Japan, EU get U.S. sanctions relief

March 14, 2013 at 6:33 AM

WASHINGTON, March 14 (UPI) -- Japan and 10 EU members qualified for an exception to Iranian sanctions for moving away from Tehran's oil sector, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Kerry said the 11 countries are shielded from sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector because of "significant reductions" in the volume of crude oil they purchased from Iran.

Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom received a waiver extension, though Kerry said they haven't purchased Iranian crude oil since July 1.

Kerry said the actions serve as a reminder that the international community is serious about its commitment to persuading Iran to back away from its nuclear ambitions.

"The message to the Iranian regime from the international community is clear," he said in a statement. "Take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community or face increasing isolation and pressure."

Multilateral nuclear negotiations with Iran are scheduled for April in Kazakhstan.

Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reported Thursday that Tehran expects to earn about $1.5 million per day from planned natural gas exports to Iraq. The government also expects to start work on oil installations in Venezuela.

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