Stop oil sales to EU now, says Iran politician

TEHRAN Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:10am EST

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran should halt all oil sales to the European Union immediately to disrupt EU plans for an embargo in six months' time, a senior Iranian politician said on Monday.

Ali Fallahian was responding to the European Union's decision earlier in the day to impose a ban on Iranian crude oil imports, to be fully enforced by July 1, part of a potentially crushing range of new sanctions the West hopes will force Tehran to curb its nuclear work.

Fallahian, a former intelligence minister and current member of the influential state Assembly of Experts, said Iran should stop exporting crude to the EU immediately, to cause a spike in prices and deny the Europeans time to find other supplies.

"The best way is to stop exporting oil ourselves before the end of this six months and before the implementation of the plan," Fallahian was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

He also reiterated that Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow opening to the Gulf, in retaliation for sanctions that stop it exporting oil - a move the United States has said it would not tolerate.

"If they increase the pressure on our country, we can use the Strait of Hormuz as a tool to decrease the pressures and closing the strait is one of the options," he said.

First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said at the end of December that Iran would not allow "even one drop of oil" through the Strait of Hormuz - through which around a third of the world's sea-borne traded oil passes - if the West imposed sanctions on Iranian oil.

(Reporting by Mitra Amiri; Writing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (3)
jcfl wrote:
so iran stops sellng oil to europe, or europe stops buying from iran. result is the price of oil goes up, iran sells their crude to a friendly neighbor, and that neighbor sells the oil to europe (at a higher price). seems like iran wins in either scenario, without any bloodshed.

Jan 23, 2012 11:27am EST  --  Report as abuse
Nullcorp wrote:
“If they increase the pressure on our country, we can use the Strait of Hormuz as a tool to decrease the pressures and closing the strait is one of the options.”

Buy our oil, or we’ll mine the Strait and attack your ships? Seems like they’re really backed into a corner. Get ready for Arab Spring V2.0.

Jan 23, 2012 12:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
NukerDoggie wrote:
The Strait of Hormuz isn’t going to be closed by Iran unless and until Iran has little to lose and much to gain from that action. This could come about in the event of a military strike on Iran – in that scenario it would likely decide to close the Strait. And it could keep it effectively closed (tankers too scared to transit the Strait), by various asymmetrical means, for quite a few weeks or even several months. That would almost certainly induce a massive financial and economic collapse of Europe and the U.S.

So, like it or not, Iran and its totalitarian friends hold the trump card.

Maybe Russia and China should go ahead and place many naval assets in the Persian Gulf and warn the U.S. and Israel that if Iran is hit or any of their assets are endangered then they will begin taking out US, Israeli and NATO assets in the Gulf and in Europe. At the same time, they should give Iran an ultimatum – open all nuke sites immediately to inspection or else they will embargo all Iranian oil.

Russia-China become the global heroes and the U.S. is made to appear like the paper tiger it has actually become.

Jan 23, 2012 1:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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