The Iranians appear willing to respond to an upcoming European Union embargo on their oil—by cutting their oil shipments to Europe. The Fars News Agency reported that senior Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Karim Abedi said they would drop oil supplies to the EU for 5 to 15 years.
Abedi, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, in comments to Fars on Sunday said they can “change the threat into an opportunity for Iran and cut Iran’s oil supplies to the Europeans.”
A bill drafted in the Iranian parliament targets oil exports to Europe. The step is clearly retaliatory, since the EU is imposing the oil sanctions to apply pressure on Iran over their nuclear program. Reacting by cutting oil to Europe is not necessarily a move in Iran’s natural economic interest.
“We will not leave enemies’ sanctions unanswered and we will impose other sanctions on them in addition to closing Iran’s oil supplies to Europe,” said Abedi.
The European Union agreed to intensify restrictions on Iran last week over concerns regarding the Iranian nuclear program. According to a press statement from the EU, Europe will implement a phased ban of imports of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products, although existing contracts can continue until July 1. The measures will be reviewed prior to May 1.
The Council of the EU urged Iran to agree to “substantial negotiations” with the international community to resolve its ongoing nuclear dispute.
The Israelis continued their support of the European measure. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli cabinet he spoke with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week.
Netanyahu was quoted by his office as saying, “I commended them on the steps that Europe has taken against Iran, against both its petroleum exports and its central bank.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 29, 2012)