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Seoul to halt Iran oil imports

06-26-2012 22:39 BJT

South Korea has became the first major Asian consumer of Iranian crude to announce a halt to imports. They are the world’s fourth largest buyer of Iranian oil. Imports are set to be suspended from July 1st in line with an EU ban on insuring shipments of Iranian crude.

South Korea imported about 9 percent of its oil from Iran in 2011 but it relies on EU companies to insure the shipments. The insurance ban, part of broader EU sanctions aimed at cutting sources of finance for Iran’s nuclear programme, makes it effectively impossible for South Korean companies to ship Iranian crude.

On Tuesday South Korea’s finance minister presided over a crisis management meeting in Seoul.

Bahk Jae-Wan, S. Korean Finance Minister, "The government will strengthen its monitoring of supply and demand for oil and will seamlessly secure alternative sources. Also, the government will work with the private sector to support businesses with a high dependency on exports to Iran by providing different export routes."

The government said it has been in talks with other oil exporting countries, such as Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Qatar, to find alternative sources of oil. In the meantime, they will keep negotiating with the EU.

Cho Byung-Jae, Spokesperson of S. Korean Foreign Ministry, said, "The government will try to minimise the effect this will have on domestic industry and the economy. We will also monitor the domestic supply and demand for oil and the status of exports to Iran in order to come up with necessary measures. We will also keep negotiating with the US and the EU."

EU governments on Monday approved an embargo on Iranian oil, set to start on July 1st. This follows the failure of the latest round of negotiations in Moscow between Iran and the six world powers. The EU warned Iran that more pressure could be put in place if it continued to defy international demands for limits on its nuclear programme.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the EU’s sanctions as "unilateral" and "illogical." They say the moves will damage the positive climate of cooperation that exists between the two sides and hurt the interests of EU members.

This latest package of sanctions was adopted in January as part of a series of measures designed to put increasing pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear programme. Many Western nations suspects Iran is seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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