WASHINGTON - The United States has renewed 180-day exceptions on Iran sanctions for Japan and 10 European Union nations due to their continued reductions of purchases of Iranian crude oil, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday.

Clinton said the exceptions would apply to Japan, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Clinton, in a statement, noted that the European Union had imposed a full ban on Iranian crude oil and petroleum products as of July 1, and said Japan had also taken significant steps to cut purchases from Iran, which she said was "especially notable considering the extraordinary energy challenges it has faced in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster."

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger