'Iran could ban EU oil exports next week'

Islamic Republic pushing for ban in order to deny EU 6-month phase-in of embargo on its oil, Iranian senior parliamentary official says.

By REUTERS
January 27, 2012 12:19
1 minute read.
Iran's parliament

Iran's parliament 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi)

 
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TEHRAN - A law to be debated in Iran's parliament on Sunday could halt exports of oil to the European Union as early as next week, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted a lawmaker as saying on Friday.

"On Sunday, parliament will have to approve a 'double emergency' bill calling for a halt in the export of Iranian oil to Europe starting next week," Hossein Ibrahimi, vice-chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted as saying.

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The Iranian parliament is pushing for the export ban to deny the EU a 6-month phase-in of the embargo on Iranian oil that the bloc agreed on Monday as part of a raft of tough new Western sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to curb its nuclear program.

The EU accounted for 18 percent of Iranian crude oil sales in the first half of 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), making it Iran's second biggest customer after China.

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"If the deputies arrive at the conclusion that the Iranian oil exports to Europe must be halted, the parliament will not delay a moment (in passing the bill)," Fars quoted Moayed Hosseini-Sadr, a member of parliament's energy committee, as saying.

"If Iran's oil exports to Europe, which is about 18 percent (of Iran's oil exports) is halted the Europeans will surely be taken by surprise, and will understand the power of Iran and will realize that the Islamic establishment will not succumb to the Europeans' policies," he said.

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