BRUSSELS - A ban on Iranian oil imports to press Tehran to abandon its
nuclear activity would not be a problem for the European Union as
supplies could always been bought elsewhere, the EU's energy
EU countries have been discussing a further extension of sanctions on
Iran over its nuclear program and France has been pushing for this to
include a ban on imports of Iranian oil.
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Asked if such an embargo would hurt EU energy security, EU Energy
Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Reuters: "This is not a problem. It
can be substituted by OPEC and others."
The United States stopped buying Iranian crude in the 1990s, but there
is less appetite elsewhere in the West for the French proposal of a
wider import ban, with British sources saying that London's latest
sanctions were not meant to target oil.
The European Union agreed in principle on Tuesday to extend its sanctions
on Iran to some 200 more Iranian people, companies and organizations,
adding to measures imposed by the United States, Britain and Canada due
to suspicions that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran has dismissed the latest sanctions, saying such steps would only
intensify Iranian popular support for a nuclear program it insists is
solely for peaceful purposes.
On Tuesday the head of the National Iranian Oil Company said he had no
fear of losing EU markets and that Iranian exports to the European Union
were relative small, with other countries were willing to buy.