The United States has given a waiver to Sri Lanka on Washington’s unilateral sanctions against the Iranian oil sector, allowing the island country to continue importing oil from Iran.
While the US had earlier urged Colombo for a total cut of Iranian oil import, it has now agreed to a waiver which allows Sri Lanka to only scale down crude imports from Iran by 15 percent, Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha was quoted as saying.
“Such a reduction means that Sri Lanka will not face a total ban [on Iran oil imports] immediately,” he added.
According to Premajayantha, the waiver to reduce crude oil imports only by 15 percent was a result of the request made by the Sri Lankan government to the US earlier this month.
Sunday Times also quoted Premajayantha as saying that the Sri Lankan government is looking for other sources for its crude oil supplies with talks underway with Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Sri Lanka imports as much as 93 percent of its annual crude oil requirements from Iran.
The US and the EU have imposed new sanctions on Iran since the beginning of 2012, which aim to ban countries from importing Iranian crude oil or doing business with its banks.
They claim that Iran is pursuing military purposes in parallel to its nuclear energy program despite the fact that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never been able to prove in its inspections any diversion in Iran's nuclear energy program.
Tehran refutes the US and the EU claims about its nuclear energy program arguing that as a committed member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is entitled to peaceful uses of the nuclear energy.