Iranian officials claimed a victory over the U.S. Wednesday, saying the superpower backed down with its decision to not penalize 11 countries that have bought Iranian oil.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a day earlier that Japan and 10 European Union countries would be spared from economic sanctions to be imposed by the U.S. because they had cut back significantly on their imports of Iranian oil.
Iranian officials portrayed the exemptions as a win for Iran, despite the fact that the countries were explicitly exempted because they had begun weaning themselves off Iranian oil. Fars News headlined its story on the sanctions, “U.S.A. backs down against Iran.”