United Nations inspectors made their second visit to Iran in three weeks Monday to review the "possible military dimensions" of the Iranian nuclear program. According to the New York Times:
International tensions, pressures and counterpressures over the nuclear program have been rising steadily, as Iran claims significant technological advances in uranium enrichment and threatens retaliation against countries that pursue sanctions against it, including a boycott of its oil.
Shortly after the International Atomic Energy Agency team arrived for talks with Iranian officials, the Iranian government signaled that it might expand the ban on oil shipments to Britain and France, announced on Sunday, to cover other European powers that it deems "hostile" because of broader economic sanctions by the European Union that are scheduled to come into force on July 1. The ban was apparently announced to pre-empt those sanctions, which include a boycott on new purchases.
Iran’s deputy oil minister, Ahmad Qalebani, said that oil exports to Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, Germany, Italy and Portugal might also be banned, state media reported.
The European Union buys 18 percent of the oil Iran exports, but countries within the EU do not import Iranian oil equally; Greece, Italy and Spain import a significantly higher portion of their oil imports from Iran than do the United Kingdom and France.
Published under: Iran