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Obama Exempts Japan and 10 European Nations From Iran Sanctions Law

The New York Times
20th March 2012


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday exempted Japan and 10 European nations from biting sanctions intended to punish those who continued to purchase oil from Iran.

The sanctions, mandated by Congress last year to intensify economic pressure to stop Iran’s nuclear program, had put the administration in the difficult position of threatening to punish some of the United States’ closest allies. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton instead exercised a provision in the law that exempted any country that significantly reduced the supply of oil from Iran.

Mrs. Clinton, in a statement, described the list of countries exempted as “an initial group,” suggesting that more countries could also be exempted. In addition to Japan, China, India and South Korea import more than 60 percent of Iran’s oil, and senior administration officials have lobbied all of them to reduce those imports. It is not clear whether they too will receive exemptions from sanctions that would bar financial transactions with American companies and government agencies.        

Continue reading at The New York Times

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