Subject: U.S. Discussions With Countries Not Excepted from Iran Sanctions

Taken Question
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 22, 2012

Question: What 12 countries have been asked to reduce Iranian crude imports to avoid sanctions? Is the United States talking to all twelve? Are all actually considered countries? What countries imported Iranian crude in 2011?

Answer: The National Defense Authorization Act establishes sanctions related to transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and other U.S.-designated Iranian financial institutions. The law also includes an exception for countries that significantly reduce their volume of purchases of Iranian crude oil. Based on publicly available information, there are 23 countries that import Iranian crude oil. On March 20, Secretary Clinton determined that 11 countries qualify for the exception provided for in the law. We will not comment on the status of ongoing diplomatic discussions. We expect countries that want to be considered for an exception to specify the actions they are taking to reduce significantly their imports of Iranian crude oil.

PRN: 2012/437