News / Middle East

US Exempts China, Singapore From Iran Oil Sanctions

Iranian oil technician Majid Afshari makes his way at the oil separator facilities in Azadegan oil field, near Ahvaz, Iran (File).Iranian oil technician Majid Afshari makes his way at the oil separator facilities in Azadegan oil field, near Ahvaz, Iran (File).
x
Iranian oil technician Majid Afshari makes his way at the oil separator facilities in Azadegan oil field, near Ahvaz, Iran (File).
Iranian oil technician Majid Afshari makes his way at the oil separator facilities in Azadegan oil field, near Ahvaz, Iran (File).
Kent Klein
WHITE HOUSE -- The Obama administration has exempted China and Singapore from economic sanctions against countries that import oil from Iran.  The tougher U.S. sanctions took effect Thursday.
 
A statement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says China and Singapore have significantly reduced their imports of Iranian oil.

As a result, banks in those two countries and 18 others will not be cut off from the U.S. financial system.

U.S. officials say China has cut its imports from Iran by one-fourth since January, and Singapore has committed to stop buying any Iranian oil.

The exemption is good for 180 days.

The Republican who leads the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee says the administration is giving China a "free pass."  Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Thursday called Beijing "Iran's biggest enabler."

Thursday was Washington's deadline for banks to stop processing petroleum transactions with Iran.  

The aim of the sanctions is to pressure Tehran to prove that it is not trying to develop nuclear weapons.  Iranian officials say their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

The U.S. says Iran's oil exports have dropped sharply, and its currency is down by about 40 percent.  Senior administration officials project that cuts in oil exports will cost Iran about $8 billion.

Michael Adler, a public policy scholar at Washington's Wilson Center, says that while Iran’s economy is being hurt, he does not believe the sanctions will persuade the leaders in Tehran to give up their nuclear ambitions.

"They have large reserves of foreign currency," said Adler. "They are still earning about $44 billion a year, even with the lessened revenue, so Iran is standing tough for now."

Three rounds of recent negotiations between the P5+1 nations (United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia) and Iran did not lead to an agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

Adler says the failure of the third round of talks, held last week in Moscow, led the two sides to decide against another round of high-level talks.

"Moscow was the time for real talks to begin on the nuts and bolts of the proposal, and ironically, real talks did begin," he said. "They really did discuss the nuts and bolts.  But unfortunately, there was talk and no agreement.  There was engagement but there was no bargaining."

Nuclear experts from both sides will meet next Tuesday to discuss technical issues.

The European Union's embargo on Iranian oil will take effect on Sunday.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs