SEOUL - South Korea said on Tuesday that imports of Iranian crude oil would be halted from July 1 due to an EU ban on insurance cover on tankers carrying Iranian crude, making Korea the first of Iran's major Asian customers to halt oil purchases.
"South Korea's imports of Iranian oil will be suspended, as the EU will suspend crude imports from Iran and also halt its insurance and reinsurance cover on the crude imports from July 1," a joint statement from the economy, finance and foreign affairs ministries said.
"The government will continue to make efforts to minimize impacts on domestic industry and the economy such as oil supply, and the country's exports to Iran, although the imports of Iranian oil are suspended," the statement said.
The United States and the European Union accuse Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons. Tehran says the program is strictly for civilian purposes.