|Japan 'optimistic' U.S. will extend Iran sanctions waiver: govt sources||
Tokyo (Platts)-- Japan is now very confident that the U.S. will extend a waiver, due to expire Saturday, from Washington's financial sanctions targeting trade with Iran, Japanese government sources told Platts.
One source said that even if the waiver extension was not announced by Saturday, Washington would still agree to extend the sanctions exemption.
"We are optimistic about securing an extension [from Washington], judging from the state of negotiations," one government source said Thursday, adding though that Tokyo had not yet been officially informed of the US' plans to extend the waiver.
Another government source said: "We would not be worried even if the U.S. did not announce the extension before the expiry, for whatever reason, because we believe the U.S. does not intend to implement the sanctions against U.S. immediately."
The U.S. sanctions, signed into law on December 31 and in effect since June 28, bar from the U.S. financial system foreign banks that continue to deal with Iran. But Washington agreed to exempt from the measures countries that pledged to reduce their imports of Iranian oil.
Tokyo obtained the 180-day waiver in March, when it was deemed to have "significantly reduced" its purchases of Iranian crude.
To have the waiver extended for a further 180 days, it is expected to maintain its reduced level of imports.
Japan's efforts to continue buying Iranian crude have been complicated by the loss of key shipping insurance when an EU ban on the provision of cover for any shipments of Iranian oil came in to force on July 1.
Imports from Iran were only made possible by the introduction at the end of June of a new supplementary insurance framework set up by the Japanese government, and Japan's imports of Iranian crude are set to stabilize at 5 million-6 million barrels a month, according to Platts calculations.
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