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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House praised the European Union for prohibiting Iranian crude oil imports into the 27-nation-bloc on Sunday and said Tehran had an opportunity in talks this week to make progress on international concerns about its nuclear program.
"The United States welcomes the European Union's prohibition of all Iranian crude oil imports and other sanctions on Iran's oil industry, which go into full effect today," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
"This collective decision of the 27 countries of the European Union represents a substantial additional commitment on the part of our European allies and partners to seek a peaceful resolution that addresses the international community's concerns about Iran's nuclear program."
Carney said the EU move was an "essential part" of diplomatic efforts in dealing with Iran.
"Iran has an opportunity to pursue substantive negotiations, beginning with expert level talks this week in Istanbul, and must take concrete steps toward a comprehensive resolution of the international community's concerns with Iran's nuclear activities," he said. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Sandra Maler)