The company, which runs the fifth biggest refinery in the country and buys about 100,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil per day, has sent a delegation to Tehran to seal a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) over the 2012 contract. On February 20, the Japanese company announced that it will continue to import crude from Iran despite the Western sanctions against the Iranian oil sector. Showa Shell said it will continue to import about 100,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil despite mounting pressure from the United States to cut Iran oil imports. Iran is the fourth-biggest crude supplier to Japan and the Iranian crude accounted for 8.8 percent of total Japanese imports in 2011. Also in February, Tokyo\'s Ambassador to Tehran Kinichi Kumano stated that \"Iran has always been and will always remain a vital source of energy for Japan.\" The Japanese government and private firms are seeking a waiver from the US economic sanctions against Iran, Kumano told FNA at the time. \"The status quo will have to change so that the interests of both Iran and Japan are fulfilled,\" he noted.