EU agrees to impose oil embargo on Iran
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
The Iranian flag flies over the Iranian embassy in London, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. AP PhotoEuropean Union nations agreed Monday to slap an oil embargo against Iran's oil exports in a bid to halt funding of the country's disputed nuclear programme, EU diplomats said.
"There is a political agreement on an oil embargo," said a diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity after early morning talks between ambassadors of the 27 EU nations held before the opening of a foreign ministers' meeting.
The deal is to be formally approved by the EU ministers during their one-day talks.
The compromise agreement, which follows weeks of difficult talks, provides for an immediate ban on importing Iranian crude and a gradual phase-out of existing contracts between now and July 1.
Greece had initially asked for a transition period of up to a year, or even more, and intensive talks have been going on for weeks to find alternative sources and resolve the issue.
Iran sells around 20 percent of its crude to EU nations, with Greece, Spain and Italy the top buyers.