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7 February 2012 - 22:31

A London-based energy research institute says efforts made by the US and the European Union to enforce sanctions against Iran's oil sector will fail if the sanctions are not joined by Asia’s economic giants, China and India

report by the Global Insight says as Asian powers become more reliant on the Iranian crude, the US and the European Union will have to struggle to enforce practical sanctions against Iran's crude by those countries.

The report quoted the US Energy Department as saying that China, Japan, India and South Korea were the biggest users of Iran’s oil in the first half of 2010, importing 1.46 million barrels a day of Iran's oil, or 59 percent of the country’s crude exports.

At the same time, the EU’s biggest economies, Germany, France and the UK, have together imported 77,000 barrels of Iranian crude.

“It will be difficult to enforce a ban [on Iran's oil imports] as India and China are not willing to back the ban,” Simon Wardell, Global Insight’s energy research manager said.

“Iran will still be able to find buyers [for its oil] if they make concessions and lower their prices,” he added.

On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed into law new sanctions against Iran aimed to penalize other countries for doing transactions with Iran's Central Bank and importing the country’s crude oil.

The European Union followed suit by approving sanctions on January 23 to ban oil imports from Iran, freeze the country’s Central Bank assets within EU members and ban sale of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to Iran.

Despite efforts made by US officials to convince Asian countries to join the sanctions, India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on January 29 that his country will not cut back on oil imports from Iran.

China has taken a similar position while South Korea, Turkey and Iraq have sought waivers on Iran oil sanctions.

Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on January 23 that the country has “no concerns whatsoever for finding new customers.”

“The Iranian nation has many times proved that it would never yield to pressure and unjust moves,” he added.

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News ID 181470