Wednesday, June 13, 2012

china excluded from iran oil trade waivers


NYTimes | Less than three weeks before stringent American sanctions intended to reduce Iran’s oil exports take effect, the Obama administration announced on Monday that it would exempt seven major importers of Iranian oil — but not China — from the measures because these countries had “significantly reduced” their oil purchases from Iran.

Administration officials said the United States was continuing to negotiate with China, the world’s No. 1 buyer of Iranian oil, after a confusing period in which Chinese purchases dropped sharply during a price dispute with Tehran but later rebounded.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the administration had issued waivers to India, Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan. They joined Japan and 10 European countries that the United States had previously said would be exempt from sanctions for six months.

“Today’s announcement underscores the success of our sanctions implementation,” Mrs. Clinton said in a statement. “By reducing Iran’s oil sales, we are sending a decisive message to Iran’s leaders: until they take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community, they will continue to face increasing isolation and pressure.”

Still, the absence of China from the waiver list indicates the hurdles the administration faces in persuading Iran’s largest customer to curtail its purchases. And it sets up a potential collision with China, which along with the United States is a member of the group of major powers that is negotiating with Iran over the future of its nuclear program.