South Korea Zeroes Iran Crude Imports in August

South Korea Zeroes Iran Crude Imports in AugustSouth Korea Zeroes Iran Crude Imports in August

South Korea has become the first of Iran’s top three oil customers to fulfill a hard-line US demand that buyers cut imports to zero.

The Asian nation did not import any crude from Iran last month, compared with 194,000 barrels a day in July, tanker-tracking and shipping data compiled by Bloomberg show.

While bigger consumers China and India have curbed buying from the OPEC producer, South Korea has gone one step further by halting purchases before the US imposes sanctions on the Islamic Republic on Nov. 5. US President Donald Trump’s administration made the demand over Iranian oil after withdrawing in May from a 2015 deal that lifted many sanctions on the Middle East nation in exchange of restrictions on the country’s nuclear program.

South Korea heeding that call may signal America’s clout over the North Asian nation. The South Korean government’s official stance over Iranian sanctions is that it is continuing talks with the US to seek a waiver.  While the Trump administration has softened its stance slightly, going from zero tolerance on purchases to saying it will consider exemptions, they are yet to be granted and buyers still face the risk of being cut off from the American financial system after the November deadline.


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