South Korea will suspend imports of crude from Iran when an EU ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil comes into effect on 1 July. Seoul is the first Asian government to announce the suspension on imports ahead of the ban.

The insurance ban is part of the EU-US strategy to starve Iran of oil revenues as Western powers pressure the Middle Eastern country to give up its nuclear programme.

Most of South Korea’s Iranian oil imports have been replaced by crude from Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE, with some still to be covered by spot market deals, a government official told reporters in Seoul.

According to Reuters, Japan will provide sovereign debts for Iranian shipments, while China and India has asked Iran to arrange shipping and insurance for deliveries.