A new bill introduced late Wednesday to the US Senate aimed at strengthening Washington's sanctions against Iran could affect Asian countries that pay for Iranian crude in foreign currencies, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday.
The potential impact on Iran's main buyers of crude -- China, Japan, India, South Korea and Taiwan -- is not altogether clear, though some refiners have paid in the past for Iranian oil
in currencies that are not the countries' own.
The Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act aims to block Iran's access to billions of dollars worth of foreign exchange reserves and limit the ability of designated Iranian entities like the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to conduct transactions in foreign currencies, including euros.
With immediate effect, it would require the US president to impose sanctions on any foreign bank that "knowingly conducts or facilitates a transaction in a non-local currency for or on behalf of the CBI or any entity within the blacklisted Iranian energy, shipping, shipbuilding and port operator sectors."