A senior U.S. official urged South Korea to reduce its crude oil imports from Iran, increasing the pressure on America’s ally to join them in confronting the Middle Eastern nation over its nuclear program, The Associated Press reported.
According to the news outlet, South Korea restricts financial dealings with more than 200 individuals and groups that hold suspected links to Iran’s nuclear program. However, Seoul, which relies on Iran for up to 10 percent of its oil supplies, hasn’t given word as to whether it will continue to purchase crude from the country.
“We’re urging all of our partners to help us, to work with us in putting pressure on the government of Iran, to get it to negotiate seriously,” Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, told reporters in Seoul. “In particular, we’re urging them to reduce their purchases of crude oil from Iran. We’re urging them to unwind their financial dealings with the central bank of Iran.”
Reuters reported that South Korea warned the U.S. that it would have difficulty replacing the crude oil supplies it received from Iran, and sanctions on the country could lead to higher prices for the commodity.