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EU edges closer to Iran oil ban

01-21-2012 09:17 BJT

BRUSSELS, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- European Union (EU) officials were moving closer to reach an agreement on banning oil import from Iran in protest of its nuclear program, an EU diplomat said on Friday.

The EU foreign ministers have reached a political consensus but were yet to figure out the modalities of the ban, in particular how to deal with existing contracts, said the diplomat days before the EU Foreign Affairs Council to be held on Monday.

During recent negotiations, Greece lifted its objection to further sanctions against Iranian crude oil.

"Greece asked the EU to find a solution and a good financial arrangement to help Athens stop buying Iranian oil has been found," the diplomat close to the talks said.

"There is consensus across EU member states for helping Greece, we just have to find out the right assessment of the amount of money to face the embargo," he added.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Libya have reportedly offered to provide the EU with alternative shipments of oil.

Moreover, the EU is prohibiting trade with Iran in industries related to nuclear weapons delivery and enrichment, arms and equipment. Operating in technological services for Iran's oil and gas industry is also being banned.

While monitoring transactions with Iranian banks, the EU is forbidding financial services such as grants and concessional loans and providing credit insurance to the Iranian government.

In a similar vein, some 400 Iranian assets in the continent have been frozen and 113 more people have been subject to a visa ban and an asset freeze.

"The main idea is to focus on financial sanctions without affecting traditional trade," said the diplomat.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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