United States has not included India and China in a list of 11
nations that would be spared financial sanctions as they have
significantly reduced purchases of Iranian crude oil.
The exempted countries are Japan and ten European nations -
Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the
Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom, according to a
State Department statement.
"The actions taken by these countries were not easy," Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton told the US Congress Tuesday.
"They had to rethink their energy needs at a critical time for the
world economy and quickly begin to find alternatives to Iranian
oil, which many had been reliant on for their energy needs," she
"The United States is leading an unprecedented international
coalition of partners that has brought to bear significant
pressure on the Iranian regime to change its course," Clinton
Besides India, China, and South Korea, which do not figure on the
list there are nine other major importers of Iranian that could
A State Department official who briefed reporters on the
announcement would not list the countries, but said the US is in
conversation with India, China, and South Korea on the issue.
"We look very much forward to hearing what kinds of messages those
countries are able and willing to bring to us and to continue to
pursue them in a serious and professional conversation," the
Major oil importers could look at Japan as an example of how to
wean off Iranian oil, he said. Japan has reduced its oil purchases
from Iran by 15 percent to 22 percent in the last half of 2011,
the official said.
Under the 2012 National Defence Authorization Act, President
Barack Obama can impose financial sanctions on foreign banks that
carry out financial transactions with Iran's central bank "for the
purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran."
However, under the law he can exempt nations from sanctions if he
determines that a country with primary jurisdiction over the bank
has "significantly reduced" its volume of crude oil purchases.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)