Swiss-based Petroplus refinery
Source: Press TV
The head of Italy's refiners' lobby says the European Union (EU) embargo on the Iranian oil sector will lead to a speedy closure of about 70 European refineries.
“Italy already risks the closure of five refineries and at a European level we're talking about 70 possible shutdowns,” Piero De Simone, general manager of Unione Petrolifera, told Bloomberg.
He expressed concern over the unilateral sanctions on the Islamic Republic, saying the embargo will help the Asian oil importers will thus be more powerful to undercut their European competitors.
"Asian countries not applying the embargo could buy the Iranian oil at a discount and sell cheap refined products back to us," Piero De Simone said.
The Iranians will have to unload their production somewhere and “I'm sure they'll find buyers,” he said.
In their latest meeting in Brussels on January 23, EU foreign ministers imposed new sanctions on Iran which include a ban on purchasing oil from the country, a freeze on the assets of Iran's Central Bank within the EU, and a ban on the sale of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to Iran.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to impose four rounds of international embargos and a series of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has a right to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.