U.S. State Department lets Singapore off the hook, while Iran dangles

Photo courtesy of DipNote, official blog of the U.S. State Dept.

…and it’s all about Iranian oil.
Catching up with some news that may have slipped under the radar of most people, from several months ago.
On 28 June this year, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced that she had “made the determination that two additional countries, China and Singapore, have significantly reduced their volume of crude oil purchases from Iran.”
Specifically, this means that the named countries’ respective financial institutions – although it’s not clear exactly which ones in the countries concerned – would not be penalised; in fact, if carried out, these would in effect be a kind of sanction in themselves, as Clinton stated that she:
“will report to the Congress that sanctions pursuant to Section 1245(d)(1) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 will not apply to their financial institutions for a potentially renewable period of 180 days.”
Jim Lobe has more here“As the sanctions came into effect, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement that she was granting exemptions to China and Singapore — bringing the total number of countries exempted up to 20.” 
Further, an Obama Administration official has said:
“In pursuing the sanctions regime we’ve had the strong support of a broad coalition of countries all over the world who’ve stood united in sending the signal to Iran that its got to limit its nuclear program and address international concerns.” [emphasis in original]
Hmmm. Paradoxically, would Singapore be one of them? After all, the US has been “basing littoral combat ships” in the country, as part of “increased diplomatic and military ties“. So this letting-off of Singapore really has to take into account the overall dynamics of US-Singapore relations. The fact that Singapore has been a close ally of the United States is more significant than it being exempted from penalties regading oil imports from Iran.
Well, it’s also a US Presidential election year and the campaign is nearly at its end. Both the Democrat and Republican candidates have focused on three areas within Asia, and of course Iran had to be one of them.
From this article, “Who is best for Asia: Romney or Obama? You decide.” (Most of us outside the US, and who are not American citizens, seem to be given the illusion of choice):  
Both men also placed a lot of faith in sanctions. Obama argued that his administration had “organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy.” Romney agreed that, “It’s absolutely the right thing to do to have crippling sanctions. I’d have put them in place earlier, but it’s good that we have them.” He added that Washington should “tighten those sanctions” by targeting ships, companies, and people conveying Iranian oil. We should also pursue “diplomatic isolation efforts” by shunning Iranian diplomats and indicting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for trying to incite genocide.
If this blogger really had a choice, I know who my vote would go to — Neither. Of. Them.
The rest of the article is just as [sarcasm] sunny.  [/sarcasm]
On the other hand, see this: “We can live with a nuclear Iran” 

For yet another dimension, see also this.


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