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Japan Reluctant to Sign New Deal with Iran until US Give the OK

As the US and EU trade sanctions draw closer Iran are looking to secure increased export volumes to their largest customers in Asia. China, the largest importer of Iranian Oil, has almost agreed a new deal for increased supply at a discount compared to market prices, and India is currently in discussions over increased shipments. Asia is generally supporting Iran and ignoring the threats from the US … except for Japan.

Three Japanese refiners are stalling on signing new contracts for 2012 with OPEC’s second largest oil producer. They are waiting for direction from their government, who in turn are waiting for an exemption from the US sanction that punishes any bank which does business with Iran. Exemption is only granted if the country is shown to drastically reduce its Iranian imports, therefore Japan has promised an 11 percent annual reduction. However according to Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba negotiations are still proceeding with the US. The agreement is expected to be concluded by the end of February, leaving little time to finalise a deal with Iran before the existing contract expires in March.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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  • kafantaris on February 24 2012 said:
    Iran faces a delicate issue. On the one hand it wants to show the world all it’s got and put it at ease, while on the other hand it fears that such show 'n tell will give its enemies a roadmap to bomb it.
    Saddam Hussein faced a similar dilemma ten years ago. Though he wanted the world to know he had nothing to hide, he also wanted to bluff his archenemy Iran into believing Iraq still had WMD.
    Bluffing did not go well for Saddam, and it might not go well for Ahmadinejad.
    But since the price tag for ridding Saddam proved high, maybe we ought to reflect what we are asking of Iran now. On the eve of a threatened attack, we are asking it to take us to the depths of its arsenal and show us all it's got.
    Such great expectations are a sign we have been talking to our friends too long and are in need of a broader perspective. Exactly when was the last time we asked Pakistan, India, China or Russia to show us their arsenal?
    “But those countries are not advocating the destruction of Israel.”
    True, but Israel is not a thorn on their side either.
    Surely, however, we can see beyond the hyperboles and figure out their underlying purpose. Or have we forgotten that not all Iranians are thrilled with Ahmadinejad?
    He sure hasn’t forgotten.
    Nor has he forgotten that that his countrymen hate Israel even more. So he tells them that Israel will be wiped from the face of the earth. Expectantly, this nonsense unites them against a common enemy. It is even a diversion from the misery and isolation brought on by his theocratic regime.
    Quite clever work by Ahmadinejad -- and not a rial spent or a bullet fired.
    So why are we letting the crazy talk about destroying Israel get us all worked-up -- to the point of turning the world topsy-turvy again.
    Can we not see the desperate attempts of an unpopular regime simply trying to hold on?

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