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BW Businessworld

India Not Exempted On Iran Sanctions By US

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India does not figure in a list of 11 countries, mostly Europeans, identified by the US that would not be subject to American sanctions because of significant reduction in purchase of crude oil from Iran.

"I am pleased to announce that an initial group of eleven countries has significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran - Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today.

As a result, Clinton said, she will report to the Congress that sanctions under the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 will not apply to the financial institutions based in these countries, for a renewable period of 180 days.

Observing that the actions taken by these countries were not easy, Clinton said they had to rethink their energy needs at a critical time for the world economy and quickly begin to find alternatives to Iranian oil, which many had been reliant on for their energy needs.

Besides India, China and South Korea are other major countries which do not figure in this list.

Later, a senior State Department official said the US is in conversation with these three countries in this regard.

"We look very much forward to hearing what kinds of messages those countries are able and willing to bring to us and to continue to pursue them in a serious and professional conversation," the official told reporters.

Clinton said the ban on all new purchases of Iranian oil by the European Union countries as of January 23, and phase out of existing contracts by July 1, demonstrates their solidarity and their commitment to holding Iran accountable for its failure to comply with its international obligations.

Clinton said Japan's significant reductions in crude oil purchases is also especially noteworthy considering the extraordinary energy and other challenges it has faced over the past year.

"We commend these countries for their actions and urge other nations that import oil from Iran to follow their example," she said.

Only two months after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, the US has made progress in shrinking Iran?s oil export markets, and isolating its Central Bank from the world financial system, she said.

"The United States is leading an unprecedented international coalition of partners that has brought to bear significant pressure on the Iranian regime to change its course. Diplomacy coupled with strong pressure can achieve the long-term solutions we seek and we will continue to work with our international partners to increase the pressure on Iran to meet its international obligations," Clinton said.