As per the Nikkei Business daily, Japan is seeking exemption from the new U.S sanctions on Iran that will be implemented in February 2013. Sources say that Japanese Finance Minister Koriki Jojima has asked U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that Japanese banks be exempted because this could basically freeze Tehran’s use of payments for oil.
Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations Committees, said they are looking at ways to freeze around 30% of Iran’s foreign currency reserves in banks outside the country. In the current set-up Japanese buyers of Iranian oil have set up accounts in Japanese banks, through Iran’s central bank, and the funds get transferred later on to Iranian private banks. The proposed new sanctions will effectively curb Japan’s oil purchases from Iran because Tehran will not be able to freely use the payments from Japan.
Despite immense pressure from the Western world, Tehran has been adamant about their refusal to abandon its nuclear program, saying that it is only for civilian purposes. The West has long suspected that it is for the development of nuclear weapons. The existing measures have already pushed Iran’s currency to free fall but they still have not made any moves to accede to the demands to stop the nuclear program.
In compliance with the sanctions, Japan already drastically cut its Iranian crude imports. From January-August 2012, Japan imported 191,731 barrels per day, which was 40% down from the same period in 2011.
[ via Reuters ]
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