LUXEMBOURG - European Union governments on Monday formally approved an embargo on Iranian oil to start on July 1, dismissing calls by Greece for possible exemptions to ease its economic problems.

Europe and the United States are using the ban to intensify pressure on Iran to scale back its nuclear program, which they say is geared to developing weapons. Iran says its nuclear works are for electricity production and other peaceful purposes only.

Greece had pushed for a delay in the implementation of the EU ban - originally drafted in January - because it relies heavily on Iranian crude oil to meet its energy needs. Tehran has offered preferential credit terms to debt-stricken Athens.

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