Iran Moves to Speed Up Bill Banning Oil Exports to EU

Source:

"Members of the Iranian parliament are moving to accelerate a bill that would halt oil exports to the European Union ahead of an EU ban on oil imports from Iran that comes into force on July 1."

Members of the Iranian parliament are moving to accelerate a bill that would halt oil exports to the European Union ahead of an EU ban on oil imports from Iran that comes into force on July 1, and that would also ban imports of goods from the EU, Iranian news agencies reported Feb. 7.

The semi-official Fars news agency said 150 of the 290 deputies had signed a petition in support of the bill, which has yet to be debated.

"Deputies are collecting signatures to support the bill that has been almost finalized," Fars quoted lawmaker Parvis Sarvari as saying.

"Based on this bill, the government is allowed to take necessary measures for stoppage of oil exports to the European Union. And a committee including the oil minister, related ministers and experts will be set up to examine the issue and take action for an immediate cut in exports," Sarvari said.

"The motion. . .has also another clause that bans imports of goods from the European Union," he said.

Another semi-official news agency, Mehr, quoted parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani as saying the assembly was now ready to debate the bill.

"The parliament is pursuing this issue [halting Iran's oil exports to Europe] and the national security and foreign policy committee is examining it. And the parliament is ready to debate it," Larijani said in response to earlier comments by lawmaker Javad Karimi Ghodousi.

Referring to a call from a students gathering Feb. 6 that had called on the assembly to approve the bill, Karimi Ghodousi said: "After this gathering, the presiding board should put on its agenda two double-urgency motions about the oil exports cut to Europe on the parliament's agenda as soon as possible and debate it."

Karimi Ghodousi, a member of parliament's national security and foreign policy committees, said several European envoys to Tehran had voiced concern about the move to halt exports to the EU.

"A while ago, the French, Danish ambassadors and three other ambassadors [to Tehran] met the oil minister [Rostam Ghasemi] and expressed worries over the oil exports cut," he said.

Fars, meanwhile, published details of the five-clause motion.

"The government is allowed to stop oil sale to those countries that have initiated sanctions of our country's oil as well as those countries that insist on Iran's oil sanctions," Fars reported.

"The government is allowed to restrict the traffic of European nationals to our country and also traffic of Iranians to European countries," it continued.

"Imports of goods from the countries that have sanctioned Iran's oil are banned," and "the government is obliged to quickly determine other substitute countries for oil sale," it said.

In addition, Fars said, "The government is obliged to take necessary actions to process crude oil into oil products."

Fars said that once the bill had been submitted to parliament, the presiding board would refer the motion to the relevant parliamentary committees, which would respond within a few days, after which the bill would be debated in open session.

The EU agreed on Jan. 23 to ban imports of oil from Iran into the EU from July 1. Iran currently supplies some 500,000 barrels per day of crude to the EU.

The West suspects Iran of trying to build atomic weapons but Tehran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at generating electricity.

Aresu Eqbali, Platts

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