South Korea was excluded from the US sanctions against Iran. South Korea, which is an ally of the United States and largest buyer of Iranian oil, has demanded “maximum flexibility” last week, after some of its construction companies canceled energy-related contracts in the Islamic Republic for financial difficulties.
The United States reported on Friday that it has temporarily excluded eight importing countries from the sanction regime.
The purpose of the sanctions enacted today is to force Iran to limit its nuclear program and its involvement in regional conflicts. According to US law, exceptions can be granted for 180 days.
“The petrochemical industry is key to our economy. We emphasize that if we are affected by Iranian sanctions, it will pose serious challenges to our entire economy”, said the Korean government official, who wished to be anonymous.
The largest Iranian oil customers – all in Asia – were looking for ways to be excluded from the US sanctions.
South Korea, which is the world’s fifth-largest buyer of crude oil, is buying from Iran mainly a very light crude oil grade, known as condensate.
Seoul also received a US authorization to continue financial transactions with the sanctioned Iranian central bank to facilitate the import of crude oil.