Iran oil ministry denies banning oil to EU

Ministry says Supreme National Security Council would announce a ban, should it happen; Iran has threatened ban in response to sanctions by EU, US aimed at stopping Iranian nuclear program.

An Iranian oil worker 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
An Iranian oil worker 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
TEHRAN - Iran's Oil Ministry denied state media reports on the Islamic state stopping its crude exports to six European countries on Wednesday.
"We deny this report ... If such a decision is made, it will be announced by Iran's Supreme National Security Council," a spokesman for the ministry told Reuters.
Earlier Wednesday, Iran's English language Press TV reported that Tehran had stopped exporting oil to France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Netherlands and Spain.
Brent crude oil prices were up $1 a barrel to $118.35 shortly after the announcement.
In January, the EU's 27 member states decided to stop importing crude from Iran starting July 1. The ban is an attempt to pressure Iran over its disputed nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building bombs. Iran denies this.
The EU's ban came after US President Barack Obama signed new sanctions into law on New Year's Eve that would block any institution dealing with Iran's central bank from the US financial system.
If fully implemented, these measures will make it impossible for countries to buy Iranian oil.
Iran's oil minister said on February 4 that the Islamic state would certainly cut its oil exports to "some" European countries.
"Our oil exports will certainly be cut to some European countries ... We will decide about other European countries later," Qasemi told a news conference, IRNA reported.
However, analysts say the global oil market would not be greatly affected if Iran were to turn off the oil tap to Europe.