- Shahrokh Zamani and Khaled Hardani are on hunger strike
- Another civilian is sentenced to death in Khomeini Shahr
- Five Years of Imprisonment for Baha'i Leaders
- Kurdish Death Row Prisoner Transferred, His Lawyer Arrested
- Two Prisoners Executed For Espionage in Tehran
- Imprisoned Dervish Transferred to Hospital after Heart Attack
- U.S. Congress moves to tighten sanctions on Iran
- Iran pushes ahead with new nuclear plant that worries West
- Iran acts to expand sensitive nuclear capacity: diplomats
- CIA head visits Israel to discuss Syria, Iran's nuclear program
- US targets Iran rial, gold imports in sanctions pressure
- Israel air strike on Syria 'is a message to Iran and the US'
- Religious leaders ban 30 women from running for Iran's presidency
- Iranian cleric: Women can't be president in Iran
- Iranians marrying foreigners without state consent face prosecution
- More women smuggling drugs out of Iran
- Canada’s High Court could try Iran for Zahra Kazemi murder
- "Hole"/ Saba Vasefi
- Bahrain claims Iranian drone found
- UK: Iran, Hezbollah increasing support for Assad
- When it comes to Syria and Hezbollah, Israel is walking a tightrope
- IRGC: World now eying Iranian regime's resistance
- Two Iranians in Kenya found guilty of bomb plots
- Iran develops rocket-launcher submarine, smart ships
Monday 02 April 2012
(Reuters) - South African crude oil imports from Iran leapt in February to $364 million from zero the preceding month, customs data showed on Monday, dashing the view that Pretoria has bowed to U.S. pressure to curb commercial links with Tehran.
The Revenue Service said Africa's biggest economy imported 417,000 tonnes of Iranian crude in February, a dramatic reversal of a declining trend seen since October, when it imported 467,000 tonnes.
South Africa has come under Western pressure to cut Iranian crude imports as part of sanctions designed to halt Tehran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons, although it has been unclear how diplomatically non-aligned Pretoria is responding.
Senior energy and foreign ministry officials directly contradicted each other last month as to the status of Iranian imports.
However, January trade and customs data showed Iranian crude imports at zero compared with a monthly average of $280 million last year.
Iran has been South Africa's biggest crude supplier, accounting for a quarter of its oil imports.
The biggest South African buyer of Iranian crude is Engen, majority-owned by Malaysian national oil company Petronas . Engen has not commented, but a Petronas source told Reuters last month Engen had stopped buying Iranian oil from March.
Petrochemicals group Sasol, which took 12,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day, says its has already found new suppliers but has not named them.
In January, trade figures showed a spike in imports from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Ecuador, suggesting they were being used as alternative suppliers to Iran.
In February, Saudi Arabia was South Africa's biggest supplier, with 582,000 tonnes of crude, followed by Iran, Nigeria, Angola an Ecuador. ($1 = 7.6745 South African rand) (Reporting by Ed Cropley, editing by Ed Stoddard)