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August 17, 2012 8:33 am

U.S. Exemptions May Be Letting Iran Off the Hook

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Iranian tanker. Photo: wiki commons.

Amid the U.S. and Europe’s oil embargo of Iran, Iranian leaders have begun to look at alternative markets in Asia, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Today, more than half of Iran’s oil exports go to China, South Korea, India and Japan, up from just more than a third a year ago. China alone purchases 587,000 barrels a day, or 54 percent of Iran’s exports, an increase of 100,000 from 2011, according to statistics from the Swiss think tank Petrogistics.

Analyst Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council believes that President Barack Obama has encouraged Iran’s shift eastward by exempting many Asian states from oil sanctions.

“The Obama administration’s decision earlier this summer to exempt all 20 of Iran’s major oil customers from biting new sanctions has sent the unmistakable message to Asian nations that—despite the official bluster emanating out of the White House—it is still possible to do business with both Washington and Tehran simultaneously,” Berman wrote in the Journal.

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