The U.S. added seven economies to the list of nations qualifying for an exemption from financial sanctions on Iranian oil imports, penalties intended to pressure Iran’s leaders to abandon any nuclear weapons ambitions.
India, South Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan will not be penalized by the U.S. for continuing to import oil from Iran over the next six months because they have proven they “have all significantly reduced” the volume of the oil they buy from Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
Oil prices fell for a fourth day in New York on speculation that the U.S. exemptions will limit the risk of global supply disruptions. Crude for July delivery dropped as much as 2 percent to $81.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, extending its loss this year to 17 percent.
China, the leading importer of Iranian crude in the first half of last year, and Singapore were not granted exemptions. U.S. officials familiar with the decision said talks are continuing, and they may win exemptions before the June 28 deadline for the sanctions to take effect. China imports crude from Iran based on its economic needs and has told the U.S. that its actions are “completely fair and transparent,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a briefing.