Iran oil ban, "economic suicide" for EU, official says

Iran oil ban, "economic suicide" for EU, official says

Iran has condemned the West's new sanction threats against the Islamic Republic, describing a European Union embargo on Iranian oil as "economic suicide" for Europe, Press TV reported.

"Executing the scenario of banning Iranian oil export to the European Union member states is undoubtedly an economic suicide for the countries in this region," Iran's OPEC governor Seyyed Mohammad Ali Khatibi said on Tuesday.

Khatibi, who was referring to the ongoing financial crisis in the eurozone, said imposing any sanctions against Iran's energy sector will aggravate the EU economic woes and make them plunge deeper into recession.

"At present, certain European countries and oil companies have banned oil purchase from Iran against their will and due to pressure from the United States and the Zionist regime [of Israel]," Khatibi stated.

"The US and some European countries should avoid adventurism in the world's oil market," he warned.

Statistic-wise, Iran has exported an average of 800,000 barrels per day to various European countries, namely France, Germany, Greece and Spain.

In mid-January, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said unnamed oil producing countries would boost their output to make up for a planned EU ban on Iranian oil.

The European bloc's foreign ministers are expected to hold a meeting on January 23 to discuss the proposed embargo on Iran's oil exports.

EU members have so far failed to reach a final agreement on such details as the exact timing of the sanctions and their diplomats say it may take months before sanctions actually enter into force given the critical economic conditions facing European countries.

On December 31, US President Barack Obama approved sanctions against Iran's Central Bank, requiring foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran's Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.

US sanctions, as well as other unilateral embargoes imposed on Iran's energy and financial sectors by Britain and Canada came after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report on Iranian nuclear program early November.

Tehran argues that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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