South Korean officials say their refineries are holding talks with Iran to resume the import of Iranian crude, this time using Iranian ships.
South Korea stopped oil imports from Iran in July under pressure from EU and U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports.
AFP reports that South Korea had been completely dependent on European insurance companies to cover its oil imports from Iran; however, now it’s negotiating with Iran to resume oil imports using Iran’s own insurance companies.
South Korean officials have refused to release details of the negotiations before the deal is finalized.
South Korea is the world fifth-largest oil importer, and last year Iran filled 9.4 percent of its crude needs. But as the widespread EU and U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude took effect in July, the country announced it was significantly reducing its use of Iranian oil and turning instead to Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.
That was enough for the U.S. to exempt South Korea from its punitive measures.