U.S exempts Sri Lanka from sanctions

The United States announced it will exempt Sri Lanka from tough new sanctions after the government cut back on oil from Iran.

U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that India, Malaysia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan have been added to a list of those exempt from the sanctions. In March, she made exemptions for European Union nations and Japan.

Under a law approved last year the United States starting on June 28 will penalise foreign financial institutions over transactions with Iran’s central bank, which handles sales of the country’s key export.

“Today I have made the determination that seven economies—India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan–have all significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran. They join the 11 countries for which I made this determination in March. As a result, I will report to the Congress that sanctions pursuant to Section 1245(d)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 will not apply to their financial institutions for a potentially renewable period of 180 days,” Clinton said, according to the U.S State Department.

She said the US implemented the sanctions to support efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and to encourage Iran to comply with its international obligations.

“Today’s announcement underscores the success of our sanctions implementation. By reducing Iran’s oil sales, we are sending a decisive message to Iran’s leaders: until they take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community, they will continue to face increasing isolation and pressure. The United States remains committed to a dual-track policy that offers Iran the chance to engage seriously with the international community to resolve our concerns over its nuclear program through negotiations with the P5+1. Iran has the ability to address these concerns by taking concrete steps during the next round of talks in Moscow. I urge its leaders to do so,” she said.

Iran is a strong ally of Sri Lanka and supports the island in the international arena.