Iran asks EU to reconsider sanctions on oil exports

Iran asks EU to reconsider sanctions on oil exports
# 19 April 2012 19:55 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi on Thursday asked the European Union (EU) to reconsider its sanctions on the Islamic republic’s oil exports, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"If Europeans don’t cancel the oil sanctions, it will, for sure, have grave impacts on the energy market especially on the energy security," Qasemi said Thursday on the sidelines of an international oil show in Tehran.

EU leaders approved in January the latest raft of restrictive measures on Iran’s oil exports over the country’s controversial nuclear program. The sanctions are expected to come into force on July 1.

"We are waiting for good news (from the Europeans) and the Europeans’ response to Iran in Baghdad will be important for the oil market," said the Iranian oil minister.

The Iraqi capital of Baghdad will host the next round of nuclear talks on May 23 between Iran and the world powers. The dialogue is expected to bear fruit in resolving the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi on Monday suggested the five UN Security Council permanent members -- the United States, France, Russia, China, and Britain -- plus Germany (P5+1) lift sanctions against Tehran before the next round of nuclear talks in Baghdad.

Talking to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Salehi said that "If the West wants to build trust (in the process of resolving Iran’s nuclear issue), they’d better start from (lifting) sanctions since this will speed up the process of coming to terms. "

"It is true that the process of lifting sanction may be long, but there is no reason to make it longer," he was quoted as saying.

"If there is a good will, this process can be crossed very easily and we are ready to settle all the issues very quickly and easily even in Baghdad meeting," Salehi said.

On Wednesday, Salehi said that he was hopeful about the results of the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and P5+1 in Baghdad.

As a gesture of compromise with EU countries, Qasemi said Thursday that the Islamic republic has only stopped oil exports to France and Britain and has kept its crude oil exports to other EU countries.

Qasemi’s remarks come as a contradiction to earlier local reports that Iran had extended the cut of its oil exports to more EU states.

On April 11, Iranian satellite Press TV reported that Iran cut oil exports to Germany. The announcement came one day after Iran said that it had halted crude oil sales to Spain as part of preemptive measures to counter sanctions endorsed earlier by the EU.

Quoting Qasemi, local media also reported last week that Iran had already stopped oil exports to Greece.

Rejecting earlier reports by Iranian local media, Qasemi said at a press conference on Thursday that Iran is continuing its crude exports to other EU countries and has extended its contracts with some of them.

"We are awaiting further news and Europeans’ (future) approach towards Iran’s exports will be important," Qasemi added.

Also, Manager of International Affairs of Iran’s National Oil Company Mohsen Qamsari said Iran has not stopped oil exports to Greece and Spain, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported Wednesday.

"So far, we haven’t received any order to stop Iran’s crude exports to Greece and Spain," Qamsari said.

Asked about earlier reports quoting the Iranian oil minister about the oil export cuts to Greece and Spain, Qamsari said, "This is not true."

"Iran’s Oil Ministry has just halted oil sales to Britain and France," he was quoted as saying.