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Sanctions Working? Asia to Reduce Imports from Iran

China, India and Japan are planning to reduce their imports of Iranian oil by at least ten percent, an indication sanctions are working.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/22/2012, 4:16 AM

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Reuters

China, India and Japan are planning to reduce their imports of Iranian oil by at least ten percent, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 2 News on Tuesday.

The decision is connected with the West’s tightening sanctions against the Islamic Republic, which are making it difficult for Asian countries to close deals with the Iranians, the report said.

The three countries together consume 45 percent of Iranian oil, according to Channel 2. The announcement is the first sign of the success of Western sanctions against Iran.

The report said that Japan has pledged to Washington that it would cut up to 11 percent of the oil it buys from Iran, India will commit to cutting at least 10 percent and China, which until now has been against the sanctions on Iran, will cut ten to 20 percent.

On Sunday, Iran’s Oil Ministry announced that it has stopped shipments to Britain and France, in retaliation for both countries’ support for boycotting Iranian exports. The sanctions imposed by the European Union last month included an oil embargo which was to begin in July.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe later mocked Iran's announcement, saying it "makes one smile."

Juppe noted that it was the European Union that decided to impose an oil embargo, adding that the Islamic republic is "very imaginative" in its attempts to provoke other nations.

He added that Iranian oil previously exported by France had very little significance, saying Iran's decision to cut oil to Paris was "meaningless" as Paris curbed its oil exports from Iran last year.