European Union embargo on crude useless, Tehran claims

European Union embargo on crude useless, Tehran claims

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
European Union embargo on crude useless, Tehran claims

Iran can easily find non-European customers for its crude oil, according to officials.

Iran has claimed that a European Union embargo on its oil, scheduled to begin in July, will fail to become effective as the OPEC’s second largest crude producer will easily replace the Western market with new buyers.

“Iran can easily find new customers for its oil,” senior oil ministry official Mohsen Qamsari was quoted by the semiofficial Mehr news agency as saying. “The National Iranian Oil Company has adopted the necessary measures to replace its oil exports in 2012.”

“The world economy is not such that a decision can deprive a country of its existence,” the country’s Intelligence Chief Heidar Moslehi was quoted yesterday by the state IRNA news agency as saying, the Associated Press said. 

“Ineffective Western sanctions are not a threat to us, but an opportunity that has brought a lot of benefits,” Moslehi said at a gathering in the central city of Isfahan late Jan. 23.

The “benefits,” he said, were that Iran was becoming self-sufficient instead of relying on the outside world to meet all its needs.

Oil prices fall

Oil prices retreated yesterday as Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March fell 53 cents to $110.05 a barrel in London midday deals. New York’s main contract West Texas Intermediate crude for March lost 39 cents to $99.19 a barrel.

Iran exports nearly 18 percent of its oil to Europe. The EU bloc imported 600,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil in the first 10 months of last year, making it a key market alongside India and China, refusing to bow to pressure from Washington to dry up Iran’s oil revenues.

EU bans Bank Tejarat

The EU has included Iran’s state-owned Bank Tejarat among the entities it is blacklisting to raise pressure on Tehran, according to an EU document published yesterday, Reuters reported. 

The EU said Bank Tejarat had directly facilitated Iran’s nuclear efforts. Bank Tejarat also has a history of helping designated Iranian banks circumvent international sanctions, the EU said. 

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, meanwhile, said yesterday his country would follow the EU in banning Iranian oil. “The actions taken in Brussels yesterday on sanctions by the European Union, we in Australia will undertake precisely the same parallel action for Australia.” 

Iran summoned the Danish envoy, whose nation currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, after the EU’s embargo decision.

A statement carried by official media said the Iranian deputy foreign minister in charge of Europe and American affairs, Ali Asghar Khaji, had expressed Tehran’s “strong protest to this illogical decision” in his meeting with the envoy Anders Christian Hougaard.