February 19, 2012
Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, an oil ministry spokesman said, the ministry’s website reported on Sunday.
“Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped … we will sell our oil to new customers,” spokesman Alireza Nikzad said, the OMP website reported.
The measure comes 26 days after the European Union ruled to completely lock out Iranian oil beginning with July.
Iran’s biggest European oil customers are Greece, Italy and Spain.
According to Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, his country has offered to resume talks with the Security Council’s Permanent Five plus Germany. It is hoping the sides could meet in Istanbul at the earliest opportunity. The offer is contained in a letter sent to the European Union’s High Foreign Policy Representative Catherine Ashton. A reply is yet to be received.
Iran is besieged by international sanctions aimed at making it come clean about the nature of its nuclear energy programme. In January, the European Union ruled to completely lock out Iranian oil from July onwards.
Experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency have flown to Teheran on a mission to try to find out whether Iran is concealing a nuclear weapons programme and to attempt to persuade the Iranians to return to talks with the Security Council’s Permanent Five plus Germany. It is not clear whether the delegates will be allowed to inspect the sites where Iran is believed to have secretly built new enrichment plants.
Iranian and Western reports say the enrichment plant in Natanz south of Teheran has received new centrifuges capable of enriching uranium to 20%.
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