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Tehran 'ready to impose oil ban' on Europeans

February 7, 2012 10:17

Parliamentarian says move in retaliation to "Zionist-backed" sanctions imposed by EU countries.

Iranians burn US flag [file]

Iranians burn US flag 311 R. (photo credit:Reuters)

TEHRAN - Iran's parliament said on Tuesday it was ready to impose a ban on oil exports to some European states, the country's English-language Press TV reported.

"In retaliation to the Zionist (Israel)-backed measure of the European countries to ban Iran oil, we are ready to impose a ban on oil exports to some European countries," lawmaker Mohammad Javad Karimi-Qoddusi said.

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The European Union accounted for a quarter of Iranian crude oil sales in the third quarter of 2011.

Also Tuesday, Iran rejected as a "antagonistic" a tightening of US sanctions that targets the Islamic state's central bank and gives US banks new powers to freeze assets linked to the Iranian government.

"It is an antagonistic move... a psychological war which has no impact... There is nothing new, it has been going on for over 30 years," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a weekly news conference.

"Sanctions will not have any impact on our nuclear course."

The move, in an executive order signed by President Barack Obama, was the latest measure to target the Central Bank of Iran, and was intended to close loopholes in existing sanctions Tehran has faced.

Tension with the West rose last month when Washington and the European Union imposed the toughest sanctions yet on Iran in a bid to force it to provide more information on its nuclear program. The measures are aimed at shutting off the second-biggest OPEC oil exporters' sales of crude.

Tightening international sanctions against Iran look set to push up inflation and further erode its currency. Few areas of Iran's economy remain untouched by the sanctions.

In a letter to Congress, Obama said Iranian banks were hiding transactions to undercut the financial sanctions the United States and other powers have imposed in response to Iran's nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building bombs.

Iran says it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity and not to build bombs.

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