The European Union on Monday confirmed its earlier approved oil embargo on Iran over its disputed nuclear program. The ban will come into force on July 1 as initially planned.
After reviewing the measures at a meeting held in Luxemburg, EU foreign ministers said in a statement that the EU sanctions against Iran would be applied on July 1 as decided earlier and the measures would remain as approved in January.
According to the statement, contracts by EU member nations for importing Iranian oil, which were concluded before January 23, will have to be terminated by 1 July. EU insurers must not provide third-party liability and environmental liability insurance for the transport of Iranian oil from July 1.
"This latest package of sanctions against Iran was adopted in January 2012 and targets the Iranian nuclear program and its sources of finance. The measures were taken in relation to the EU's serious concerns over Iran's nuclear program," the statement said.
Notably, all of the 27 EU members-states had banned new Iranian oil imports from January 23 and agreed to phase out their existing purchase contracts by July 1.
"The objective of the EU remains to achieve a comprehensive, long-term settlement on the basis of meaningful negotiations" between the six world powers and Iran on the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program.
The development comes after last week's intensive talks in Moscow between Iran and the six world powers ended without any breakthroughs. Nonetheless, it was agreed that expert meetings would be held in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul on July 3, followed by lower-level meetings.
Tehran claims that its uranium enrichment program is aimed at producing fuel for a medical reactor in the national capital. Tehran also insists it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes as it is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the IAEA.
The West had been trying to persuade Iran to halt enriching uranium to 20 percent level, which can be used for making nuclear weapons, and allow UN nuclear inspectors to verify the so-claimed peaceful intentions of the Islamic Republic's nuclear work. In return, west has offered to supply medical isotopes and provide co-operation on nuclear safety.
Although Iran insists that its nuclear activity is intended for peaceful civilian purposes, the West suspects the claim to be a cover up for the country's nuclear weapon ambitions. Iran had already survived four sets of sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council following its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
The United States and its allies, have imposed separate sanctions on Teheran after a report released by the IAEA in November cautioned that Iran may be planning to develop nuclear weapons.
The US sanctions include those signed into law by President Barack Obama in December with the intention of crippling Iran's oil revenue, the main source of finance for the nuclear program. The sanctions bar foreign financial institutions that engage in financial transactions with Iran's central bank and oil sector, making it difficult for Tehran to sell its crude oil in the international market.
Under the new US law, nations that fail to reduce their consumption of Iranian oil significantly before the sanctions take effect on June 28 risk being cut off from the U.S. financial system. The US had earlier banned its banks from doing business with the Iranian central bank.
by RTT Staff Writer
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