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Iran renews oil cut threats, eyes resumption of G5+1 talks

02-22-2012 09:20 BJT

TEHRAN, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Iranian officials on Tuesday renewed their threats to cut oil exports to some EU countries while expressed hope that the venue for the nuclear talks between Iran and the G5+1 powers could be announced soon.

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on Tuesday that Iran will cut its oil exports to the EU countries if its conditions are not met, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

"Those (EU) countries which do not finalize long-term oil- purchase contracts with Iran will be treated like Britain and France," Qasemi was quoted as saying, referring to its newly- launched oil-sales-ban to the two EU powers.

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Qalebani said on Monday that the Islamic republic will possibly cut its oil exports to six other European countries, including Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

Iran announced on Sunday that it had stopped oil exports to British and French companies and called on other EU buyers to extend their oil contracts with Iran to two to five years.

Qalebani also said on Monday that "for sure, if the hostile measures of some other European countries are continued, the oil exports to these countries will be stopped."

If the EU states stop "the hostile measures," Iran is ready to renew its oil contracts with those countries, said Qalebani, who is also managing director of National Iranian Oil Company.

On Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that Iran's EU oil customers need to sign long- term contracts and that unilateral cancellation of the contracts would not be allowed.

While Iran responded to the EU sanctions by an embargo on some of the bloc's members, it expressed willingness to negotiate with the West over its controversial nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said on Tuesday that the next round of nuclear talks between the Islamic republic and the G5+1, or the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, may not be held in Turkey as initially announced, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

The venue of the talks will be decided after the dialogue between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, he said, expressing hope that the venue would be finalized by the next Saturday or Sunday.

On Monday, Mehmanparast said that Iran's nuclear program is for "peaceful" purposes and that the world powers should recognize the rights of the Islamic republic to possess nuclear technology for civilian use.

Meanwhile, member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) are mulling measures in case Iran's situation would deteriorate, CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said on Tuesday.

He said the CSTO countries are "assessing the situation realistically" and hope that no strike against Iran would happen.

Still, "we undertake certain steps in case a flow of refugees would emerge," Bordyuzha said during a video conference with Kiev, Astana and Yerevan.

If a strike against Iran occurs, it would have "enormous consequences" for Central Asia in terms of politics, military and economy, Bordyuzha said.

The seven-member CSTO, founded in 1992, comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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