- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

SINGAPORESingapore’s oil imports from Iran have seen “a sharp downward trend” in the face of international sanctions and are soon likely to be “practically nil,” the city-state’s foreign minister said Tuesday.

“If you look at our imports from Iran … they are showing a very sharp downward trend,” K Shanmugam told a group of reporters on a trip sponsored by the East-West Center. “Looking at the figures, I’m fairly sure that this month, next month, the trend hereafter will be that imports from Iran will be practically nil.”

Mr. Shanmugam’s remarks were matched Tuesday by a Foreign Ministry statement that said “no Iranian crude oil was imported into Singapore” last month.

Singapore’s importation of Iranian crude has been minimal, comprising about 1 percent of its imports over the last two years.

But the apparent end of the trade-heavy city-state’s commercial dealings with Iran provides yet another sign that looming U.S. sanctions on Iran’s central bank, set to take effect June 28, already are beginning to affect the business decisions of firms in third-party countries.

The U.S. is implementing the sanctions after accusing Iran of failing to give the international community sufficient assurances that its nuclear program is not aimed at producing a bomb. The U.S. sanctions are set to be followed on July 1 by an E.U. embargo of Iranian oil.

Singapore and the U.S are having constructive discussions” about Singapore possibly being granted an exception to the sanctions, the Foreign Ministry said.

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