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U.S. encourages partners to do away with Iran's oil


10:07, December 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The United States is encouraging its partners to wean themselves from Iranian oil, but will not do damage to them by implementing a new legislation calling for targeting Iran's central bank for sanctions, the State Department said on Monday.

In her meeting with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke "at some length" about U.S. concern over any country's dependence on Iranian oil, department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

"We are, as you know, encouraging all of our partners to do what they can to wean themselves from Iranian oil," Nuland told reporters at a regular press briefing.

Gemba expressed his view that "There is a danger of causing damage to the entire global economy if the imports of Iranian crude oil stop."

The U.S. Congress passed a massive defense bill last week with provisions asking for new sanctions on Iran, targeting foreign financial institutions that do business with the Islamic republic' s central bank.

Government officials said sanctions on the central bank, the main conduit for Iran's oil revenues, could roil markets and harm the interests of U.S. allies and partners.

However, as a result of changes made to the original version of the bill, the president can waive the penalties by notifying the Congress that the move is in the interest of U.S. national security.

"The foreign minister wants to ensure, as we do, that as we implement this legislation, that it is Iran that feels the pain, and that we stay in close consultations with our allies and partners about protecting their legitimate interests, their economic interests, et cetera," Nuland said.

"We share the objective of increasing the economic pressure on the Iranian regime to change course. We just need to implement this legislation in a way that is phased and well coordinated to ensure that it is Iran that feels the tightening, and that we don' t do damage to our allies and partners," she remarked.

She noted that U.S. experts have been in contact with its partners about helping them make the transition to "more secure supply."

The U.S. and its partners are exploring ways to tighten further the sanction regime against Iran with a view to pressing the Islamic republic to abandon its attempt to obtain nuclear weapons.

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