Japan, S Korea in Talks with US to Secure Waivers from Iran Sanctions
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Japan and South Korea, two major buyers of Iranian oil, are in talks with the US government in a bid to avoid adverse impacts from Washington’s reimposition of sanctions aimed at cutting Iran out of international markets.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Wednesday that Japan and the United States were in talks about the sanctions on Iran, but declined to reveal details.
“Japan and the US are in talks now on re-application of US sanctions against Iran, and I decline to reveal the details of the discussions,” Suga said, Reuters reported.
“We are watching carefully the impact that the US measure would cause, and we would like to negotiate with countries involved including the United States so as not to have an adverse impact on Japanese firms,” he added.
In South Korea, an Energy Ministry official who declined to be named said the government would keep negotiating with the United States in order to get an exemption from the US sanctions.
“We are in the same position as Japan. We are in talks with the United States and will keep negotiating to get an exemption,” said the official.
While oil supplies were not mentioned by either official, the threat of losing Iranian supplies looms over both countries, who import virtually all of their crude needs.
Iran is the third-largest exporter among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and Japan and South Korea are two of its major customers along with China and India.
Buyers from Japan, South Korea and India have already started to dial back purchases from Iran.
Suga said the government was also in talks with Tehran.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering going to Iran in July for talks with President Hassan Rouhani, Kyodo News reported on June 21, citing unidentified Japanese government sources.
In May, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had sent separate letters to the secretary-general of the United Nations and the European Union foreign policy chief about the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the US breach of the nuclear deal.
He has repeatedly called on European parties to the JCPOA to preserve the accord in a way that the Iranian nation’s interests are guaranteed.
In a speech from the White House on May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after around two years of negotiations.
On May 9, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei urged that any decision to keep the deal running without the US should be conditional on “practical guarantees” from the three European parties to the JCPOA.