Thursday, 26 April 2012

Iran: EU oil ban review

A senior EU official said the Union may review in the next two months an embargo on Iranian oil imports that is scheduled to take effect from 1 July. The official, who has not been identified, told Reuters that for now there was no economic reason to change the ban. EU member states had agreed to review the embargo plan as early as this month because of concerns over its potential impact on global crude oil prices and the difficulty countries such as Greece face in finding alternative supplies.

But the review has now been postponed until May or June. 'So far, Greece has come back to us saying that for the time being they seem to be able to handle the situation,' the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'They asked for the possibility of coming back to this in May or maybe June. The situation in oil markets is being kept under close review and, if necessary, we will come back to this.'

The official did not say whether the change to the review schedule was linked to ongoing talks with Tehran over its nuclear programme. Tehran expects EU oil sanctions to be removed if the next round of nuclear negotiations in Baghdad produces positive results. Petroleum Minister Rostam Qasemi went on the record that if the sanctions are not removed in the next round, Iran will stop selling oil to EU customers with immediate effect.

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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