Iran stops oil sales to Britain and France

oil_barrelIran’s oil ministry announced that it has stopped oil sales to both Britain and France in a move seen as a direct retaliation for the upcoming EU embargo on imports of Iranian oil.

“Oil sales to British and French companies have ceased,” spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad Rahbar said in a statement on the ministry’s official website. He added that Iran would "sell our oil to new customers".

According to AFP the decision is not expected to have a major impact. Last year France bought only 3 per cent of its oil, 58,000 bpd, from Iran and the UK imported even less.

China has rebuked Iran for halting oil sales to Britain and France and called for more dialogue

"We have consistently upheld dialogue and negotiation as the way to resolve disputes between countries, and do not approve of exerting pressure or using confrontation to resolve issues," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was reported as saying when asked about Iran's ban on oil sales to British and French firms.

The EU oil embargo, agreed last month, was phased so member states that were relatively dependent on Iranian crude - notably Greece, Spain and Italy - had enough time to find alternative sources.

The EU currently buys about 20 per cent of Iran's oil exports, which account for a majority of government revenue.

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