WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has certified that countries that have been buying petroleum and petroleum products from Iran can decrease their purchases and rely on other countries instead.
“I will closely monitor this situation to assure that the market can continue to accommodate a reduction in purchases of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran,” said the US President in his certification.
However, the certification means that 23 countries including Pakistan, India and China may face sanctions in three months time, if they do not reduce their crude oil purchases from Iran.
A senior administration official told reporters that the US continues to talk to countries like South Korea, India and China to reduce their reliance on Iranian oil. The official added that the United States was “fully prepared” to go forward with these sanctions.
Earlier this month, a State Department official had explained these as being “against any transactions with the Central Bank of Iran by any financial institution, whether it’s private or public, related to the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products for Iran.”
According to Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorisation Act 2012, the US President had to certify by March 30, 2012, that despite price and supply conditions, countries that could switch from buying crude oil from Iran to other countries but have not done so would face sanctions.
If Pakistan and other countries do not reduce their crude oil purchases from Iran, sanctions against them may go into effect on June 28 of this year.
Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had certified that 11 countries that are among the top importers of crude oil from Iran had significantly reduced their purchases, and hence would not face sanctions for a renewable period of 180 days.
While the State Department had not divulged the names of the 12 countries that could face sanctions, Reuters had at the time reported that these included Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Turkey.
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