Iran has banned crude oil and gas exports to the European Union (EU) in retaliation for the 27-nation bloc’s embargo on the Iranian energy sector. “Exports of crude oil, [natural] gas liquids (NGL) and gas condensate to the European countries which have taken hostile stances on Iran will be halted until further notice,” Oil Ministry Spokesman Alireza Nikzad-Rahbar said Sunday.
He added that these “preemptive sanctions” against European countries would remain in place so long as they refuse to abandon their hostile policies against Iran and adopt logical positions instead.Nikzad-Rahbar said despite tougher EU and US sanctions having been imposed nearly a year ago, Iran’s crude oil exports have not been halted. “[On the contrary], new contracts have been signed with different international companies for exporting and selling crude oil and gas condensate.” The Iranian official stressed that Iran’s Oil Ministry had asked oil buyers not to re-export the oil they purchase from Islamic Republic to European countries. At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. The sanctions came into force in early summer 2012. On October 15, 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran. The illegal US-engineered sanctions have been imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. KA/HGH/SS