EU to decide on sanctions
Photo: Shutterstock
British Foreign Secretary William Hague
Photo: EPA
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Avi Peretz

Report: EU set to agree on Iran oil embargo

European ambassadors to decide Thursday whether to impose set of grave sanctions on Islamic Republic

A meeting of European ambassadors in Brussels on Thursday is expected to decide whether the EU will impose an oil embargo on Iran later this year, The Guardian reported Wednesday, citing diplomats.


According to the report, the majority opinion within the EU favors a plan brought forth by the Danish government, the acting EU president, which asserts that the embargo should be implemented on July 1. The plans also calls on the EU to review the decision closer to the date in light of conditions in the oil market and developments in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.


Related articles:


As per the proposal, no new oil purchase contracts could be signed with Iran in the meantime.

קידוח איראני במפרץ. מגזר האנרגיה על הכוונת האירופית (צילום: EPA)

Iran's oil industry caught in crosshairs (Photo: EPA) 


The set of sanctions that are being discussed would also freeze the European assets of Iran's central bank, with some exceptions that would be decided on a case-by-case basis. On Thursday, ambassadors to the EU are expected to finalize an agreement on the issue, although the ultimate decision could be postponed until Monday if states voice objection to the plan.


Iran wants to restart talks

Meanwhile, Iran said on Wednesday it was in touch with big powers to reopen talks, but the EU denied this. Britain said Tehran would have to show it was serious if it wanted to avoid more EU sanctions over suspicions it is seeking nuclear weapons.


Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, used for a third of the world's seaborne oil trade, if it cannot sell its own crude, fanning fears of a descent into war in the Gulf that could inflame the Middle East.

שר החוץ האיראני סאלחי: "כנראה שהשיחות יהיו באיסטנבול" (צילום: רויטרס) 

Salehi: Talks to be held in Turkey (Photo: Reuters)


Iranian politicians said US President Barack Obama had expressed readiness to negotiate in a letter to Tehran, a step that might relieve tensions behind recent oil price spikes.


"Negotiations are going on about venue and date. We would like to have these negotiations," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters during a visit to Turkey.


"Most probably, I am not sure yet, the venue will be Istanbul. The day is not yet settled, but it will be soon."


A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, representing the six powers, denied there were any fresh discussions with the Islamic Republic to organize a meeting.


"There are no negotiations under way on new talks," he said in Brussels. "We are still waiting for Iran to respond to the substantive proposals the High Representative (Ashton) made in her letter from October." Iran has yet to respond formally.


British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Iran had to be ready for serious negotiations. "It is significant that when we are discussing additional sanctions in the European Union an offer of negotiations emerges from Iran," he said.


"We will not be deterred from imposing additional sanctions simply by the suggestion there may be negotiations. We want to see actual negotiations," he told a news conference in Brazil.


"In the absence of such meaningful negotiations, of course, the pressure for greater peaceful but legitimate pressure will continue," he said.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is visiting the Netherlands, urged the EU to impose the discussed sanctions, including the oil embargo and the central bank freeze, as soon as possible. "A nuclear Iran is dangerous for Israel, the region and the world," he said.


Reuters contributed to the report




פרסום ראשון: 01.19.12, 00:37
 new comment
This will delete your current comment