Tuesday, March 20, 2012

U.S. exempts Japan, 10 EU nations from Iran sanctions

(Reuters) - Japan and 10 European Union nations will be spared severe U.S. financial sanctions because they have significantly reduced purchases of Iranian crude oil, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.

The decision is a victory for the 11 countries, whose banks have been given a six-month reprieve from the threat of being cut off from the U.S. financial system under new sanctions designed to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.

The EU nations, which had already decided to stop buying Iranian oil, include Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

The list did not, however, include China and India, Iran's top two crude oil importers, nor U.S. allies South Korea and Turkey, which are among the top 10 consumers of Iranian oil. Read More