June 28th, 2012
02:15 PM ET

FIRST ON CNN: China, Singapore to be exempted from Iran sanctions

by Jamie Crawford

China and Singapore will receive exemptions from U.S. sanctions scheduled to go into effect Thursday that would have cut off banks in those countries from the U.S. financial system for handling Iranian oil transactions, a source in the office of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) tells Security Clearance.

Secretary of State Clinton called Senator Menendez earlier today to inform him.

Under legislation signed by President Barack Obama In December, the United States will take action against countries that continue buying large volumes of Iranian oil through Iran's Central Bank by cutting off financial institutions engaged in those transactions from the U.S. banking system.

Menendez, who co-authored legislation with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, that targeted transactions of Iranian crude through Iran's central bank was notified of the decision in a call from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is traveling in Europe, according to the source.

Seventeen other countries and Taiwan were offered exemptions from sanctions by the United States, but China, one of the largest purchasers of Iranian crude, had been absent from previous announcements.

"We are actively working this issue. Washington is barely awake," Clinton said earlier Thursday when asked whether China would get an exemption.

"China and Singapore both share our goals of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and they appreciate that international sanctions and the pressure that these sanctions have brought to bear on the Iranian economy have been a key aspect to our dual-track strategy over the last years, and both countries have announced steps that they have taken already in their own national interest to move on this important matter, and they're continuing to discuss and gather additional data on the implications of those sanctions."

According to the source in Menendez's office, Clinton told the senator that China had met "the benchmark to constitute a significant reduction in purchases" of Iranian oil, as the law called for, in order to be granted an exemption from U.S. sanctions.

While the drop in Chinese purchases is widely thought to be the result of a contract dispute between China and Iran, however, the official says the administration has suggested that China will continue to reduce its purchases of Iranian petroleum over the coming months.

The source says that as of May, Singapore has terminated all imports of Iranian oil and has passed its own law prohibiting all transactions with Iran and the Central Bank.

Update 2:45p – State Department released a statement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

Today I have made the determination that two additional countries, China and Singapore, have significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran. As a result, I will report to the Congress that sanctions pursuant to Section 1245(d)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 will not apply to their financial institutions for a potentially renewable period of 180 days.

A total of 20 world economies have now qualified for such an exception. Their cumulative actions are a clear demonstration to Iran’s government that Iran’s continued violation of its international nuclear obligations carries an enormous economic cost. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iran’s crude oil exports in 2011 were approximately 2.5 million barrels per day, and have dropped to roughly 1.5 million barrels per day, which in real terms means almost $8 billion in lost revenues every quarter. When the European Union oil embargo goes into effect July 1, Iran’s leaders will understand even more fully the urgency of the choice they face and the unity of the international community.

Today marks an important milestone in the implementation of the NDAA and U.S. sanctions toward Iran. Following the President’s determinations on March 30 and June 11 on the availability of non-Iranian supplies of oil, as of today, any foreign financial institution based in a country that has not received an NDAA exception is subject to U.S. sanctions if it knowingly conducts a significant transaction with the Central Bank of Iran for the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products to or from Iran.

We have been clear all along that there is a path for Iran to fully re-join the global economy. Iran’s leaders have the opportunity to address international concerns by engaging seriously and substantively in negotiations with the P5+1. I urge Iran to demonstrate its willingness to take concrete steps toward resolving the nuclear issue during the expert-level talks scheduled in Istanbul on July 3. Failure to do so will result in continuing pressure and isolation from the international community.

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  20. Lejaune

    China has said that it doesn't care if the US sanctions its banks and stop borrowing money from these banks. With their economy slowing down, they have less money to lend anyway. The Chinese are getting good discount on Iranian oil and we are seeing lower gas prices.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  21. abc

    lol i wonder no american has mention why USA is so scared of Iran...USA is spending trillions of dollars on military, have bases all over the world, have NATO/UN in their pocket, have allies everywhere, have millions of nuclear missiles, and most important, USA is so damn far to Iran...yet USA keep crying over IRAN for the past 33 years. Was Iran the one that went to war with Vietnam? Cuba, El-savador, Venezuela, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, e.t.c? Is Iran the one using drones all over the world? Is Iran the one supporting Free Syrian Army(terrorists group), Is Osama bin Laden fron Iran? If Iran is evil, they would have built nuclear weapons long time ago, why wait this long? Saddam Usein was provided nuclear weapons by USA to kill Iranians...please someone should explain to me why USA is so addicted to Iran? Almost every latin american countries have been destroyed by USA. The so-called North American countries have not benefit anything from USA other than oppressor and economy woes – Hiati, Jamaica,mexico are never experience any major growth.. why can't USA spend more time to build other north america countries? why so much interest in middle-east? how can you be ally to saudi arabia that doesn't practice democracy and be enemy to Iran that at least have government? Other than saying iran sponsor terrorism all over the world which can not be proven, just tell us which country Iran has invaded or go to war with? Isreal possess nuclear weapons- a small country that its population is not even as half of Iran. OSama killed 3 thousands of Americans (as claimed) by USA, in killing Osama, USA lost trillions, thousands of soilder, and it 10 years of war with several countries. Ask yourself, is that good deal? Whether USA killed OSama or not, he will die anyways...Personally I've always admired USA as a counrty that have good intentions but anymore. Too many things have change for worst.........please leave Iran alone and be the country that the whole world used to admire. Peace

    June 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  22. saeed

    sanctions isent usa and britain broke is this a joke.

    June 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  23. Straittalk!

    This is a CLOWN MEASURES bro....

    June 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  24. Sagebrush Shorty

    Is there anyone in this administration who can be called competent?

    June 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Reply
    • jon

      Obama administration had to back down. Because ya know, China has all the precious minerals to make our electronics....since we sold them all the mines and minerals that they wanted. If China decided to sanction us it would show how much of a joke free trade is and expose all the lobbyist and politicians taking their money.

      June 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  25. Quigley

    Finally, some good news after hearing so much bad. I am so sick and tired of the politics of hunger being applied by this government against people who don't quite see eye to eye. We as a nation have truly the world's foremost bullies!

    June 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Reply
    • boomkins

      Iran wants to put an atomic bomb under your bed and you are okay with that?

      June 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Reply
      • jon

        If I was Iran I would be using every bit of that money coming in to fund cyber warfare, GPS Jammers, and the best EMP's money can buy. They can invade us properly if they want. Although they will have to fight off 28 million U.S. armed citizen hunters, and even more citizens that just have weapons for kicks and a sense of duty.

        June 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  26. Ron

    .. and justice for all.

    June 28, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  27. Olaf Big

    Sanctions that exempt seventeen countries, including China, likely the biggest Iran crude importer are a joke and an embarassment.

    June 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  28. JeffinIL

    No balls.

    June 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  29. Peter

    China makes most of our junk. Singapore makes a bunch of our junk. Those two countries purchase Iranian oil. Americans, therefore, are indirect consumers of Iranian oil. Are you starting to see why sanctions don't do anything especially when they are not equally enforced?

    June 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • jack 1

      I don't trust China, China is our enemy Singapore is our friend.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      Singapore was under British control until 1963. Their primary language is English. They are enamored with the USA there. They are a microcosm of America with the diversity of cultures in their society yet they all get along well. I wish there were more countries like Singapore in East and Middle East Asia.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      Say no to Walmart. I stop buying anything made-in China, they become too arrogant.

      June 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
    • STP

      Singapore does not manufacture anything maybe just wafer fabs. Please re-educate yourself or do proper research before making comments.

      June 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Reply
    • prism

      Singapore doesnt make any junk that sells in the US. Singapore only manufacture high value stuff (to make more money of course) like oil rigs, ships, silicon wafers, flash memory and refined/processed petrochemicals. There is as good as no assembly work done in Singapore. Junk in Singapore are assembled in china, just like everyone elses junk!

      June 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  30. Bill

    Make no mistake. This had nothing to do with anything China has done or will do or promises to do. This is about the world oil market

    If China buys their oil from somebody other than Iran... say... Saudi Arabia... and Iran is not allowed to sell oil at all, what happens?

    Prices go up.

    If prices go up, the US economy goes down.

    If the US economy goes down right now, somebody will have trouble getting re-elected.

    This is a political move. Nothing more.

    June 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply
    • g.r.r.

      Nope. SA has been dumping so much oil on the market that prices are dropping. In particular, it is dropping below the price that Iran needs to support itself. China is buying Iranian oil, but at another 20/bl reduction. At this time, China is getting oil at 50/bl. Personally, I think that we SHOULD insist that CHina continue to drop their oil, or we put tariffs on them.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
      • New Gawker

        china will laugh at any tariff attempt and stop buying our treasury bonds.

        June 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • jack 1

      We all know Obama will sell us out for re-election. It seems to be his pattern.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • Ryan in Texas

      Spot on analysis. Obama doesn't consider Iran an enemy, so much of this issue is just for show anyway. He's alot tougher talking about Israel or Mubarack than Iran.

      June 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  31. Stan

    Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois received the MOST money from the Israel Lobby AIPAC in the House. I'm glad to see that he has "American" interest in heart...not. It's so sad that Israel controls our foreign policy.

    June 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply
    • counselor39@hotmail.com

      Stan. Take your antiIsrael rant and shove it.
      This is not about Israel.
      It is about a nation who is consistently ranked # 1 or #2 (with Syria) in the EXPORT to other nations, of terror, and who is actively making the basis for a nuclear bomb.
      Contrary to your obvious beliefs, there ARE bad things in this world which are NOT caused by Israel. TOOL !

      June 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
      • J3sus Sandals

        If you think this is about terror, you're an idiot.

        June 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • tony

        Don't get all bend out of shape.you have the right to disagree with Stan,no name calling is needed.We all know that our foreign policiy come from your buddies in isreal.lol. so be come dude.

        June 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  32. rad666

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "Today I have made the determination that two additional countries, China and Singapore, have significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran." ----- I bet they relied on numbers that China provided. And of course, China would not lie to America.

    June 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  33. jimdog33

    And that's who wears the pants in that Sino-American relationship

    June 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  34. DL

    Sanctions of any kind are anti-capitalist & job killers.
    Vote Romeny 2012 -profits first!

    June 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • larryb

      Actually, just for you: profits second, bad spelling first. Learn to spell your candidate's name.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  35. vijay

    Despite of all the military prowess China shows to US time n again, China is US's hot favorite nation.

    June 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  36. LOL


    June 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  37. MeChineseMePlayJoke


    June 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  38. lejaune

    That was all planned. Sanctioning China means we will stop borrowing money from China. Of course we are not about to destroy our economy for the sake of expressing our displeasure.

    June 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  39. Joe in Kalispell, MT

    So now we have toothless sanctions?

    June 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • JMorcan

      We could hardly keep sending our wealth and power to China if we cut off their banks.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • jrzydvl

      Kind of redundant

      June 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  40. just wondering

    really hurting them, YAH RIGHT just cannot affect the bank's we can't have that can we CROOK'S

    June 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  41. just wondering

    really hurting them, YAH RIGHT just cannot affect the bank's

    June 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  42. Need to get Jewish vote in NewYork

    You can not by force to win heart of Iranian people. We know in New York, You need to get vote of Jewish sponsor for your elections and you do everything to get it.

    Also please give me a break. How you can sanction China? If you do all US economic collapses.

    What none sense?

    You are forcing Iran to go and really focus on Bomb. Then you do what?

    June 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Blow Iran up, what else?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Joe in Kalispell, MT

      China owns 6.3% of our dept and buys 1.7% of our exports. How do they hurt us, by making us bring back our jobs?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • counselor39@hotmail.com

      Yes..because BEFORE the sanctions, there werent going for the bomb.
      Your post is nonsensical and an epic FAIL.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  43. Hussein O

    Just like anything Obama does, almost everyone is exempt. What a worthless clown Obama is to the world.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • Bigubu

      The countries that are exempt are the countries that have "significantly" reduced the amount of oil that they purchase from Iran. They are exempt because they have actually done that. In other words, the sanctions are doing what they are supposed to do. They are reducing the amount of money that Iran receives from the sale of oil. They are putting economic pressure on Iran because as their income from the sale of oil diminishes they will have less money to run the country. If they stop providing to the Iranian people in order to keep persuing nuclear weapons you be assured that the Iranian people will stand up and revolt. Americans always talk about the people of the middle eastern countries like they are stupid, and just a bunch of barbarians. The people of the middle east were civilized and developing culture and education a long time before the europeans climbed out of the darkness. They disagree with their governments positions and ideology as much as americans do. Don't think for one minute that you are superior in all ways or you will soon find out just how stupid you really are.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • jrzydvl

        First, define "significant". You shoudl find two meanings. Focus on the political meaning. You'll find it is inversely proportionate to the amount of U.S. debt they buy. That means the more debt they buy, the less they have to cut back. Second, if we are so dumb, why are we free and they are still under the rule of despots ? I do believe if the Iranian ppl want freedom, they will certainly need the help of us dumb Americans and westerners.

        June 28, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
      • KGColorado

        Bigubu, couldn't agree any more. This is an incredibly intelligent tactic. And for those crying war already, you would be smart to be patient. This is nothing more than a modern-day siege on a country. We are cutting off their primary source of income, the income they would put toward their military or nuclear technology if we do indeed go to war. We are strangling their economy, and hopefully can avoid war by their forfeit; the forfeit would cease their nuclear advancement and they would then ask us how high to jump, pending our demand for them to do so. Way to go America!

        June 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  44. jim

    It either not enough to to much when it relates to sactions on Iran. Most of the people on this board think it just cut and dry. There is a lot more to it when come's to situations like this. Please try to look at the bigger picture.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  45. PaganObservation

    What I found interesting was that Pres. Obama told a news conference that we are the wealthiest nation in the world. The problem is that we are only rich because of the enormous amounts of money we borrow from other nations. If everyone were to call in our debts, we would be royally f@#%ed.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • bryce

      not really, we owe more to our own people then we do to other countries. We have borrowed on social security and pensions..........

      June 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
    • J3sus Sandals

      Materially wealthy...spiritually bankrupt.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  46. some guy

    China said , " NO." Just like the ape in the planet of the apes.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  47. ArizonaYankee

    Usual Obama s c r e w u p . It amazes me how this dirt bag lying president continues to get away with this stuff..

    June 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • Joe Providence

      The whole idea of sanctions on China for buying oil from Iran is a LOSE LOSE situation for American’s – I’m glad its exempted. Higher oil prices (if China backed down and had to compete against us for its oil) or higher prices on everything else is the only possible result for us if we imposed scansions on China.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
    • PaganObservation

      This was to be expected. After all, they just have to hang our debt, which we owe them a lot, over our heads. If we didn't owe China money, we would saction them. What irritates me about this is now we have an empty threat out there and should we take action against another nation, we are going to be asked why we didn't do the same thing to China.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
    • David

      Why does anybody think the president is any more than a talking head or actually has any ability to affect any decisions?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
      • PaganObservation

        It's not that he doesn't hold enough power to force action on certain issues, but the fact that he is the voice of our nation. When there is a meeting of world leaders (e.g. G-20 Summit), its not Congress that meets with other leaders, its the president. When you make a threat, such as sanctioning countries that purchase Iranian oil, and you only enforce it when it is convenient for you, it reflects poorly on those you represent. Unless he intended to enforce the threat, regardless of a nation's standing with the US, then he shouldn't have signed it into policy.

        June 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • larryb

      He's better than the dirtbag lying president that came before him.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  48. anon

    Recognize the power shift folks.....We can't bite the hand that feeds us.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Reply
    • Chuk

      You bet. Besides, the U.S can't just tell everyone what to do. Independent countries ought to be able to make their own decisions.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
      • counselor39@hotmail.com

        Chuk – We ARE letting those other nations make their own decisions !
        We just then get to make OUR decisions as well.
        Other nations are free to ignore the policy of trying to strangle Iran's exports. If they DO ignore, WE are free to sanction them.
        If Iran, or any other country, were to, say, export items and say that the profits will be used to help the DRUG trade, are you saying then, that other nations should not boycott them because they are free nations and should make their oiwn choices ?

        June 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  49. 757Matt

    We will enforce the law fairly...maybe. So dumb. Have a little backbone USA!

    June 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply
    • Mars

      A nice law from a country that punishes another by cutting off a third party! Only dam U.S. can do that and call it fair!!!

      June 28, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • counselor39@hotmail.com

        Correct. And if, say, Macy's has a policy of charging blacks more....it's their right, right ? soooo, by refusing to buy anything from Macy's until they change their policy would be wrong, because Macy's should have the right to st its own policies, right ? Sure, it's a simplistic analogy, but accurate. WE, as a nation, are not telling these nations they cant buy Iranian oil. We're just telling them that if they do, they wil be denied the favorable conditions of trade with US. They have their rights, and we have ours. Sounds fair to me.

        June 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • J3sus Sandals

      Great precedent the US is setting for the cost of doing business with any country whose policies it doesn't agree with.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  50. john

    CUT them off

    June 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  51. rob

    O that's completely fair....your not alienating any of our allies.....


    June 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      It is called putting the Economy first and pursuing security without alienating our allies. Mooooorons.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • Sean

      Most of those who are facing sanctions aren't are allies to begin with nor are they important to the US economy, while Singapore and China are economically vital to the US. Please don't post stupid comments when you don't fully understand the current poli-economic system.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
      • ronniq

        I am sure you fully understand it all and that is why you are here
        posting on CNN blog site.

        June 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

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