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EU joins US: bans oil imports from Iran and imposes further economic sanctions

Monday, January 23rd 2012 - 23:39 UTC
Full article 6 comments
Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and strike group entered the Gulf crossing Hormuz Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and strike group entered the Gulf crossing Hormuz

The European Union banned imports of oil from Iran on Monday and imposed a number of other economic sanctions, joining the United States in a new round of measures aimed at deflecting Tehran’s nuclear development program.

In Iran, one politician responded by renewing a threat to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, an oil exporting route vital to the global economy, and another said Tehran should cut off oil to the EU immediately.

That might hurt Greece, Italy and other ailing economies which depend heavily on Iranian crude and, as a result, won as part of the EU agreement a grace period until July 1 before the embargo takes full effect.

A day after a US aircraft carrier, accompanied by a flotilla that included French and British warships, made a symbolically loaded voyage into the Gulf in defiance of Iranian hostility, the widely expected EU sanctions move was likely to set off further bellicose rhetoric in an already tense region.

Some analysts say Iran, which denies accusations that it is seeking nuclear weapons, could be in a position to make them next year. So, with Israel warning it could use force to prevent that happening, the row over Tehran’s plans is an increasingly pressing challenge for world leaders, not least US President Barack Obama as he campaigns for re-election in November.

Meeting in Brussels, foreign ministers from the 27-state EU, which as a bloc is Iran’s second-biggest customer for crude after China, agreed to an immediate ban on all new contracts to import, purchase or transport Iranian crude oil and petroleum products. However, EU countries with existing contracts to buy oil and petroleum products can honour them up to July 1.

EU officials said they also agreed to freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank and ban trade in gold and other precious metals with the bank and state bodies.

Along with US sanctions imposed on Dec. 31, the Western powers hope choking exports and hence funding can force Iran’s leaders to agree to curbs on a nuclear programme the West says is intended to yield weapons.

On Sunday carrier USS Abraham Lincoln completed a “regular and routine” passage through the strait, “as previously scheduled and without incident,” said Lieutenant Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the US Fifth Fleet.

The Lincoln, accompanied by strike group of warships, was the first US aircraft carrier to enter the Gulf since late December and was on a routine rotation to replace the outgoing USS John C. Stennis.

The departure of the Stennis prompted Iranian army Chief Ataollah Salehi to threaten action if the carrier passed back into the Gulf.

“I recommend and emphasize to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf. ... We are not in the habit of warning more than once,” he said.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • triskaidecaph

    This is an interesting map where you can see wich countries are the importers of Iranian's petroleum.

    Jan 24th, 2012 - 12:08 am 0
  • Fido Dido

    very interesting map. Great info.

    1 this is a win for the US who wants to committing suicide and brougt successfully the EU into that “game”.
    2 this is a win for China, India, Japan, South Korea, South Africa who do not play that “game” will have more access to Iranian oil while the nations in the EU that are in trouble are shooting themself in their feet.
    3 The Chinks are laughing their ass off but also warned the US and EU, make the problem worse and you'll have a problem with me. Russia is with China on that “game”.
    4 The US with the EU need a war to distract it's people from it's problem. Will it work? I know it won't work but there will be chumps who will back them for “patriotic” reasons and who are on the bandwagon of “yeah, kill those arabs”. Those chumps don't know the difference between Arabs and PERSIANS. Yes they exist in the age of access to knowledge as much closer than before. Now the US blames Iran for 9/11. Can you believe that crap? increddible.
    5 Anyway, they want war and we know who's going to be the loser(s). Yep the world is changing fast.

    Jan 24th, 2012 - 04:02 am 0
  • geo

    importing oil from Iran countries list


    China ... 543.000
    India ... 341.000
    Japan ... 251.000
    Italy ... 249.000
    S.Korea ... 239.000
    Turkey ... 217.000
    Spain ... 149.000
    Greece ... 111.000
    S.Africa ... 98.000
    France ... 78.000
    EU(total) ... 510.000

    Jan 24th, 2012 - 02:52 pm 0
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