Washington: Making it clear that the exemption given to seven countries from US sanctions on Iran is valid for only six months, a senior Obama Administration official has hoped that these nations, including India, would continue to reduce their dependence on oil from Tehran.
The clarification came days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton determined that seven countries, including India, would be exempted from the Iranian sanctions act, noting that these countries have "significantly" reduced their dependence on Iranian oil.
"This is something that we're asking of all of our partners around the world. This is not something that's focused on India. But the current exceptions that have been granted apply for a period of 180 days -- so for a period of six months," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told reporters at a news conference here.
"So we're asking all of our friends and all countries around the world to continue to reduce their imports of oil from Iran and to discontinue transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and that there needs to be continued progress on that. So we hope we'll see that," he said.
These sanctions, he said, are having real impact on Iran, he said.
"These sanctions have had a real impact, and they've helped to bring Iran to the negotiating table," he said adding that these sanctions have helped to dramatically reduce Iranian oil exports from a high of 2.5 million barrels to down to a range of between 1.2 million to 1.8 million barrels a day.
"So that's quite significant," he noted.
"It is just important to keep the pressure on Iran so that they will come and negotiate with -- in good faith with the P-5 plus one and continue, again, to work very closely with the IAEA and allow the IAEA access to all relevant facilities inside Iran," Blake said.
First Published: Friday, June 15, 2012, 10:19