Eleven countries have been granted extended waivers of the illegal U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Experts say the move reflects the U.S. administration’s reluctance to confront with its allies over their continuing imports of Iranian oil.
The United States exempted Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Japan from the sanctions for another 180 days, Reuters reported.
The renewal means banks in the 11 countries have been given a second 180 day reprieve from the threat of being cut off from the U.S. financial system under the sanctions.
The Obama Administration is keen to see Iranian crude oil exports slow the fastest, but this is also having the largest deleterious effect on the global economy, as oil prices rise worldwide because nations like Japan and South Korea are now biding for the remaining supply instead of buying from Iran.
Japan’s Bankers Association has said as much, issuing a statement earlier this week complaining that the U.S.-imposed limits on oil purchases are putting Japan’s economy in a difficult position, and as they continue to reduce nuclear power generation they will have to buy more and more oil from less and less U.S.-approved sources.
At the beginning of 2012, the U.S. and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
The illegal U.S.-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
While South Korea's shipments are expected to recover in September as Seoul asks Iran to ship the oil, three months of sharp cuts put the country in a strong position to secure a renewal come December.
China, Iran's largest oil customer and top trading partner, was the last of the top Asian buyers to secure the waiver on June 28. Official data subsequently released showed China's imports surged in June to an 11-month high.
Wider politics, not the oil trade alone, will determine Washington's review of the waiver for China. Beijing has repeatedly opposed the sanctions, which it views as unilateral moves made outside the framework of the United Nations.
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