U.S. exempts Korea from sanctions for buying Iran oil

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U.S. exempts Korea from sanctions for buying Iran oil

The U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday it had exempted several countries, including South Korea, China and India, from financial sanctions that targets sales of Iranian oil to prevent funding of Iran’s nuclear program.

Korea was among nine countries that qualified for a six-month waiver on Iran sanctions for having reduced their purchases of Iranian crude oil.

“The United States and the international community stand shoulder to shoulder in maintaining pressure on the Iranian regime until it fully addresses concerns about its nuclear program,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement Wednesday.

Kerry added that the waiver was “based on additional significant reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran or for reducing those purchases to zero and remaining there.”

Since 2011, Washington sanctioned any businesses that purchased Iran’s crude oil to hinder Iran’s financial ability to support its development of nuclear weapons, but also grants waivers to countries that have made an unspecified “significant reduction in imports from Iran.”

This week, President Barack Obama has been introducing fresh measures to increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, which the regime claims is used for peaceful means.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department led one of its widest efforts to isolate and pressure Iran economically, blacklisting 37 enterprises that it described as being controlled by Iran’s top leaders that allegedly hid assets and generated billions of dollars of revenue to help Tehran evade sanctions over its disputed nuclear program.

The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, “Our government is a country that tries to fulfill all its responsibilities as a member of the international community, plans to actively participate in the efforts to find a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear problem, and in this process, will also try to keep our enterprises from being unnecessarily affected.”

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