Friday, February 24, 2012

Oil prices in euro soar over Iran’s sales cut to EU

On February 19, Iran’s Oil Ministry announced it had cut oil exports to British and French firms

Source: Press TV

In the wake of Iran’s decision to halt oil exports to some European countries, oil prices, valued in euros, have hit a record high, dealing a severe blow to the eurozone’s debt-ridden countries.

Brent oil jumped to 93.60 euros per barrel on Thursday, beating the 2008's pre-financial crisis price of 93.46 euros.

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens heavily-indebted countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain.

In New York on Thursday, light sweet crude for delivery in April, rose 64 cents to more than USD 108 per barrel, while the North Sea Brent crude for April delivery gained 60 cents to over USD 124 in morning trade.

The hike in oil prices comes on the heels of a report by Press TV last week that Iran would cut its oil exports to six European Union states, if they fail to sign long-term deals with Tehran.

Later on Sunday, Iran’s Oil Ministry announced that it had cut oil exports to British and French firms in line with the decision to stop the crude sales to six European states.

The move comes as Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi had earlier hinted at the possibility of Iran’s halting oil exports to certain European countries.

Meanwhile, the world's largest oil trader, Vitol, has warned that crude prices could spike above USD 150 per barrel if tensions with Iran escalate further.

EU foreign ministers agreed to ban oil imports from Iran on January 23 and to freeze the assets of the Iranian Central Bank across the EU in a bid to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.

Despite the widely publicized claims by the US, Israel and some of their European allies that Iran's nuclear program may include a military aspect, Tehran insists its nuclear work is civilian in nature.

Iran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, but has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted towards nuclear weapons production.

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