by Staff Reporter
June 6, 2013 (TSR) – The United States has again exempted China and India from sanctions meant to compel countries to reduce their imports of Iranian oil.
The sanctions are aimed at increasing the pressure on Iran to halt nuclear work that Washington says could be used for making an atomic weapon.
The State Department said seven other countries also received six-month waivers from sanctions: South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Taiwan.
Japan and 10 EU countries received waivers earlier this year.
The threatened sanctions could cut off countries from the U.S. financial system.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the exempted countries have made “significant reductions” in Iranian crude oil purchases.
U.S. and European Union sanctions have cut Iran’s oil exports by about half since last year.
In March, the U.S. gave exceptions to Japan and 10 European countries, and on Wednesday gave exceptions, good for six months, to nine others that have reduced or eliminated Iranian imports. Those nine are China, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan.
Iran’s oil minister Rostam Ghasemi says U.S. illegal sanctions are not affecting the country’s oil production, noting that a drop in crude exports was being made up for by international sales of gasoline and other refined products.