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Japan Promises Cuts In Iranian Oil Imports

Refineries in Assalouyeh, south of Tehran (file photo)

Refineries in Assalouyeh, south of Tehran (file photo)

Japan promised it would "substantially" cut oil imports from Iran, a day after the United States announced a decision to exempt Japan from new sanctions that target those who continue to do business with Tehran.

Japanese chief cabinet secretary Osuma Fujimura said his country would continue to cut back on Iranian oil imports.

In South Korea, officials said there would be another round of talks with U.S. officials about Seoul cutting back on the amount of oil it purchases from Iran.

South Korea was not among the 11 countries the United States said were exempt from its sanctions on any organization or individual that does business with Iran.

South Korean officials hinted they would be willing to reduce the amount of oil the country buys from Iran.

The Obama administration exempted 10 European Union countries and Japan from U.S. economic sanctions because they have reduced significantly their purchases of petroleum from Iran.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton granted waivers to Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Japan, meaning that banks and other financial institutions based there will not be hit with penalties under U.S. law for a renewable period of 180 days.

With Reuters and AFP reports