Japan’s November Iran oil imports surge to most since March


By Jacob Adelman

Japan’s crude imports from Iran more than doubled in November from the previous month to the highest level since March, as the Asian country boosted purchases despite sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation.

Oil purchases rose to 1.25 million kiloliters, or about 261,000 barrels a day, up from 469,024 kiloliters in October, according to data today from the Ministry of Finance. Imports in March were 1.75 million.

Japan is boosting Iranian purchases to broaden its supply base after imports fell to as low as 418,203 kiloliters in August to comply with Western sanctions, according to Osamu Fujisawa, an independent energy economist in Tokyo who worked for Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K.

“They are trying to diversify their crude sources and Iran is one of the important countries for Japan,” said Fujisawa, who added that total imports from Iran this year are still far below last year’s levels. “If you average it, it’s not so high.”

Japan imported an average of 930,982 kiloliters of crude during the first 11 months of this year, down 39 percent from 1.51 million during the same period last year. Last month’s imports were 19 percent lower than in November 2011, when Japan bought 1.53 million kiloliters from Iran.
Waiver Extension

Japan’s total crude purchases last month fell 6.2 percent from a year ago to 16.1 million kiloliters, the finance ministry said Dec. 19.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extended Japan’s exemption from sanctions on banks doing business with Iran for a second six-month term in September because of the steps taken to reduce imports. The country was the world’s biggest buyer of Iranian crude after China in the first half of 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The U.S. sanctions, and separate European Union measures that prohibit insurers from covering vessels carrying Iranian cargoes, aim to halt Iran’s atomic program. U.S. and EU officials say Iran’s nuclear development is aimed at producing atomic weapons, while the government in Tehran says the project is for civilian purposes.

The finance ministry’s data is based on a tally of shipments that have cleared Japanese customs. Japan’s trade ministry is scheduled to release separate statistics tomorrow based on data collected from buyers via questionnaire.


Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE