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U.S. Urges South Korea To Cut Iran Oil Imports

South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jae-shin (right) meets with Robert Einhorn, the U.S. State Department's special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, in Seoul on January 17.
A senior U.S. official has called on South Korea to reduce its crude oil imports from Iran to help pile pressure on the Islamic republic over its nuclear program.

U.S. State Department official Robert Einhorn on January 17 also urged South Korea to scale back its financial dealings with Iran's Central Bank.

Einhorn, speaking on a visit to Seoul, told reporters that the United States understood its allies' economic interests with Iran.

But he said the world needed to pressure Iran into negotiating seriously over its nuclear program, which the United States is concerned may be directed toward development of an atomic weapon.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

The Associated Press reports that South Korea has restricted financial dealings with more than 200 groups and individuals with suspected links to Iran's nuclear program.

But South Korea has not announced plans to cut oil purchases from Iran.

compiled from agency reports