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Why hasn’t NGO Monitor’s US fundraiser filed legally required public disclosures with Internal Revenue Service?

By Ali Abunimah | The Electronic Intifada | January 15, 2012

NGO Monitor, the far-right Israeli group that fashions itself as a transparency watchdog, suffers from a mysterious lack of transparency itself.

The legally-mandated public disclosures required of US nonprofits are nowhere to be found for NGO Monitor’s US-based fundraising arm known as REPORT.

Indeed, The Electronic Intifada has obtained an Internal Revenue Service document that shows REPORT was warned of the consequences of failing to file its public disclosures.

NGO Monitor has engaged in regular public attacks on The Electronic Intifada and on numerous Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish and other organizations it perceives as being hostile to Israel. The group has close ties to Israel’s government and military establishments.

NGO Monitor has also recently spearheaded an attack on the Center for American Progress, a think tank close to the Obama administration, alleging that bloggers employed there had made “anti-Semitic” statements (More background on NGO Monitor is available from the Institute for Policy Studies).

REPORT and American Friends of NGO Monitor

According to NGO Monitor’s website:

NGO Monitor receives significant financial support from Research + Evaluation = Promoting Organizational Responsibility and Transparency (REPORT) (Formerly AFNGOM), which provided a grant of $500,000 in 2010.

REPORT, formerly American Friends of NGO Monitor (AFNGOM) is recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

REPORT maintains a separate website on which it confirms that NGO Monitor is one of the three projects it supports.

Public disclosure requirements for US nonprofits

IRS Form 990, also known as “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax,” is familiar to almost anyone who works in the nonprofit world.

It provides basic financial information about a nonprofit organization, how it spends its money, and it lists board members and the compensation of the highest paid employees. It also requires the organization to disclose whether it has engaged in lobbying activities among other information.

All 501(c)(3) nonprofits with receipts over $25,000 – except for religious organizations and certain state institutions – must file Form 990 and it is the only public report that such nonprofits are required to file.

NGO Monitor knows all about 990s as it spends a lot of time trawling through those of organizations it targets in order to look for information it can distort or use to attack them.

Given that NGO Monitor acknowledges it received a grant of $500,000 from REPORT in 2010, it would certainly have had to file a 990 for that year.

REPORT’s 990 forms unavailable through public databases

There are two widely-recognized sources for easily obtaining 990 forms for any 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization required to file: Guidestar and the Foundation Center.

The Guidestar page for REPORT indicates that the organization was recognized by the IRS in 2009, but there are no 990s available for either 2009 or 2010.

Similarly, a search on the Foundation Center, using either the name or the IRS identification number – known as an EIN – of REPORT (26-2971061) turned up no result.

The absence of a 990 for 2009 can explained by the fact that the organization was only recognized by the IRS in that year and did not have $25,000 or more in gross receipts.

But there should be a Form 990 for 2010. Where is it?

IRS warns REPORT in letter about failing to file

The Electronic Intifada has obtained a 14 October 2011 letter from the IRS to Harry Teichman, a board member of REPORT, whose name also appears in online databases as a tax lawyer. The letter is signed by Cindy Thomas, Manager of the IRS Exempt Organization Determinations unit. The letter begins:

This is in response to your Aug. 31, 2011, request for information regarding your tax-exempt status. Our records indicate that you were recognized as exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in a determination letter issued in April 2009.

Our records also indicate that you are not a private foundation within the meaning of section 509(a) of the Code because you are described in section(s) 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi).

What does this mean? Did Teichman inquire about the tax-exempt status fearing it had already been forfeited due to a failure to file a 2010 report? Was REPORT seeking some loophole through which it could avoid filing? Were the forms lost in the mail? We can only speculate. But what is clear is that as of January 2012, a Form 990 for 2010 is nowhere to be found.

It may be significant that the IRS letter warns REPORT of the consequences of refusing to file:

failure to file an annual information return for three consecutive years results in revocation of tax-exempt status as of the filing due date of the third return for organizations required to file.

REPORT and NGO Monitor

Guidestar does reveal that one Dov Yarden is the “chief executive” of REPORT. Dov Yarden is also the “Chief Executive Officer” of NGO Monitor, listed on its website just below its president, Gerald Steinberg.

REPORT exists chiefly to raise tax-exempt funds in the US and channel them to Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor. So it should be easy enough for Gerald, a stickler for transparency so he claims, to ask Dov to immediately publish the 2010 990 form that the public is entitled to see, if it exists, or to file it with the IRS as required by law at once.

It’s time for NGO Monitor to practice a bit of the transparency it preaches to everyone else.


IRS Letter to REPORT available at source.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

More deaths and injuries from US tear gas in Palestine, around the Middle East, and in Oakland

15 January 2012 | Adalah-NY

US-made tear gas, manufactured by companies like Combined Systems Inc. (CSI)Defense Technology, and Nonlethal Technologies, continues to be used by governments including Egypt, Israel, Yemen, Bahrain and the United States to repress popular protest movements for social justice.

In response, human rights advocates will protest again on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 16th, 2012, outside CSI’s Jamestown, Pennsylvania headquarters (see past Protests against Israel’s tear gas use). In advance of the protest, reports indicate that CSI has replaced the Israeli flag that previously flew alongside the US flag outside its headquarters with a Pennsylvania state flag.

Strong evidence that CSI canister killed Palestinian protester Mustafa Tamimi

On December 9, 2011, in the village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank an Israeli soldier inside an armored military jeep fired a tear gas canister at close range directly at the face of Palestinian protester Mustafa Tamimi during a protest against the expansion of Israeli settlements on Nabi Saleh’s land. Mustafa died from his wounds the next day. Protesters did not manage to collect the actual tear gas canister fired at him. However, residents of Nabi Saleh have collected samples of the types of tear gas canisters that the Israeli army uses against Nabi Saleh’s weekly protests, including the specific type of tear gas canister – same size and shape – that hit Mustafa. The type of canister that killed Mustafa can be seen in the January 11 and 13, 2012, photos below taken in Nabi Saleh by Bilal Tamimi. The canister has a headstamp on it that reads CTS. CTS stands for Combined Tactical Systems, a brand name of Combined Systems Inc., in Jamestown, PA. Adalah-NY received these photos from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.

CSI canisters and tear gas, shot by Israeli soldiers during protests against Israel’s settlements and wall on Palestinian land, also caused the deaths of protesters Bassem and Jawaher Abu Rahmah in Bil’in, the severe injury of protester Tristan Anderson, a US citizen, in Ni’lin, as well as severe injuries to many other Palestinian protesters (more information on these protesters).

CSI is the primary supplier of tear gas to the Israeli military as well as a provider to Israel’s police (and border police). Until a January 2012 change to it’s website, CSI listed Israeli Military Industries and Rafael Armament Development Authority as among its military customers and development partners (see old webpage).  CSI’s founders, Jacob Kravel and Michael Brunn, are Israeli-Americans.

In addition to ubiquitous CSI/CTS canisters found at Palestinian protests, evidence of CSI sales and shipments to Israel is clear. An April 30, 2008, cable available through Wikileaks from the US State Department in Washington DC to the US State Department in Tel Aviv requests clearance for shipment to Israel’s police of the following equipment from CSI: 1,000 Rubber Ball Hand Grenades, 1,000 Tactical Grenades Flash Bang, 1,000 Sting-Ball Grenades, 1,000 Flash Bang Training, and 1,000 Super-Sock Bean Bags. The shipment was part of a larger $5 million agreement between the Israeli police and CSI. An Israeli government website shows that on August 4th, 2011, the Israeli police purchased 6 million shekels ($1.56 million) worth of stun grenades from CSI without issuing a tender.

The PIERS Export Database of US Trade activity is helpful in identifying CSI shipments of tear gas to a number of countries, including Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria (see further information below). However, searching PIERS does not turn up CSI shipments to Israel. The photo of a CSI container at right reveals two reasons. The bottom label in the photo shows that the tear gas container was shipped via Israel’s national airline El Al, and PIERS only tracks shipments by sea. Additionally, the bottom label shows the CSI container was sent to Israel’s Ministry of Defense by Interglobal Forwarding Services, in Bayonne, New Jersey. A search on PIERS for Interglobal Forwarding Services over the past year shows over 1,300 shipments, some evidently including tear gas, by Interglobal from the US to Israel’s Ministry of Defense. But the shipments are listed under Interglobal’s name, and do not show manufacturers’ names.

The US company Defense Technology has also provided some tear gas to Israel’s police (see information on Defense Technology in the Middle East and Oakland below, and a photo of a Defense Technology tear gas container in Jerusalem below).

CSI tear gas kills and injures Egyptian protesters

CSI tear gas is also the primary tear gas that has been used by the Egyptian security forces to repress popular protests for democracy in Egypt over the last year, causing protester deaths and injuries. Amnesty International highlighted the shipment of CSI tear gas to Egypt in its December 6, 2011, call for the US government to stop sending tear gas and weapons to the Egyptian government due to tear gas-related deaths and injuries to Egyptian protesters. Using the PIERS database, Amnesty International documented three specific shipments of tear gas from CSI in the US to Egypt in 2011 that were approved by the US State Department, despite the Egyptian security forces’ record of using of tear gas to kill and injure protesters in efforts to crush protests.

As additional documentation, a July 11, 2008, cable from the State Department in Washington DC to the State Department in Cairo available through Wikileaks requests information to finalize the shipment from CSI to Egypt’s Ministry of Interior of 20,000 CS Smoke Hand Grenades, 20,000 CS Smoke Long Range Cartridge, and 4,000 CS Window Penetrating Cartridges, together valued at $621,000.

CSI in the Middle East and worldwide

CSI canisters were also seen (for example at 27 seconds in this Tunisian video) and blamed for protester deaths in Tunisia. The PIERS database reveals an April 1, 2010, CSI shipment of 5.540 kilograms of “grenade cartridges” and “ammunition launchers” to Tunisia. PIERS also shows an April 8, 2011, shipment by CSI of 12,663 kilograms of “ammunition” to Algeria. There is some evidence of use of CSI tear gas by the Yemeni government against protesters.

Other CSI customers include the Netherlands and Germany (information available via PIERS), and (via Wikileaks) Guatemala, India, Timor-Leste, Hong Kong, Argentina, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Cameroon (via Israel), and Sierra Leone.

Defense Technology in the Middle East and Oakland

A Corporate Watch report shows that the US company Defense Technology has provided tear gas to Israel’s police. Defense Technology is headquartered in Casper, Wyoming, and is owned by the UK arms giant BAE Systems. BAE Systems also owns the US arms company Armor Holdings and bought Federal Laboratories, another US company that previously provided tear gas to Israel, and other countries, and was the object of protests and lawsuits during the first intifada (See section on Past Deaths from Israeli tear gas).

Tear gas canisters with Defense Technology and Federal Laboratories have also been used by the Yemeni and Egyptian governments against pro-democracy protesters.

The city of Oakland has also used Defense Technology tear gas in its efforts to stop popular protests by Occupy Oakland. Occupy Oakland protester Scott Olsen, a former US marine, was seriously injured when he was struck in the head by an Oakland police projectile, very likely manufactured by Defense Technology.

US government approval of and funding of tear gas shipments

There is clear documentation, and State Department confirmation that the State Department approves sales of tear gas to foreign governments by US companies as “Direct Commercial Sales.”  A US State Department webpage shows many examples in different years of State Department regulated and approved Direct Commercial Sales by US companies of tear gas to countries like Egypt, Israel, and Bahrain. Wikileaks cables also confirm the US State Department approval process for US tear gas sales, as have a number of statements by the State Department. However, in US government records of the US’s “Foreign Military Sales” (FMS), sales of military items by the US government to other governments, use line item descriptions that are too broad to identify whether items like tear gas are being sold by the US government under FMS. Most importantly, because US military aid (“Foreign Military Financing” or FMF) is not reported transparently by the US government, it is not possible for the public to know whether or not the billions of dollars of tax dollars given as military aid to countries like Israel, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain are paying for US tear gas transferred to those countries through Direct Commercial Sales, or possibly through Foreign Military Sales.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on More deaths and injuries from US tear gas in Palestine, around the Middle East, and in Oakland

Talks to end Nigeria fuel crisis fail

Press TV – January 15, 2012

Talks between Nigerian government and union leaders over the state’s controversial decision of removing the fuel subsidies have ended without an agreement.

Union leaders held talks with government officials in the capital Abuja over the weekend to reverse the decision on the elimination of fuel subsidies.
The negotiations came after unions temporarily suspended protests sparked by soaring petrol prices.

The talks were also meant to end a week-long strike over skyrocketing fuel prices that has virtually shut down the country.

The unions had warned that they would continue protests and threatened to halt oil production activities if the government did not reverse its decision.

Labor union leaders and government officials are now expected to hold further talks.

On January 1, the Nigerian government announced that it had eliminated fuel subsidies, a measure that led to the doubling of petrol prices and transport fares. Fuel prices increased from 65 naira (40 cents) per liter to at least 140 naira (86 cents) at gas stations.

Over the past few days, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Nigeria to protest the government’s decision.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | 1 Comment


By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett | Race for Iran | January 13th, 2012
Iranian Scientist Killed January 11, Fars News Agency Photo

A rising tide of commentary attributes the most recent assassination of a scientist connected with Iran’s nuclear or missile programs—and perhaps previous killings of Iranian scientists—to Israel.  The Obama Administration has publicly disavowed any involvement in the killings.  Today, Mark Perry published an important article, see here, citing multiple current and retired U.S. intelligence officials as saying that what the Iranian government, several other foreign governments, and any number of Western journalists have perceived as clandestine U.S. support for the Balochi separatist group, Jundallah, is, in fact, a “false flag” operation conducted by Israel’s Mossad without Washington’s approval.

We know and respect Mark Perry, and we do not question his reporting on his contacts and conversations with current and former U.S. intelligence officials.  However, in order to assess U.S. involvement in the ongoing covert war against the Islamic Republic, it is important to put Mark’s story in a wider context. We have written, on multiple occasions, see here, here and here, about America’s dangerous dance with Jundallah and, more broadly, anti-Iranian covert action.  That the Obama Administration is now trying to distance itself from some aspects of this dance, by fobbing it off on Israel (to be sure, anything but an innocent party), does not extricate it from its past decisions or current actions.

First, that Israel was (and still may be) conducting a false flag operation using Jundallah to carry out lethal attacks inside Iran does not say anything, in itself, about possible U.S. support for the group.  Prior Western media reporting on the issue indicates that U.S. support for Jundallah was “indirect”—meaning that, as with Nicaraguan contras in the 1980s, Washington relied on third parties to deliver funding to Jundallah.  Moreover, Perry’s sources say that, since the United States learned about this Israeli false flag operation, neither the Bush Administration nor the Obama Administration has done anything to convey its displeasure to Israel.  So, one must ask, just how displeased is official Washington?

Second, Washington’s handling of Jundallah’s designation as a foreign terrorist organization remains highly suspicious.  Mark’s sources, as well as our own contacts, in the U.S. government, indicate that U.S. intelligence has had sufficient information on Jundallah to warrant its designation as a foreign terrorist organization for years. Yet, both the George W. Bush Administration and the Obama Administration refrained from doing so.  In fact, the Obama Administration reviewed the question in detail in February 2009 and again later that year.  But, while the Administration designated the Kurdish separatist group PJAK (primarily as a gesture to Turkey, although PJAK has also acted against Iran), it refused to designate Jundallah.  U.S. officials have told us that the reason was ongoing interest in maintaining Jundallah as an anti-Iranian card.  Washington only designated Jundallah in November 2010, months after Iran had captured and executed its leader.

Third, Mark’s sources say that within weeks of taking office, the Obama Administration “drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel intelligence programs targeting Iran.”  We are skeptical that this claim is correct; if the Obama Administration had taken such a decision, the Netanyahu government (which took office in 2009), would almost certainly have leaked it as a way of pressuring Washington.  But, even if the claim is correct, as the Administration was supposedly ratcheting down its anti-Iranian intelligence activities with Israel, it was ratcheting up its unilateral intelligence activities against the Islamic Republic, primarily through the U.S. military.  In May 2010, the New York Times reported on a “Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force Execute Order”, signed by then CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus in September 2009 authorizing the sending of U.S. Special Operations personnel to Iran “to gather intelligence about the country’s nuclear program” and “identify dissident groups that might be useful for a future military offensive.”

Since early in Obama’s presidency, we have criticized, see here, his initial decision to continue the anti-Iranian covert programs he inherited from President Bush, comparing his lack of strategic vision to the statesmanship of President Richard Nixon—who, on coming to the White House in 1969, ordered the CIA to stand down from a longstanding covert action program in Tibet, to show Beijing that he was serious about rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China.  For all that parts of the Obama Administration are trying to distance themselves from particularly outrageous Israeli operations, Obama’s overall policy on anti-Iranian covert action continues to head in the wrong direction.

And, in terms of distancing itself from outrageous actions, we think that the Obama Administration could very easily show its seriousness on the point.  As Paul Pillar points out, see here, “the killing of an individual foreigner overseas, if carried out for a political or policy purpose by either a non-state actor or clandestine agents of a state is an act of international terrorism”, according to U.S. law.  So, Secretary of State Clinton should announce that, if the United States identifies any group involved in caring out politically-motivated murders inside Iran, it will designate that group as a foreign terrorist organization.  Furthermore, if the United States identifies any foreign government carrying out, instigating, or facilitating politically-motivated murders inside Iran, it will designate that government as a state sponsor of terrorism.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | 13 Comments

US army chief to visit Israel over Iran

Press TV – January 15, 2012

Amid increasing threats against Iran over its nuclear program, US Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has planned to visit Israel next week.

Dempsey is scheduled to meet with Israel’s Minister of Military Affairs Ehud Barak, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, and other defense and intelligence officials on Thursday, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday.

The visit comes while American officials are “increasingly concerned that Israel is preparing to take military action against Iran,” the Wall Street Journal said on Saturday.

US President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other top officials have warned Israeli leaders about the “dire consequences of a strike,” to stop Tel Aviv’s unilateral attack against Iran.

The US has privately sought assurances from Israeli leaders in recent weeks that they won’t take military action against Iran.

But the Israeli response has been noncommittal, according to US officials.

Despite warnings to Israel, Washington is seemingly preparing for another war in the Middle East as it has stationed 15,000 troops in Kuwait and has moved the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf.

Earlier this month, Gen. Dempsey also confirmed that war plans against Iran are going ahead.

“My responsibility is to encourage the right degree of planning, to understand the risks associated with any kind of military option, in some cases to position assets, to provide those options in a timely fashion. And all those activities are going on,” he said.

Mounting pressure against Tehran came after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accused Iran of conducting activities related to developing nuclear weapons before 2003, adding that these activities “may still be ongoing.”

Iran dismissed the allegation as “unbalanced, unprofessional and prepared with political motivation and under political pressure mostly by the US.”

Iran argues that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

Clash of Civilization, Iran Part II

By Jamal Kanj – – January 14, 2011

Israel’s survival kit is: perpetuate conflict, insecurity to rationalize collective hate and finally playing victim.

Devoid of conflict, Israel implodes internally; without hate, Zionism loses its justification; and playing eternal victim to continue blackmailing the West. Absence of this holy trinity, Israel ceases to exist.

From its inception, the house of Zion has mastered exploiting adversarial powers to advance Israel’s cause. For instance, their influence over the Democratic Party in the US began with President Truman’s bid for 2nd term election in 1948.

Responding to strong opposition from Secretary of State General George Marshall and Department experts urging against recognition of Israel, President Truman replied: “I’m sorry gentlemen but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands [Jewish voters] who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of [voting] Arabs among my constituents”

Zionists influence over liberal American politics was matched with the doctrinal school of Conservative theoreticians aligning the Republican Party’s platform with Israel’s objectives. The Neoconservative Zionists, coined Zioncons, invented the “Clash of Civilization” concept to fight Israel’s wars.

Part I, was manifested by fabricating the Weapons of Mass Destruction trap dragging the US to do Israel’s job in Iraq. Henceforth, making US power subservient to Israel’s interest and driving a wedge between the West and a “feigned” Muslim world.

Notwithstanding, examining closely the contrived Clash of Civilization idiom exposes serious flaws in the Zioncon’s postulation. For the term Civilization denotes well defined camp with unique collective cultural identity. While the West is comparatively uniform, the ostensibly opposing Muslim side is comprised of multifarious diametrically opposed entities.

In fact, it was this very adversarial state and help from Muslim nations that facilitated US war against members of the same purported “Civilization.” Whereby, Iran abetted, arguably indirectly, the American incursion in Afghanistan and Iraq, while Pakistan played a vital role in the US war against Taliban.

With the Zioncon’s success in instigating US invasion in Iraq, the liberal wing of the house of Zion is reassembling its resources pursuing new a conflict, now with Iran for Clash of Civilization part II.

Perfecting the “victim and insecurity” role, the only acknowledged nuclear power in the region, Israel is dogged to waging war against Iran, a potential nuclear power. Appeasing Israel and to avert its threat of war, the US and the European Union have imposed drastic economic and financial measures to impede the development of Iran’s nuclear program.

Even absent an Israeli attack, the West’s progressive sanctions could eventually foment a regional war. Deflecting domestic pressure, Iranian leaders might make imprudent moves by projecting outwards their internal economic difficulties ensuing in military conflict with the West.

Likewise, in a tough election year, the US administration is disposed more than ever to Zionist blackmail. From following Republican primary debates, confrontation with Iran seems to be taking a front seat in the American election. Responding to electoral politics, the US is poised also to taking uncalculated steps triggering an open military conflict.

A new conflict with Iran will lapse the world’s economy into recession. The US economy cannot afford another war or unpredictable oil prices. Regional economies will retract with the deterioration of industrialized world economies. Israel as in Iraq invasion will come out as the only winner.

Meanwhile, Israel and its Sayanim (Zionist helpers in foreign countries, conservatives and liberals) will start inaugurating a new image for their next perpetual war: Clash of Civilization part III.


Jamal Kanj writes frequently on Arab World issues and the author of “Children of Catastrophe, Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America ”, Garnet Publishing, UK. Jamal’s articles can be read at, his email address is

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | Comments Off on Clash of Civilization, Iran Part II

Syrian President Issues General Amnesty for Unrest Crimes

Al-Manar | January 15, 2012

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree in which he granted amnesty for crimes committed during unrest in the country over the past 10 months.

President Bashar al-Assad issued Legislative Decree No. 10 for the year 2012, whereby a general amnesty is granted for crimes committed in the context of the events taking place since March 15, 2011 till the date of issuing the decree”, the official SANA news agency reported on Sunday.

“The decree includes the crimes related to the laws on peaceful demonstration, carrying or possessing unlicensed weapons and ammunition and draft evasion”, the agency added.

SANA has also said that no one can benefit from the decree unless he turns himself in prior to January 31st 2012.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

Japan not ready for Iran oil sanctions

Press TV – January 15, 2012

Despite an earlier pledge by Japan to join US sanctions against Iran’s oil exports, the country’s foreign minister says no final decision has been made on this issue.

Koichiro Gemba’s remarks came after Japan’s Finance Minister Jun Azumi indicated that Tokyo was falling in line with US demands to impose sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.

“The United States would like to impose sanctions. We believe it is necessary to be extremely circumspect about this matter,” Gemba told a news conference along with his visiting French counterpart, Alain Juppe.

The Japanese foreign minister said his country has reduced its dependence on Iranian crude over the last five years and Iran’s oil consignments currently make up around one-tenth of Japan’s oil imports.

“We are examining whether there is any advantage in a further reduction. But it is important to know what impact any reduction would have on the price of crude,” the Japanese minister added.

On December 31, US President Barack Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank in a bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institutions, including the purchase of the country’s crude oil.

The bill requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran’s Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner launched a tour of East Asian nations last week to convince major importers of Iranian oil, including South Korea, China, India, and Japan to cut Iran oil imports.

Geithner came away empty-handed from Beijing, which refused to join the sanctions against Iran’s oil sector.

India, which buys about USD 12 billion worth of oil from Iran a year, also said it had not told refiners to reduce supplies, while South Korea said it would ask the US to allow it not to cut imports.

The United States, however, continues mounting pressure on foreign firms to stop buying Iranian crude to force Tehran to halt its nuclear energy program.

US sanctions, as well as unilateral embargoes imposed on Iran’s energy and financial sectors by Britain and Canada came after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its latest report on Iran’s nuclear program on November 8, accusing Tehran of seeking to weaponize its nuclear technology.

Tehran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful objectives.

January 15, 2012 Posted by | Economics | Comments Off on Japan not ready for Iran oil sanctions