South Korea increased its crude oil imports from Iran despite international pressure to do otherwise as part of sanctions on Tehran’s budding nuclear programme.

A two-day talk in Baghdad was held between six world powers and Tehran to negotiate on concessions and possible suspension of EU’s insurance ban which will take effect in July. However, the talks made no progress after Iran refused to give their side of the bargain.

South Korea pushed for a waiver from the sanctions given to foreign banks handling Iranian trade who have “significantly reduced” their imports, similar to the one Japan has already received. South Korea’s oil imports rose to 42% in April from 22% in the previous quarter. Korea National oil Corp defended the development, saying that imports will compensate for the coming months before the insurance ban in July.

Seoul is negotiating with the EU on a possible suspension of the insurance ban, claiming the country will reduce imports from Iran and turn to other countries in the Middle East including Kuwait and Qatar to circumvent shortages. South Korea’s main importers of crude, SK Group and Hyundai Oilbank, will halt oil imports once the EU insurance ban is in effect.