set level of reduction for purchasers of Iranian oil to meet in order to secure an exemption.

The sanctions on Iranian oil remain opposed by China, Iran’s largest oil export market. Beijing has repeatedly rejected the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US. Despite this, China has reduced Iranian oil imports in Q1 2012 by half.

India has similarly voiced objection to the US sanctions, yet according to some sources it too has asked refineries to reduce imports from Iran by a minimum of 15%.

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