EU governments consider delay on any Iran oil ban

January 6, 2012 13:26

BRUSSELS - A European Union embargo on Iranian crude oil imports could take a few months to come into effect because of a push by some EU capitals for a delay that they say is necessary to shield their debt-stricken economies, EU diplomats said on Friday.

EU capitals have agreed in principle to an embargo on Iranian oil, part of Western efforts to ratchet up pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program. Details of how the ban would be imposed are under discussion in Brussels, with the goal of having a final decision by the end of the month.

Diplomats said EU capitals have proposed what's being called a 'grace period' on existing contracts of one to 12 months. Greece, which depends heavily on Iranian crude, is pushing for the longest delay, they said.

Britain, France, the Netherlands and Germany want a maximum grace period of three months, the diplomats said.

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