South Africa Halts Iran Oil Imports as U.S. Imposes Sanctions

South Africa halted oil imports from Iran last month as the Middle Eastern nation faces sanctions over its nuclear development program.

South Africa received shipments of crude worth 13.3 billion rand ($1.62 billion) in June, with 60 percent coming from Saudi Arabia, 19 percent from Angola and 18 percent from Nigeria, the Pretoria-based South African Revenue Service said in an e-mailed statement today. In May, Iran supplied 13 percent of South Africa’s 14.9 billion rand of oil imports and Saudi Arabia 30 percent.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law on Dec. 31 that denies access to the U.S. financial system to foreign banks that do business with the Central Bank of Iran. On June 12, South Africa was granted a 180-day renewable exemption from the sanctions, after demonstrating that it had significantly reduced purchases of Iranian crude oil purchases.

Iran’s nuclear development program has sparked accusations from the U.S. and the European Union that enriched uranium may be diverted to produce weapons.