Iran halts crude oil sales to France and UK

Iran suspended crude oil exports to the UK and France, according to Iranian oil ministry spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad.

Iran halts crude oil sales to France and UK
Iran suspended crude oil exports to the UK and France, according to Iranian oil ministry spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad.

"The export of crude oil for British and French companies has been suspended," Nikzad said, in remarks carried by Iran's Shana oil news agency.

Nikzad recalled that Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi had previously announced the possibility of suspending oil exports to some European countries, following the new financial and oil sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union on 23 January.

On the other hand, he assured that Iran has no problem exporting its oil and said that his ministry "has considered alternative customers for the sale of crude oil instead of UK and French companies".

The Iranian Foreign Ministry's director general for Western Europe, Hasan Tayik, met with the ambassadors of Spain, Italy, France, Greece, the Netherlands and Portugal on Wednesday to inform them of new contract conditions and demand payment guarantees.

In a statement after the meetings, Tayik said: "The Europeans should know that if Iran changes the destination of the crude oil it sends to them, the responsibility will lie with their own governments," referring to new punitive oil and financial measures imposed by the EU on Tehran to pressure it to suspend its nuclear programme.

"Sanctions cannot affect the Iranians, but they will have an adverse effect on the European population, which is in a difficult economic situation and faces a harsh winter," the Iranian official added.

For him, "Iran cannot remain indifferent to an EU oil embargo", to whose countries it sells around 20 per cent of the 3.6 million barrels of crude oil it exports per day, and "would have no problem finding new customers".

Last Wednesday, Iran announced new conditions for oil sales to European countries, in a decision that created political turmoil and pushed up oil prices on the international market.

Confusion spread after the official English-language PressTV claimed that the Iranian foreign ministry had summoned EU ambassadors accredited to Tehran to inform them of the suspension of crude oil sales.

Subsequently, the Iranian Foreign Ministry denied that exports had been cut off, while the Spanish ambassador to Iran, Pedro Villena, told EFE in Tehran that the meeting was about the sanctions imposed by the EU-27 on Iran, including the oil embargo, but that at no time were they informed of the interruption of crude oil exports. EFECOM

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