The Sri Lankan Government has been informed by the United States that it cannot import crude oil from Iran despite some sanction being lifted recently, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said.
Petroleum Resources Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa has had several rounds of talks with the US Embassy in Colombo while the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington has had talks with the US Government.
At these talks it has been said that while world leaders agreed recently to lift some sanctions on Iran the restrictions on importing oil still remains, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said.
The Ministry said that the move is affecting Sri Lanka’s ability to refine crude oil at the Sapugaskanda oil refinery which was built to refine Iranian oil.
The U.S. State Department had in November extended a waiver from US sanctions to Sri Lanka for another six months for not purchasing crude oil from Iran.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that as President Obama has made clear, the United States will continue to vigorously implement its existing sanctions on Iran as six world powers seek to negotiate a comprehensive deal with Iran that will resolve the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
The initial agreement reached recently after more than four days of negotiations between Iran and the United States, France, Russia, China, Britain and Germany, was designed to buy time for negotiations on a final settlement of the decade-old nuclear dispute.
The Sri Lankan government had last year decided to stop importing oil from Iran ahead of a US sanctions deadline.
Sri Lanka has depended almost entirely on Iran for its crude oil supplies, getting 93 percent from the country. (Colombo Gazette)