Japan increased its imports of Iranian crude oil by a significant 34% in July relative to the previous month, despite the prospect of an upcoming review of its buying patterns by Washington to determine whether it would be eligible for a further extension of a waiver, exempting it from US sanctions imposed on the Iranian oil sector.

Latest data released from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on 30 August place the Islamic Republic in fifth position in the list of countries supplying crude to Japan in July, behind fellow OPEC members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait. Iran was Japan’s third biggest supplier as recently as 2008. (CONTINUED - 461 WORDS)