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U.S. exempts China, Singapore from Iran sanctions

•, Agence France-Presse

The United States exempted China and Singapore from sanctions over purchases of oil from Iran hours before a deadline, saying that major economies were united in pressuring Tehran.

The United States, however, did not grant exemptions to smaller-scale importers such as Pakistan and Afghanistan, meaning that banks from those countries could face punishment if they handle transactions for Iranian oil.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ruled that China and Singapore had “significantly reduced” their crude oil purchases from Iran, granting them exemptions on the final day before sanctions take effect.

Under a law aimed at pressing Iran over its nuclear program, the United States will bar financial institutions that buy oil from Iran, essentially forcing them to choose between Tehran and the world’s largest economy.

Clinton credited the threat of sanctions with severely cutting Iran’s crude oil exports and estimated that it cost the country some $8 billion in lost revenue each quarter.

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