South Korea cuts imports of Iranian crude oil by about twenty percent, compared to last year's imports during the same period, in an effort to avoid sanctions by the US.
In early December 2012, the US granted 180-day waivers on Iran sanctions to China, India and South Korea after they agreed to cut oil purchase from the Islamic country. Iran is pressured by the US, Israel and the EU to abandon its atomic program. The West believes the program is being used to develop nuclear weapons, a claim that Iran vehemently denies. Under the agreement with the US, South Korea, one of Iran's biggest oil buyers, will import approximately 37,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day less compared to the period December 2011 to May 2012. Seoul said it would also "significantly reduce" its imports of Iranian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
According to the US Energy Information Administration, in September and October 2012 Iran's crude oil production fell by 1 million barrels per day compared to the same time last year.