Tehran denies oil supply cuts

2012-02-15 18:29

Tehran - The Iranian Oil Ministry on Wednesday denied reports that it had cut oil exports to six European Union nations.

State media had reported that Iran had cut oil exports to France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and Spain, after the ambassadors of the six countries were summoned to the Foreign Ministry in protest at EU sanctions on the country.

News network Al-Alam quoted official sources as saying that the ministry had simply informed the six ambassadors of new conditions for oil contracts and that Iran would only accept long-term contracts.

Spanish Foreign Ministry sources also said Iran had not interrupted oil deliveries to Spain.

Spain's ambassador to Tehran had informed the ministry that the Iranian government had summoned him with other European ambassadors to explain the new conditions of oil sales, according to the sources.

The conditions were related to payment guarantees, length of contracts and circumstances in which contracts could be suspended without a sanction.

Spain, which gets 15% of its imported oil from Iran, would have been one of the countries most affected by a suspension of exports.

Michael Mann, the spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said he had "absolutely no information at all of that sort".

Iran's parliament, however, plans to approve a bill aimed at stopping oil sales to EU countries involved in an oil embargo initiative. The debate on the bill has been postponed to March.

In January, EU foreign ministers decided on an embargo on Iranian oil and a freeze on the accounts of the Iranian central bank as a means of forcing Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities.

Read more on:    iran

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