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EU to approve oil embargo against Iran on Mon.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The European Union is expected to approve a crude oil embargo against Iran on Monday.

This is part of the EU effort to tighten sanctions on Iran for ignoring UN resolutions and continuing its nuclear development.

The EU aims to reach an official agreement on the ban in step with the United States at its meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels.

EU countries have already agreed on the embargo in principle. Differences remain among EU states over when to implement the oil ban.

France and other nations are insisting on early enforcement while others are pushing for a moratorium until they secure alternate oil import channels.

The latter includes Greece, which relies on Iran for more than 30 percent of its crude oil imports.

EU discussions are leaning toward enacting the embargo in July so it does not adversely affect economies which depend heavily on Iranian oil. Working-level officials plan to hold last-minute talks immediately before the foreign ministers gather.

The EU is the second largest importer of Iranian oil, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total.

Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, a key route for the world’s oil transports, if the EU adopts the embargo in step with the recent sanctions imposed by the United States.