Washington: The US on Thursday exempted China and Singapore from its tough, new sanctions on Iranian oil trade, hours before the curbs would have entered into force on Friday.
"I have made the determination that two additional countries, China and Singapore, have significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
She said as a result the Iran Sanctions Act will not apply to their financial institutions for a potentially renewable period of 180 days.
"A total of 20 world economies have now qualified for such an exception. Their cumulative actions are a clear demonstration to Iran`s government that Iran`s continued violation of its international nuclear obligations carries an enormous economic cost," she said in a statement.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iran`s crude oil exports in 2011 were approximately 2.5 million barrels per day, and have dropped to roughly 1.5 million barrels per day, which in real terms means almost USD 8 billion in lost revenues every quarter, she said.
When the European Union oil embargo goes into effect on July 01, Iran`s leaders will understand even more fully the urgency of the choice they face and the unity of the international community, she added.
Today marks an important milestone in the implementation of the NDAA and US sanctions toward Iran, Hillary said.
"Following the President`s determinations on March 30 and June 11 on the availability of non-Iranian supplies of oil, as of today, any foreign financial institution based in a country that has not received an NDAA exception is subject to US sanctions if it knowingly conducts a significant transaction with the Central Bank of Iran for the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products to or from Iran," she said.
Notably, Pakistan is yet to receive such an exemption. "We have been clear all along that there is a path for Iran to fully re-join the global economy. Iran`s leaders have the opportunity to address international concerns by engaging seriously and substantively in negotiations with the P5+1," she said.
Hillary urged Iran to demonstrate its willingness to take concrete steps toward resolving the nuclear issue during the expert-level talks scheduled in Istanbul on July 03.
"Failure to do so will result in continuing pressure and isolation from the international community," she warned.
In addition to China and Singapore, Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, India, Malaysia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Turkey have been exempted so far.