Asia Imports of Iran Crude at 4-Month High

Asia Imports of Iran Crude at 4-Month HighAsia Imports of Iran Crude at 4-Month High

Asian imports of Iranian crude rose 12 percent in April from the previous month to a four-month high of almost 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), Reuters reported.

Imports by Iran’s four biggest buyers - China, India, Japan and South Korea - totaled 1.17 million bpd last month, down 4.1 percent on year and the highest since hitting 1.21 million bpd in December, government and tanker-tracking data showed.

China’s April imports from Iran were at an 11-month high and well above the 2014 average of roughly 550,000 bpd, about the same level as before the United States and the European Union tightened sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program in early 2012.

Lower purchases this year from India, which revived imports after a one-month hiatus in March to avoid US pressure, helped to keep Iran’s shipments at levels acceptable to Washington. Sanctions have limited Iran’s oil exports to only about one million bpd.

The US and its allies imposed tough sanctions on Iran to curb the country’s nuclear program which they claim is geared to military use. Iran insists its program is peaceful. After eight days of marathon talks on Tehran’s nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany) reached a framework agreement on April 2 that calls for lifting all trade sanctions against Iran. The details of the agreement are to be finalized by a June 30 deadline.