Iran's Ferdowsi oilfield in the Persian Gulf
Source: Press TV
Foreign ministers from the European Union have agreed to impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports, European diplomats have confirmed.
The ministers met in Brussels on Monday to step up pressure on Tehran over its peaceful nuclear energy program.
Details of the sanctions are to be announced later, but it is said that a ban on all crude oil exports from Iran to the EU will take effect in five months, on July 1.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague "welcomed" the new oil sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
"The UK has been looking for an unprecedented set of sanctions and that is what we have agreed," Hague said.
Iran's oil accounts for more than one-third of Greece's total oil imports, 15 percent of Spain's and over 12 percent of Italy's.
The EU has also imposed a ban on the sale of gold, diamonds, and other precious metals to Iran.
The anti-Iran measure has drawn immediate reaction from Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected unilateral sanctions against Iran, saying the sanctions would be "unhelpful."
"Unilateral sanctions do not help matters," Lavrov said on Monday. "We will restrain everyone from making harsh moves. We will seek the resumption of negotiations.
Tehran has warned that the embargo will have negative consequences, increasing the oil price.