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Monday, January 30, 2012

Cambodia to import oil from Iran

The government of Cambodia has announced that it is planning to import and refine oil from Iran in clear defiance of recent US sanctions on Iranian oil imports.

“Cambodia will not take into account the foreign policies of other countries toward Iran when considering investment in the Kingdom,” spokesman of Cambodia's Council of Ministers Ek Tha said yesterday.

“We do not discriminate where our FDI [foreign direct investment] comes from,” he said, adding that the deepening of cooperation with Iran was strictly civilian, not military, the Phnom Penh Post reported.

According to Ek Tha, Cambodia is planning to refine crude oil that it imports from Iran at a local refinery whose construction will begin within a few months, and then sell refined products to China and South Korea starting in 2014.

Construction of Cambodia's first oil refinery, located on 365 hectares in Sihanoukville and Kampot provinces, will begin in April and finish in 2014.

Tehran and Phnom Penh signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on oil and gas projects last year.

Reacting to the announcement, spokesman for the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Sean McIntosh, said members of the United Nations shouldn't ignore US policy toward Iran.

"We expect all UN members to strictly enforce UN [Security Council] relations and to consider carefully the impact of new US regulations when considering engaging in economic activity with Iran," he added.

The US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions against Iran which seek to penalize other countries for importing Iran's oil or doing transactions with the country's central bank. The European Union also approved new sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors on January 23, which will cut off crude oil imports from Iran on July 1.

The United States, Israel and their European allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to impose four rounds of international and a series of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has a right to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.


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