Iran: EU 'definitely' will not impose oil sanctions

Europe will not risk harming global crude market, Iranian oil minister says; follows calls from EU leaders to develop new sanctions.

An Iranian oil worker 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
An Iranian oil worker 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
TEHRAN - Iran said on Sunday the European Union "definitely" will not impose sanctions on the country's oil exports as the measure will harm the global crude market, the Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said.
"Our policy is sustainable supply of oil to Europe ... Iran is a major oil producer and any sanctions on our oil export will definitely harm the global market," Qasemi told a news conference.
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EU leaders called on Friday for more sanctions against Iran by the end of January, in an effort to increase pressure on Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.
Last week, EU foreign ministers agreed to develop new sanctions on Iran's energy, transport and banking sectors. Diplomats said a ban on imports of Iranian oil into Europe was under discussion.
Iranian authorities say the sanctions have had no impact on Iran's economy and have defied the UN Security Council's demands to halt the country's sensitive nuclear work.
Iran is OPEC's number two oil producer, exporting 2.6 million barrels a day.
"We have no problem to find a replacement for the EU oil market and we can easily replace the European market," Qasemi said.
France, backed by Germany and Britain, has led the push to ban its crude, but some states, notably Greece, have expressed reservations because of their reliance on Iranian oil.