Thursday, January 12, 2012

Japan is ready to cut oil imports from Iran, finance minister says

Japan is prepared to gradually reduce the amount of oil it imports from Iran, Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Thursday, as the United States seeks to muster international support to put fresh pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.

Japan imports 10% of its crude oil from Iran at the moment, Azumi said at a news briefing after meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The country is ready to decrease that level "in a planned manner," he said.

"What I told the secretary is that we have already reduced Iranian oil imports by 40% in the past five years," Azumi said, standing next to Geithner. "The nuclear development issue is an issue that the international community cannot overlook, so we very much understand the U.S. action."

The United States is exploring ways to cut off Iran's central bank from the global financial system and reduce the country's oil revenues, Geithner said at the briefing. Read More