By Paula Hancocks
South Korea said Tuesday that it will halt all Iranian oil imports from the start of July in response to a European Union insurance ban on tankers carrying crude from Iran.
The EU and United States have been widening sanctions against Iran recently to put pressure on Tehran to curtail its nuclear program.
Western powers say they believe the program is intended to build nuclear weapons, but Iran insists it is for peaceful purposes.
South Korea is the first major consumer of Iranian oil in Asia to suspend all imports. Iran's other big oil customers in the region are Japan, China and India - none of which have announced plans to stop receiving shipments.