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US President Barack Obama has vowed to go ahead with tough sanctions on Iran, saying there was enough oil in the world market to allow countries like China and India to significantly reduce their dependence on Iranian imports.
"I will closely monitor this situation to assure that the market can continue to accommodate a reduction in purchases of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran," Obama said in his presidential determination.
"I determine...that there is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions," Obama said. Such a determination as mandated by a Congressional legislation is primarily aimed at slashing Iran's oil revenue so as to force it to abandon its nuclear ambition.
Twelve countries including India, China, Turkey and South Korea have time till the end of June to show that they have significantly reduced their dependence on Iranian oil.
The US has already exempted 11 countries from these sanctions and more countries could be exempted soon. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, said that there currently appears to be sufficient supply of non-Iranian oil to permit foreign countries to significantly reduce their import of Iranian oil.
A senior Administration official later told reporters in a conference call that the President signed the determination today after evaluating all the relevant facts and data, and determined that he would go forward with those sanctions of oil-related transactions.
"I'd also note we've been in a steady and consistent dialogue with all of our international partners on this issue over the course of the last several months as a part of our concerted effort to implement these sanctions in a responsible way that effectively targets the Iranian government while mitigating other effects."
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