China, India plan Iran oil cuts of 10% or more

By REUTERS
February 21, 2012 18:43

BEIJING/NEW DELHI - China, India and Japan are planning cuts of at least 10 percent in Iranian crude imports as tightening US sanctions make it difficult for the top Asian buyers to keep doing business with the OPEC producer.

The countries together buy about 45 percent of Iran's crude exports. The reductions are the first significant evidence of how much crude business Iran could lose in Asia this year as Washington tries to tighten a financial noose around Tehran.

The cuts would add to a European Union ban on Iran oil imports, which comes into effect on July 1, to restrict the flow of vital foreign exchange to Tehran under pressure over its nuclear program.

Japan is close to an agreement with Washington on the size of cuts needed to win waivers from the US sanctions, two ministers said. The Yomiuri newspaper, citing unidentified sources, said the two sides would settle on an 11 percent cut.

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