Friday, January 27, 2012

Iran will stop EU oil exports this week

Iran could halt its oil exports to Europe as early as next week.

Source: Press TV

A senior Iranian lawmaker says Majlis (parliament) will discuss a bill in the coming week which seeks to cut off Iran's oil exports to Europe.

Deputy head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Hossein Ebrahimi said on Friday that Iranian lawmakers would debate a “double-urgency” bill on Sunday which calls for the ban of oil exports to Europe as early as next week.

The move comes after EU foreign ministers reached an agreement in Brussels on Monday to impose sanctions on oil imports from Iran as of July 1. The sanctions involve an immediate ban on all new oil contracts with the Islamic Republic and freezing the assets of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) within the EU.

The Majlis motion would deny Europe the six-month phase-in period that the bloc has considered to adjust and find alternative sources to Iran's crude.

The recent EU sanctions on Iranian oil are merely a “psychological warfare,” as the 27-member bloc is delaying the implementation of the embargoes under various pretexts, Ebrahimi added.

“Europe is uncertain about enforcing these sanctions and seeks to project [its own woes] and manipulate public opinion,” the lawmaker said.

The EU accounted for 18 percent of Iranian crude oil sales in the first half of 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), making it Iran's second biggest customer after China.

The EU sanctions came after US President Barack Obama signed into law fresh unilateral economic embargoes against the Central Bank of Iran on New Year's Eve in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution. The bill ultimately takes aim at Iran's oil revenue.

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 push for the imposition of four rounds of UN sanctions and a series of unilateral embargoes 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, it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.

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