India gets a reprieve on Iran sanctions, but China must wait
The US has extended exemptions to seven more major economies, including India and Sri Lanka, from its hard-hitting sanctions on Iran's oil trade - but has left China off the list.
China, which alone buys as much as a fifth of Iran’s crude exports, has not received a waiver for a six-month break from the threat of being cut off from the US financial system.
The sanctions, which the US may impose from June 28, are Washington’s most ambitious measures yet to strangle Iran’s nuclear programme by cutting funding from its oil export sales.
Although China did not immediately receive a reprieve from sanctions it does not necessarily follow that the US will now impose heavy punishments on the Asian powerhouse.
Bob McNally, head of the Washington-based oil consultancy Rapidan Group, said President Barack Obama may have delayed a decision on China to avoid criticism he is soft on Beijing ahead of this year’s US elections.