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US bid to crimp Iranian oil sales to Asia stumbles

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — American attempts to get major Asian importers of Iranian oil to rein in purchases are faltering as allies South Korea and Japan give U.S. officials a polite brushoff.

Emerging giants India and China may even increase their purchases, further complicating Washington’s efforts to force Iran to curtail its nuclear program.

Japan, South Korea, India and China accounted for 60 percent of Iran’s oil sales in 2011. The U.S. initiative is meant to dig away at the $100 billion in oil revenues Tehran earned last year.

Neither South Korea nor Japan seem likely to cut their Iranian imports by very much. China and India might step up their purchases.

That’s a concern for Washington, which hopes to force Iran into serious negotiations on the nuclear program.

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