Bloomberg News

Greece Would Abide by Any Potential EU Ban on Iranian Oil

January 03, 2012

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Greece would adhere to any European Union decision to impose sanctions that restrict oil imports from Iran, an official at Greece’s environment, energy and climate ministry said.

Greece would abide by any decisions taken by the European Commission, the official, who declined to be identified citing ministry policy, said when asked about a potential oil embargo on Iran. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told reporters on Dec. 1 at an EU meeting in Brussels that Greece had a “certain number of reservations” about an oil cutoff.

The U.S. forbids imports of Iran’s oil and sanctions signed into law on Dec. 31 aim to deter dealings with the country’s central bank in an effort to increase pressure on Iran to halt what the U.S. says may be a covert nuclear weapons program. The EU will be ready by Jan. 30 to decide whether to extend sanctions on Iran as well, Michael Mann, a spokesman for the EU, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

Government officials in Greece will discuss Iran along with other energy topics at another meeting in Athens tomorrow. A Greek foreign ministry official couldn’t immediately comment when reached by phone today.

Greece got 14 percent of its oil imports from Iran in first six months of 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration.

Additional sanctions against Iran’s oil industry will destabilize world markets, making them “irrational,” Iranian oil ministry news website Shana reported, citing the country’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi.

Iran has no difficulty selling its crude, Qasemi said at the legal department of the Ministry of Petroleum, Shana reported today.

--With assistance from Paul Tugwell in Athens and Ayesha Daya in Dubai. Editors: Stephen Voss, Raj Rajendran

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net


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