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22 January 2012 - 23:21

A Russian energy expert maintains that Washington is finding a ban on Iran oil imports more difficult as European and Asian countries show increasing resistance to US-proposed sanctions on the Iranian oil sector.

In an article published by analytical website, Eurasiareview, Konstantin Garibov says certain members of the European Union as well as Turkey, Japan, China, South Korea and India have already asked to be exempted from Iran's oil sanctions.

“Last week India and Turkey refused to sign up to a proposed embargo on the import of Iranian crude, just days after the same had been announced by China,” he added.

The analyst further noted that as EU is expected to finalize a decision on halting Iranian oil imports on January 23, a number of Western companies are hastily extending their contracts with Iranian partners to avoid being hit by the proposed sanctions.

“In an affront to Washington, India and Turkey have said although they would comply with the standing UN sanctions against Tehran, they would ignore oil embargo introduced by individual countries. Iranian oil accounts for about 10 percent of India's needs and a hefty 30 percent of Turkish imports,” he added.

Garibov stated that South Korea, which is buying about as much Iranian oil as India, is still undecided on whether or not to stand by Washington on this matter.

“Despite siding with the US on the matter, Japan and South Korea are still facing growing domestic discontent over their role as 'junior partners' to the American Big Brother. Even if they join in the sanctions, the sanctions are unlikely to succeed. As for China and India, they will keep importing Iranian oil, which means that America is losing its sway in Asia,” he noted.

He quoted another Russian expert, Lyudmila Kulagina, as saying that although EU members may decide to stop buying Iran's oil during their planned meeting on January 23 it “is going to be a hard call for many of them."

“The US-proposed embargo will certainly add to Europeans' economic woes, forcing them to look for new sources of much-needed oil supply which won't be easy…,” the expert added.

According to Garibov, some energy experts have even noted that imposing sanctions is an attempt by Washington to play the Iranian oil card to economically undermine the EU which, unlike America, imports up to 40 percent of its crude oil from Iran.

“In any event, if the US succeeds in pulling the plug on Iranian oil imports, even incrementally, Tehran will apparently try offering additional supplies to either China or India whose economies remain the main drivers of global economic growth. Turkey too could jack up its oil imports with an eye to partially reselling them to European buyers,” Garibov concluded.
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