SA could face sanctions over Iranian oil imports

2012-03-22 08:06

South Africa appears on a list of 12 nations who buy Iranian oil and could be subject to US sanctions unless it significantly cuts purchases.

The US state department released the number of nations – but not their names – yesterday after saying it would grant exemptions to Japan and 10 European Union nations that have cut shipments of Iranian oil.

Nations that won the exemptions have a six-month reprieve from the threat of being cut off from the US financial system under sanctions designed to pressure Iran over its nuclear programme, which the West suspects is intended to produce weapons.

Iran says that its programme is solely to generate power.

A US government source who is not in the state department earlier gave a list of 13 nations that did not get an exemption yesterday and could be subject to the sanctions. That list included Morocco.

The state department official, however, said its information was that Morocco last bought Iranian crude oil in June 2010 and therefore was not among the 12 that may face the sanctions.

However, he stressed that the assessment of which nations could be subject to the sanctions was a dynamic process and that other nations could be added, or dropped, as additional information becomes available.

The state department official gave a list of the 12 nations that remain potentially subject to sanctions.

The group includes China and India, the top two importers of Iran’s crude, and South Africa, the ninth-largest buyer.

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