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Singapore cuts back on Iranian oil

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**FILE** Iraqis work at the Rumaila oil refinery near the city of Basra. The province, located on the Persian Gulf bordering Kuwait and Iran, is Iraq’s only outlet to the sea and is the hub for most of Iraq’s oil exports of nearly 1.9 million barrels a day to the international market. (Associated Press)

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s oil imports from Iran have seen “a sharp downward trend” in the face of international sanctions and are soon likely to be “practically nil,” the city-state’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

“If you look at our imports from Iran … they are showing a very sharp downward trend,” K Shanmugam told a group of reporters on a trip sponsored by the East-West Center. “Looking at the figures, I’m fairly sure that this month, next month, the trend hereafter will be that imports from Iran will be practically nil.”

Mr. Shanmugam’s remarks were matched Tuesday by a Foreign Ministry statement that said “no Iranian crude oil was imported into Singapore” last month.

Singapore’s importation of Iranian crude has been minimal, comprising about 1 percent of its imports over the last two years.

But the apparent end of the trade-heavy city-state’s commercial dealings with Iran provides yet another sign that looming U.S. sanctions on Iran’s central bank, set to take effect June 28, already are beginning to affect the business decisions of firms in third-party countries.

The U.S. is implementing the sanctions after accusing Iran of failing to give the international community sufficient assurances that its nuclear program is not aimed at producing a bomb. The U.S. sanctions are set to be followed on July 1 by an E.U. embargo of Iranian oil.

“Singapore and the U.S are having constructive discussions” about Singapore possibly being granted an exception to the sanctions, the Foreign Ministry said.

About the Author
Ben Birnbaum

Ben Birnbaum is a reporter covering foreign affairs for The Washington Times. Prior to joining The Times, Birnbaum worked as a reporter-researcher at the New Republic. A Boston-area native, he graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in government and psychology. He won multiple collegiate journalism awards for his articles and columns in the Cornell Daily Sun.

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