24 June 2014
US denies agreement permitting Sri Lanka to import Iranian crude oil through third parties
On 21 June, the United States denied the existence of any agreement with Sri Lanka that allows Sri Lanka’s oil refinery near Colombo to import crude oil from Iran via third parties, avoiding sanctions intended to constrain Iran’s nuclear program. According to Keheliya Rambukwella, Sri Lanka’s Media Minister and government spokesman, Sri Lanka has been importing Iranian oil from several countries, including Malaysia, through third parties, with the understanding of the US.
Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry ‘categorically’ rejected the contents of the Reuters article reporting the statement of Rambukwella that Sri Lanka circumvents Western sanctions against Iran. An anonymous source of the Malaysian state oil firm Patronas said that the Prime Minister’s office told the company not to do business related to Iran and that Malaysia ceased importing Iranian oil when the sanctions were implemented in early 2012.