June 6 – The United States (U.S.) has decided to extend six-month sanction exemptions for China, India and seven other countries for reducing their oil imports from Iran. The seven other nations include South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan. Japan and 10 countries from the European Union also received exemptions earlier this spring.
As a result of the exemptions, financial institutions in the above-listed countries do not face any risk of being cut off from the U.S. financial system over the course of the allotted time period.
By rewarding these countries, the U.S. hopes to pressure Iran to be more transparent in its nuclear activities. In addition, the U.S. has imposed a set of measures against companies that it believes are currently acting, or have acted, as a front network which is assisting the Iranian government to circumvent international financial restrictions. The U.S. effectively blacklisted 37 companies that generated billions of dollars worth of profits earlier this week.
“Even as economic conditions in Iran deteriorate, senior Iranian leaders continue to profit from a shadowy network of off-the-books front companies,” said U.S. State Department sanctions chief David S. Cohen.
Iran is still one of the world’s largest oil producers in the world, with its exports bringing in tens of billions of dollars per year. Furthermore, despite China being rewarded with an extension to the sanction exemption, the country remains Iran’s top trading partner and its largest market for petroleum exports.