【英语中国】美国宣布不会因伊朗石油问题制裁中国

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2012-6-29 22:11

小艾摘要: The U.S. exempted China from penalties for doing business with Tehran as the latest set of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's oil exports took effect on Thursday.The State Department, which had determine ...
The U.S. exempted China from penalties for doing business with Tehran as the latest set of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's oil exports took effect on Thursday.

The State Department, which had determined that China had significantly reduced its purchases of Iranian crude, had previously exempted 19 other countries, all traditional purchasers of Iranian crude. That left China, the biggest buyer of Iranian oil, potentially shut out of doing business with the U.S.

The Obama administration determined that China met the requirements because its purchases of Iranian crude fell about 25% in the first five months of the year. The exemption lasts for six months.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the reductions of purchases of Iranian oil by countries such as Japan, South Korea and Spain 'are a clear demonstration to Iran's government that Iran's continued violation of its international nuclear obligations carries an enormous economic cost.' The U.S. and others say Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons development, a charge Tehran denies.

The Obama administration estimates that Iran is now exporting about 1 million barrels a day less than it did last year, costing Tehran about $8 billion per quarter.

China's reduction in oil imports took place in the first few months of 2012─because of a pricing dispute between Beijing and Tehran, rather than compliance with U.S. sanctions. In May, Chinese imports of Iranian oil jumped 39% from April, to more than 500,000 barrels per day─roughly the same level of imports as last year.

Beijing has opposed the latest round of U.S. sanctions, which ban companies that deal with Iran's central bank from doing business in the U.S. Chinese officials said this month that purchases of Iranian oil are 'legitimate.'

Obama administration officials said they didn't 'want to speculate' on the reasons for the first-half decline, but said 'it's clearly there.' They added that for 2012 as a whole, Chinese imports of Iranian oil will be at a lower level than in 2011.

The U.S. sanctions, part of a bill signed into law late last year, are designed to ratchet up economic pressure on Iran in a bid to convince the country to come clean about its nuclear program. Iran says its pursuit of nuclear technology is for civilian purposes.

A separate oil embargo by the European Union will go into effect on Sunday. Since the embargo was announced earlier this year, European purchasers of Iranian crude have found alternative suppliers. Additionally, some aspects of the EU embargo─such as prohibiting insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil─have convinced non-European countries such as South Korea to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Some House Republicans were upset that China was granted an exemption. 'Today the administration has granted a free pass to Iran's biggest enabler, China, which purchases more Iranian crude than any other country,' said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a statement. 'If the administration is willing to give China, a country that has aided the Iranian regime's efforts to acquire nuclear capabilities, a free pass, who is it willing to sanction?'

KEITH JOHNSON

美国宣布中国将不会因为与伊朗做生意而受到惩罚,与此同时,美国针对伊朗石油出口的一系列最新制裁措施已于本周四生效。

相关报道美国国务院认为,中国已经大幅削减了从伊朗的原油进口。美国此前已给予另外19个国家免于因进口伊朗石油而受到美国惩罚的权利。这19个国家长期以来一直都是伊朗原油的进口国。中国是伊朗石油的最大进口国,如果中国得不到这项豁免权,它有可能被美国市场拒之门外。

奥巴马政府认定,中国满足获得豁免权所需的条件,因为在今年的头5个月里,中国从伊朗购买原油的数量下降了大约25%。豁免权的有效期为六个月。

美国国务卿希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)说,日本、韩国和西班牙等国减少购买伊朗石油的做法已经向伊朗政府清楚地表明,伊朗继续违反它的国际核义务需要付出巨大的经济代价。

奥巴马政府估计,伊朗目前每天的石油出口量比去年减少100万桶左右,德黑兰大约每季度损失80亿美元。

中国在2012年的头几个月减少了从伊朗的石油进口──原因是中国和伊朗在价格问题上存在分歧,并不是中国在顺从美国的对伊制裁。5月份,中国从伊朗进口的石油较4月份增加了39%,达到每天逾50万桶──基本上与去年的进口数量持平。

中国政府已经表达了对美国最新一轮制裁措施的反对立场。美国的最新制裁措施包括,禁止与伊朗央行有业务往来的公司在美国开展业务。中国官员本月表示,中国从伊朗进口石油合法合理。

奥巴马政府的官员说,他们不想去猜测中国上半年从伊朗的石油进口量出现下降的原因,但他们表示,事情是明摆着的。这些官员补充说,中国2012年全年从伊朗的石油进口量将低于2011年水平。

美国的制裁措施是去年年末签署生效的一项法案所规定的,目的是加大对伊朗的经济压力,从而迫使伊朗同意说清楚其核计划的真正目的。伊朗称,它是出于民用目的而发展核技术的。

由欧盟发起的另一项石油禁运行动将于周日生效。自从今年早些时候宣布了这一禁运措施以来,以前从伊朗进口原油的欧洲国家都已另外找到了原油供应国。此外,欧盟禁运措施中有关禁止对运输伊朗石油的油轮提供保险等内容,已促使韩国等非欧洲国家暂停了从伊朗进口石油。

美国国会一些共和党众议员对于中国获得豁免权感到不满。众议院外交事务委员会(House Foreign Affairs Committee)主席、来自佛罗里达州的共和党众议员罗斯-莱赫蒂宁(Ileana Ros-Lehtinen)在一份声明中说,今天,政府给了伊朗最大的纵容者──中国一个免费通行证,中国从伊朗购买的原油在数量上超过其他任何一个国家。他说,如果政府把免费通行证发给中国这样一个为伊朗政权获得核技术提供帮助的国家,那美国政府到底想要制裁谁呢?

KEITH JOHNSON

(本文版权归道琼斯公司所有,未经许可不得翻译或转载。)

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