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SA suspends Iran crude imports again

Johannesburg - South Africa suspended all imports of crude oil from Iran for a sixth consecutive month in November, data showed on Friday, as Pretoria continued to steer clear of the shipments because of sanctions.

South Africa used to import a quarter of its crude from Iran but has come under Western pressure to cut the shipments as part of sanctions designed to halt Tehran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

File photo. Credit: AP

In May, imports from Iran stood at 285,524 tonnes, but since June, Africa's biggest economy has replaced shipments from Iran with crude from other suppliers.

The major supplier in November was Saudi Arabia, with shipments of 672,298 tonnes.

Other crude imports came from Nigeria, Angola, the United Arab Emirates and Ghana, with shipments totalling 1.27 million tonnes.

Although the United States extended South Africa's exemption from financial sanctions earlier this month after the cuts in Iranian imports, Pretoria is still hampered by European Union (EU) sanctions that prevent insurance companies from underwriting Iranian shipments.

The EU has not granted any waivers, even though South Africa has been lobbying Brussels because of the impact of the sanctions on its fuel supplies.

Refiners in South Africa include Shell, BP, Total, Chevron, petrochemicals group Sasol , and Engen, which is majority-owned by Malaysian state oil group Petronas. -Reuters

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