The US has exempted China and Singapore from economic sanctions that went into effect today because the two countries reportedly reduced significantly their imports of Iranian oil.
The decision by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spares Chinese and Singaporean banks from potentially being cut off from the American financial system. The banks had to process payments for oil imports through the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). As of today, new sanctions against banks dealing with CBI will go into effect, practically cutting them off from the American financial system. However, if a country cuts its imports of Iranian oil by 20 percent, they receive temporary waivers. Seventeen countries already have received those waivers.
Iran's oil exports have declined to less than 1.8 million barrels a day from 2.5 million barrels last year. Oil trading observers expect the exports to continue declining to 1 million bpd by year’s end, a huge loss of hard-currency revenue for the country.