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Singapore defends trading firm targeted by US over Iran

US sanctions against Singapore oil trader Kuo Oil Pte Ltd are "unilateral" and "above and beyond" the curbs agreed on by the United Nations Security Council,Singapore's foreign ministry said late on Friday.

January 14, 2012 5:35 by

The United States imposed sanctions on Thursday on Kuo Oil, China’s state-run Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp and United Arab Emirates-based FAL Oil Co Ltd as part of a broadening effort to target Iran’s energy sector and persuade Tehran to rein in its nuclear ambitions.

The US action means Kuo Oil will not be allowed US export licenses, US Export Import Bank financing or loans over $10 million from US financial institutions.

“This is domestic US legislation and these are unilateral sanctions imposed by the US on individuals and companies for their dealings with Iran, which are above and beyond the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which are mandatory on all UN members,”Singapore’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

“At this juncture, we do not have sufficient information to comment on the specific case at hand. However, in general we are not in a position to enforce the laws of other countries.”

Singapore, a major Asian oil trading centre, is a staunch US ally and has sent troops to Afghanistanin support of American forces there. US aircraft carriers regularly visit the Southeast Asian city-state for supplies.

According to Singapore’s Business Times newspaper, family-run Kuo Oil is one of the city-state’s largest fuel oil traders.

It is headed by Peter Fu junior, the brother-in-law of influential businessman Ong Beng Seng whose business empire ranges from hotels to running the city-state’s annual Formula One night race. (Reporting by Kevin Lim; editing by Andre Grenon)

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