Japanese Ambassador to Iran Kinichi Kumano says Japan will proceed to purchase Iranian oil despite Western-led oil embargo against Tehran over its nuclear energy program.

“Contrary to some reports, the Islamic Republic of Iran remains as one of Japan’s key crude suppliers as before,” said Kumano in a Sunday interview with IRNA.

The Japanese envoy praised the 81-year-oil diplomatic ties between Tehran and Tokyo and insisted that despite Western pressures against Iran’s nuclear energy program, Japan is determined to continue its mutual relations with Tehran in political, economic, and cultural spheres.

The remarks come as US-led sanctions on Iran over its peaceful nuclear activities attempt to make it difficult for refiners around the world, including in Japan, to purchase Iranian crude or pay Tehran for its oil.

On December 31, 2011, Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran to penalize other countries for importing the country’s oil. The European Union also imposed similar sanctions on January 23 to ban Iran's oil imports by member states.

Iran is the fourth-biggest crude supplier to Japan and the Iranian crude accounted for 8.8 percent of Japan's total imports in 2011.

The US, Israel and some of their allies have been accusing Tehran of seeking military objectives in its nuclear energy program.

The US and the EU have used the pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions against Iran, while Washington and Tel Aviv have issued threats of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations.

This is while the Israeli regime has never denied the established belief that it possesses over 200 nuclear warheads under its official policy of nuclear ambiguity. Additionally, the regime has refused to allow any inspection of its nuclear facilities.

Iran has repeatedly refuted the Western allegations regarding its nuclear energy program, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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News ID 181586