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OIL EMBARGO HARMING EU MORE THAN IRAN?

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BRUSSELS, Belgium - The US, Israel, and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to convince the UN Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has refuted the US-led allegations, arguing that, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
  • For that reason, the anti-Iran push by the EU came after the United States, Britain, and Canada imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran's energy and financial sectors over Tehran's nuclear program.
  • However, EU foreign ministers attempted and failed to enforce the embargo on the Iranian oil exports during a December 1 meeting in Brussels.
  • International oil experts say possible EU-imposed embargo on Iran's oil sector will hurt the European states, which are beset with economic crisis, more than Iran as the country will find new customers.
Manouchehr Takin, an analyst at the Center for Global Energy Studies (CGES) research group, maintains that such embargo against Iran's oil exports will have adverse effects on European refineries, which rely on crude from Iran to help crisis-ridden economies like Greece, Italy, and Spain, AFP reported on Thursday.
  • “The Europeans are importing nearly half a million barrels per day [of Iran's oil]...with refineries in Greece, Italy, and Spain as the main customers. They would suffer very much immediately (in the event of sanctions) because they cannot easily replace that Iranian crude with other [types of] crude [oil],” he added.
  • Takin further stated that the restrictive measure would prove more detrimental to the European refineries than the Islamic Republic, which would have no trouble finding new markets and even boosting its profits.
  • “Iran has about 2.3 million barrels per day in exports, and most of them are to Asia, the Far East, and China and they [the Iranians] will deal with them and sell more,” he noted.
  • Similar comments were made by Eugen Weinberg, an analyst with Germany's second-largest bank, Commerzbank.
  • “After all, crisis-ridden Italy, Spain, and Greece rely on oil from Iran; an [oil] embargo [on the Islamic Republic] would force them to source their oil requirements elsewhere at considerably higher prices,” he said.
  • Weinberg also said that, despite the apparent consensus in the EU about the imposition of the embargo, “It remains to be seen whether this step is actually taken.”
On Wednesday, December 7, the head of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) hoped that the European Union would not go ahead with bringing the measure into force.
“I really hope there will not be an EU embargo on Iranian oil,” OPEC's Secretary-General Abdullah El-Badri said on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Doha, Qatar.
El-Badri added that it would be 'very, very difficult' to replace Iran's oil because “Europe is now facing some difficulties...so to cut these 865,000 barrels a day immediately, I think it will be a problem.”
Source: Press TV
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