S.Korea says to halt Iran oil imports from July 1
SEOUL, June 26 |
SEOUL, June 26 (Reuters) - South Korea said on Tuesday that imports of Iranian crude oil would be halted from July 1 due to an EU ban on insurance cover on tankers carrying Iranian crude, making Korea the first of Iran's major Asian customers to halt oil purchases.
"South Korea's imports of Iranian oil will be suspended, as the EU will suspend crude imports from Iran and also halt its insurance and reinsurance cover on the crude imports from July 1," a joint statement from the economy, finance and foreign affairs ministries said.
"The government will continue to make efforts to minimise impacts on domestic industry and the economy such as oil supply, and the country's exports to Iran, although the imports of Iranian oil are suspended," the statement said.
The United States and the European Union accuse Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons. Tehran says the programme is strictly for civilian purposes.
EU governments on Monday formally approved an embargo on Iranian oil to start on July 1, and also warned Iran that more pressure could be put in place if it continued to defy international demands for limits on its nuclear programme.
The world's tanker fleet is covered by Western-based protection and indemnity (P&I) clubs, which insure against personal injury and environmental clean-up claims.
South Korea has imposed curbs on exports of goods to Iran to reduce the risk of payment defaults. (Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by David Chance and Ed Davies)
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