A senior Russian lawmaker warns against the adverse consequences of soaring oil prices in global markets, saying sanctions on Iran's oil industry will harm the European Union (EU) the most.
“Higher oil prices will seriously affect EU member states,” Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Energy Yury Lipatov told IRNA on Thursday.
Many European countries are suffering a deep economic and financial crisis, he said, adding that an increase in oil prices as a result of Iran embargo would certainly exacerbate their problems.
Tensions with Iran aimed at isolating the country is the main reason behind higher oil prices in international markets, Lipatov pointed out.
He called on countries to refrain from politicizing issues pertaining to economy and energy to avert its repercussions.
Oil prices have shot up in recent months in the wake of Iran’s decision to halt its crude sales to certain European countries in response to the EU oil embargo on Tehran.
On Thursday, Iran terminated oil sales to two major Greek firms -- Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil Hellas-- over their failure to pay for their crude purchases from Tehran.
Iran has already cut oil exports to France and Britain in retaliation for the Western-led sanctions on its oil industry.
On January 23, EU foreign ministers approved sanctions against Tehran, including a ban on Iranian oil imports, a freeze on the assets of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) within the bloc’s states and a ban on selling diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to Tehran.
The EU sanctions are meant to coerce Iran into abandoning its nuclear energy program and based on allegations that Tehran's civilian energy program may be a cover for acquiring nuclear weapons capability.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.