Ambassador: Japan to continue buying Iranian oil
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 11/ Trend M. Moezzi/
Iran will continue to be one of Japan's most important oil suppliers, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quotes Japan's Ambassador to Iran Kinichi Kumano as saying.
Despite the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program, Japan will maintain its relations with Iran which began 81 years ago, Kumano said.
Japan's oil purchases from Iran have declined over the last five years. In earlier comments, Mr. Kumano said price and confidence in having a long-term supply have been the two factors Japanese petroleum refineries consider when buying crude oil. Now these companies have to also consider conditions imposed by the U.S. government in its drive to impose sanctions against Iran.
With its exports of 228,000 barrels per day, Iran is Japan's fifth biggest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Qatar. Over the last five years, Japan has reduced its oil imports from Iran by 11 percent annually, said Ambassador Kumano.
The U.S and EU are working to impose tougher sanctions against Iran. They have embargoed Iran's oil and the U.S. is pressuring other countries to stop purchasing oil from Iran to hurt it financially.
The West's measures are part of an effort to make Iran answer questions about its nuclear program which it says is peaceful and civilian in nature while the U.S. and its allies contend it is not.