Is Asia doing enough to curb Iranian oil purchases?
Even the Chinese, who have made it quite clear they don't support the concept of sanctions targeting Iran's oil trade, have made deeper cuts than the Indians.
In the first 10 months of 2012, China imported 424,000 bpd from Iran, a drop of 22.2 percent from the same period last year.
However, how much of this was due to a genuine willingness of the Chinese to at least cooperate with the United States is open to debate.
It's quite possible that China's drop in purchases is more down to the dispute over contract terms at the start of the year and the later insistence that Tehran uses its own tankers to deliver cargoes after European insurers withdrew coverage for vessels carrying Iranian crude.
South Korea has the strongest case for the renewal of its waiver for Iranian crude, having cut purchases by 40 percent in the first 10 months of the year over the same period in 2011. South Korea imported an average 145,546 bpd from Iran in the year to end October, but after stopping purchases altogether in the middle of the year, refiners in the North Asian nation have once again stepped up buying.
In October, South Korea bought 186,451 bpd of Iranian oil, and the recent increase in purchases may slightly undermine Seoul's case among Washington lawmakers.
Japan, the other significant buyer of Iranian crude, had its waiver renewed in September and its purchases of
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