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European Union diplomats announced they would place an embargo on Iranian oil, although they don't know when it will go into effect.
The European Union has reached a preliminary agreement to ban imports of Iranian oil, but Iran says it will find its way around this embargo, Reuters reported.
Although the US has agreed to the embargo against Iranian crude oil, the European governments have yet to decide when it will be put into place, diplomats said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. According to the Wall Street Journal, diplomats have disagreed over when the embargo will take place and how to handle existing contracts. But Tehran countered that the loss of the EU isn’t a threat to them.
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"We could very easily replace those customers," S. M. Qamsari, International Director of the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) told Reuters over the phone. He said the expected shipments would remain unchanged this year and the number of contracts wouldn’t be affected.
"We've got very high demand from our lifters, so we have the same quantity (just above 2.3 million bpd) in our term contracts," Qamsari said, Reuters reported. Some new customers to make up for the EU could come from China, other Asian countries and Africa.
EU foreign ministers will announce harsher sanction on Iran’s energy industry and central bank at their next meeting on January 30, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.
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“We want to tighten sanctions on Iran -- the things that have been mentioned are the oil sector and the financial sector,” EU spokesman Michael Mann told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
On Wednesday, a Greek government source told Dow Jones Newswires that Greece wouldn’t stop the oil embargo, the WSJ reported. Greece has been the key opponent in an embargo against Iranian oil.
About 30 percent of Iran’s oil streams west of Suez, and more than half of that volume is shipped in Europe, Qamsari told Reuters. The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom called for stricter sanctions on Iran in November due to a United Nation’s report about the country’s nuclear program. President Barack Obama hopes to end Iran’s pursuit of the program by imposing tougher sanctions that could hurt its oil exports, Reuters reported.
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