Iran 'halts oil sales to France and Britain'

 
Lavan oil refinery, Iran - file pic Iran's oil industry is now subject to Western sanctions

Iran has halted oil sales to British and French companies, the nation's oil ministry has said.

A spokesman was reported as saying on the ministry's website that Iran would "sell our oil to new customers".

European Union member states had earlier agreed to stop importing Iranian crude from 1 July.

The move is intended to pressure Tehran to stop enriching uranium, which can be used for civilian nuclear purposes but also to build warheads.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful, but the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency says it has information suggesting Iran has carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device".

Sunday's statement on the oil ministry website was attributed to spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad Rahbar.

BBC world affairs correspondent Peter Biles says it appears to be another act of retaliation in the showdown between Iran and the West.

The French news agency AFP says the decision is not expected to have a big impact. Last year France bought only 3% of its oil - 58,000 barrels per day (b/d) - from Iran and the UK imported even less Iranian oil. A UK government official told the BBC there would be "no impact on UK energy security".

Some Iranian media had announced on Wednesday that Iran had stopped oil exports to the Netherlands, Greece, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy in retaliation for the EU's oil embargo, but this was later denied by the oil ministry.

The EU oil embargo, agreed last month, was phased so member states that were relatively dependent on Iranian crude - notably Greece, Spain and Italy - had enough time to find alternative sources.

The bloc currently buys about 20% of Iran's oil exports, which account for a majority of government revenue.

However, Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said that a cut in exports to Europe would not hurt Tehran.

Oil industry sources quoted by Reuters news agency say Iran's top oil buyers in Europe have already started reducing purchases of Iranian crude.

Last year Iran supplied more than 700,000 barrels per day (b/d) to the EU and Turkey, but by the start of this year that had dropped to about 650,000 b/d, Reuters reported on Thursday.

France's energy giant Total has stopped buying Iranian crude and Royal Dutch Shell, one of the biggest purchasers of Iranian oil, has cut back sharply, market sources told Reuters.

According to Reuters estimates, Tupras of Turkey was the biggest European customer for Iranian oil in 2011, taking about 200,000 b/d, followed by Total (100,000 b/d), Shell (100,000 b/d), Hellenic of Greece (80,000 b/d) and Cepsa of Spain (70,000 b/d).

Graphic image showing Iran's top oil export destinations
 

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  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 145.

    These actions by Iran and the other countries are an extremely dangerous 'game' of chess. The moves have been thought out long before they're made because the plan was revealed long ago.
    youtube.com/watch?v=SXS3vW47mOE (General Wesley Clarke)

    It would make most peoples minds up to what is really going on, so I guess it'll be left to the evermore relevent alternative media...

  • Comment number 144.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 143.

    If we go to War with Iran the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children will be on your apathetic hands.

    That means YOU!

  • rate this
    +81

    Comment number 142.

    This is what happens when you rely too much on oil. If the world was serious, they would have had 50% alternate source by know

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 141.

    so the the money we are giving to greece is going to iran
    and as for turkey some future member they will be

    1. China 543,000 10%
    2. India 341,000 11%
    3. Japan 251,000 5.9%
    4. Italy 249,000 13.3%
    5. South Korea 239,000 7.4%
    6. Turkey 217,000 30.6%
    7. Spain 149,000 9.6%
    8. Greece 111,000 34.7%
    9. South Africa 98,000 25%
    10.France 78,000 4.4%

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 140.

    and who didn`t expect this?

  • rate this
    -16

    Comment number 139.

    The proposition of Iran with Nuclear capability is of concern given what their president has openly said.. That aside we cannot really stop them so instead of creating irreparible rifts lets do something we dont often do and open dialogue with Iran to become an ally not an enemy.. with us on or offside Iran will have nuclear beit for energy, weapons or both.. We once had reasonable trade links

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 138.

    Whawk at 117 makes a good point. The answer is because we didn't want Iran to get to 20%, let alone continue along the road to 60-80%. You don't need a sophisticated bomb to create chaos & destruction - any old nuclear reaction will do - and that is the terror we need to avoid in Western cities. If you see someone pointing a gun - do you have to wait for them to fire it before defending yourself?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 137.

    Better fill up now before prices go up. How stupid of the EU to let them know the embargo was to be phased so member states that were relatively dependent on Iranian crude - notably Greece, Spain and Italy - had enough time to find alternative sources. Guess Greece will be well and truly stuffed now

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 136.

    You do that and I'll do this...it's all child's play in the end.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 135.

    I have to say, I am fairly proud of most of my compatriots at the moment.

    Most of us can see through the lies and political maneuvering, we see that the only sufferers of any war will be normal people, Iranian or British, it doesn't matter.

    Of course we have the odd person proving that the old Great British mong is still alive and kicking, but in general, it seems intelligence may be returning.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 134.

    lets get the numbers right bbc
    1. China 543,000 10%
    2. India 341,000 11%
    3. Japan 251,000 5.9%
    4. Italy 249,000 13.3%
    5. South Korea 239,000 7.4%
    6. Turkey 217,000 30.6%
    7. Spain 149,000 9.6%
    8. Greece 111,000 34.7%
    9. South Africa 98,000 25%
    10.France 78,000 4.4%

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 133.

    Is there no end to the hypocrites in the West. So whilst Israel, the ONLY country in the Middle East to have nuclear weapons, even suggests Iran maybe doing the same, every Western country bows down to the Zionists.

    Oh how the West and the Zionists make me laugh . . . and I'm British!

    Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish . . .

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 132.

    I seems 'havadram' and some others dont mind taking a moral stance unless it costs them. What a sad indictment of their morals eh!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 131.

    107. and other Iran haters. Proof please??? Or more Israeli propaganda?
    Reality, the UK has the worlds worst aggressive record throughout history to the present day, involved in more exploitation and wars than anyone else.
    Iran by contrast is the worlds oldest civilisation, a highly intelligent, innovative and peaceful people. Israel has a worse proven record of foreign soil attacks.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 130.

    The problem with the USA is that since the end of the cold war, it has run out of ideas to control the middle east. USA, let it go. Nothing last forever. Is either you leave the middle east alone or eventually the middle east will wriggle out of your tyranny. Double standards will not work. Iran has rights to nuclear technology just as every country. Sanctions or regime change will not work.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 129.

    should probably stop bothering with these inadequate sanctions and start preparing those F22's!
    the sanctions only serve to cripple the populace of Iran leaving the ruling elite relatively untouched (see Korea, Cuba etc)
    Iran is near powerless to actually put up a counter-attack so lets do it before they prepare this 'Israel destroying bomb'

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 128.

    I think Europe is missing a trick here. We should be avoiding US foreign policy and trading with Iran. Imagine oil traded in euros, could be just what a collapsing economy needs...
    As for the nuclear issue, there's plenty of nations that have it. I don't see anyone fronting up to them.

    I suspect Iran will only strike in retaliation.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 127.

    90.Jon T

    If Iran doesn't want to make a bomb then why don't they just let the inspectors in to prove themselves?
    ------------------------------------------------------

    i dont know what world you have been living on, Iran have been allowing inspections and following NPT treaty. They have broken no rules under the treaty. Just remember that.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 126.

    Perhaps those western factions involved in the TPAJAX Project of 1953 can invent a time machine and go back to 1979 and ensure that Mohammad-Rezā Shāh Pahlavi wasn't overthrown, thus keeping the anglo-us grip on iranian resources

    Or maybe it's all just a great game to them & Kim
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game

    perhaps they need therapy..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_%28game%29

 

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