Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Iran shrugs EU oil ban, looks to Asia

Al Akhbar, Reuters, AFP | January 5, 2012

Iran shrugged off the impact of new European and American sanctions targeting its oil sector a day after EU governments agreed to move ahead with an oil embargo on Tehran.

The National Iranian Oil Company said demand was so high for Iranian oil that it would have no trouble selling it elsewhere.

“We hope that Iran’s oil is not sanctioned officially but if so we have taken the needed arrangements,” the company’s director of international affairs, Mohsen Qamsari, was quoted as saying in a report on Iran’s oil ministry website.

The 27-nation European Union struck “an agreement in principle” to ban Iranian oil imports on Wednesday, according to an EU diplomat in Brussels.

Negotiations were ongoing to determine when the ban should start, though France is pushing for an announcement at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting at the end of January.

Objections to an EU oil embargo on Iran were reportedly dropped, most notably by Greece, which relies heavily on Iranian oil imports and fears repercussions on its debt-ridden economy.

Details of reassurances that won Greece’s support for the sanctions were not disclosed.

Washington welcomed the EU’s decision to press ahead with new sanctions on Iran.

“These (EU measures) are the kinds of steps that we would like to see not just from our close allies and partners in places like Europe but from countries around the world,” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

“We do believe that this is consistent with tightening the noose on Iran economically,” she said. “We think that the place to get Iran’s attention is with regard to its oil sector.”

Iran exports about 18 percent of its oil to the European Union, making the bloc the second-biggest destination after China. Oil revenues make up 80 percent of Iran’s foreign currency earnings.

But four of Iran’s top five oil export destinations are in Asia, giving weight to claims by Iran’s leaders and its oil company that it can easily offset an EU ban by simply shifting exports to Asia.

Japan and Turkey are seeking US waivers that would still enable them to import oil from OPEC’s second largest oil producer.

To that end, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will travel to China and Japan next week to discuss sanctions “coordination,” but a deal with Tokyo is unlikely to be achieved, a Japanese government source speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters.

Beijing on Wednesday said it opposed “unilateral sanctions” against Iran. But Washington is hoping that, at the very least, China will extract deep discounts if it continues to buy Iranian oil. … Full article

January 5, 2012 - Posted by | Economics

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: