Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ed Husain, Author of 'The Islamist'

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Pakistan: Imran Khan, from the cricket field to politics

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'iVIOLATED'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

Europe

France to impose unilateral ban on Iranian oil imports

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-24

France announced Thursday it wants to impose a unilateral ban on all oil imports from Iran, but will only act against Iran's nuclear ambitions in co-ordination with its European Union partners.

REUTERS - France’s foreign ministry first suggested and then “clarified” a policy to impose a unilateral ban on imports of oil from Iran, making clear on Thursday it would only act over Tehran’s nuclear programme in coordination with European Union partners.

In an initial statement posted on the ministry website, in response to a Reuters question, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said: “The interruption of Iranian oil purchases is among the measures proposed by France to its partners. We will apply this at a national level.”

Another spokesman later called the wording ambiguous, adding: “The decision at a national level will be in coordination with our European partners.”

Nevertheless the French remarks led to a wave of comment across Europe showing determination to toughen sanctions - a drive that is likely to be central to an EU foreign ministers’ meeting on Dec. 1.

“We are discussing wide-ranging sanctions (on) Iran with partners in the EU,” a UK Foreign Office spokeswoman said, adding Britain expects to announce sanctions on further Iranian “entities and individuals.”

The EU energy commissioner said a ban on Iranian oil imports would not be a problem for the European Union’s energy security.

“This is not a problem. It can be substituted by OPEC and others.” EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said.

While most of Iran’s oil goes to Asia, it still supplies significant volumes to Europe via the Suez Canal.

U.S. government data shows EU countries accounted for 18 percent of Iranian oil purchases in the first half of 2011 or 450,000 bpd. Italy was the leading buyer with 180,000 bpd, Spain took 137,000 bpd and France 20,000 bpd.

The director of Italy’s national oil industry body said Italian sanctions on imports of Iranian crude were inevitable.

The United States, Britain and Canada on Monday announced new sanctions on Iran’s energy and financial sectors in steps aimed at raising pressure on Tehran to halt its nuclear work, which is internationally thought to have a weapons dimension. Iran says it is aimed at peaceful atomic energy.

France has been pushing hard to convince allies to also impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and central bank, despite concerns among other Western governments that such moves could hurt the world economy as well as Tehran.

France bought more Iranian oil in the first half of the year to make up for disruption from Libya.

French oil industry body UFIP said on Thursday France would easily make up for an Iranian crude import shortfall.

Valero’s initial statement was in response to a Reuters question whether the government would force French oil major Total to stop its crude shipping business with Iran.

Shares in Total, France’s biggest oil company, were down 1.6 percent at 34.75 euros by 1536 GMT after accelerating losses to 2 percent in the wake of the ministry’s first statement. The European energy sector was down 1.1 percent at the time.

Date created : 2011-11-24

  • NUCLEAR IRAN

    Iran threat ‘unacceptable’, says Sarkozy

    Read more

  • Iran

    UN voices 'deep concern' over Iran's nuclear plans

    Read more

  • NUCLEAR IRAN

    Western powers slap new economic sanctions on Iran

    Read more

COMMENT(S)