Iran cuts oil exports to Europe

2012-02-15 16:21

Tehran - Iran began loading domestically made nuclear fuel rods into its Tehran research reactor on Wednesday while it also announced it would be cutting oil exports to six European countries.

The official IRNA news agency said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inserted the first Iranian-made rod into the reactor in northern Tehran, and state TV broadcast live images from the ceremony with Iranian nuclear experts briefing Ahmadinejad on the process.

Iran touted the development as an incremental step in the country's efforts to master the complete nuclear fuel cycle, despite Western penalties and UN sanctions.

The West suspects Iran's nuclear programme is aimed at producing atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies, insisting it's geared for peaceful purposes only, such as energy production.

The Tehran reactor, for example, produces nuclear isotopes for treating cancer patients.

The development came as Iran said on Wednesday it cut oil exports to six European countries the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal in response to recent new European Union sanctions.

New customers

The move comes days after Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said Tehran could cut off oil exports to "hostile" European nations as tensions rose over suggestions that military strikes are an increasing possibility if sanctions fail to rein in the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions.

Iran argues that the EU oil embargo will not cripple its economy, claiming that the country already has identified new customers to replace the loss in European sales that account for about 18% of Iran's exports.

Members of Iran's parliament have been discussing a draft bill, although not finalised, which would cut off the flow to the European Union before the latest EU sanctions on Iran go into effect this summer.

Iran has said it is forced to manufacture nuclear fuel rods, which provide fuel for reactors, on its own since international sanctions ban it from buying them on foreign markets. In January, Iran said it had produced its first such fuel rod.

Iran's unchecked pursuit of the nuclear programme scuttled negotiations a year ago but Iranian officials last month proposed a return to the talks with the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.

Israel worried

In the past, Iran has angered Western officials by appearing to buy time through opening talks and weighing proposals even while pressing ahead with the nuclear programme.

Apart from the EU's recent measures on Iran, which include an oil embargo and a freeze of the country's central bank assets, Washington also recently levied new penalties aimed at limiting Iran's ability to sell oil which accounts for 80% of its foreign revenue.

Israel is worried Iran could be on the brink of an atomic bomb and many Israeli officials believe sanctions only give Tehran time to move its nuclear programme underground, out of reach of Israeli military strikes.

The US and its allies argue that Israel should hold off on any military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities to allow more time for sanctions to work.

  • Fidel - 2012-02-15 16:25

    Well done Iran, you have no obligation to honour their existing contracts. They have frozen your assets and are engaged in an illegal economic war with you. Wish we had leaders of strong character in this country and not the fools who become docile before western leaders.

      John Murray McKay - 2012-02-15 16:31

      Wow. You are insane. Put down the spiff skippy and get some fresh air

      Mike - 2012-02-15 16:39

      A nuclear war will wipe us all out including you Fidel.

      Fidel - 2012-02-15 16:47

      @Mike I'm reffering to the illegal EU and US sanctions.

      Jaba - 2012-02-15 17:00

      Mike – Fidel and others like her don’t care to give their lives to the cause… they would sacrifice themselves, their loved ones and the whole world to be able to see Europe, Israel and the United States burn. When they love their children as much as westerners value life and love their children there will be world peace. But the religion of ‘submission’ does not allow for compromise, nor does it consent to a peaceful global village. We will all pay the price for turning a blind eye to the crazed Ayatollahs.

      Dirk - 2012-02-15 17:46

      As the shortened Iranian terrorist has proven, Iran is a terrorist state which enjoys support from terrorist minded fools around the world. They should be isolated and then destroyed- totally.They cannot be trusted and Israel must do the necessary to prevent these barbarians from acquiring nuclear capability.

      Fred - 2012-02-17 23:34

      The Iranian regime won't be with us for much longer, Patrick, just like all the other Middle Eastern regimes that have fallen in one short year.

  • John Murray McKay - 2012-02-15 16:32

    That's the last straw. Time for this clown to join the nando's club

      Jaba - 2012-02-15 17:01

      Those were the days my friend…

  • ISO - 2012-02-15 16:36

    Hmmm, i smell gunpowder in the air!

  • Manhattan - 2012-02-15 16:52

    Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal. Mostly the countries with huge debt. Greece seems to be getting the short end of the rod here. Revenge for Persepolis. Greece and Persia have been at it since writing began.

  • Temp - 2012-02-15 16:55

    I BELIEVE & SUPPORT this, why must the US & wet react to suspicions...why can they be allowed to have Nuclear programes, but no one else can???USA & WEST CAN EFF OFF!!!! and mind their bussiness, and id people wanna complain, they welcome to EFF off and join them.

      Fidel - 2012-02-15 17:28

      Hear hear!!

      Bradley - 2012-02-15 17:38

      Because the west and her allies don't go shouting out "death to Iran and Islam!!" as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has done many times in his speeches where he calls for the fall of Israel. the west have respect and mostly they are responsible!! unlike Iran if given the slightest chance they will cause hurt to the west and Israel in any way possible..

      Bradley - 2012-02-15 17:38

      "with great power comes great responsibility" hear hear!!

      Dirk - 2012-02-15 17:50

      How simple! Iran, like the whole of Africa, cannot be trusted to act responsibly. They along with the arab world, are like children with a loaded machine gun.

      Fred - 2012-02-17 23:37

      You're being a child. Grow up. This isn't about what toys you can or can't have. Iran has a terrorist regime. They would use nuclear weapons to impose their dark agenda on the world, which they have openly declared. The world is not going to wait to see if they mean it or not. It will not allow them to get any closer to that reality. Period. Their funding of terrorist organizations and regimes in various parts of the world is enough proof, and their oppression of women in their own society is reprehensible.

  • Aaron - 2012-02-15 17:14

    well done iran for being brave and decisive against these colonial powers

      Jannie - 2012-02-15 17:26

      Aaron you have a short memory bro, what happened to Irag ??

      Fidel - 2012-02-15 17:52

      So says Janine the warmonger.

      Fidel - 2012-02-15 18:14

      For what, so that their oil corporations could get a bigger slice of the Iraqi oil contracts and entrech the US dollar hegemony in the region. (Which by the way is why Iran is being demonised because they refuse to pander to Washington) This is the kind of scum that is supposed to be leading the world.

      edwin.nengovhela - 2012-02-16 01:03

      Iran all the way.

      Fred - 2012-02-17 23:40

      Enjoy your delusional celebration while you can. The Iranian regime is next, after Syria, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. The Iranian people are getting ready.

  • Zyklon85 - 2012-02-15 19:24

    At the end of the day, no matter which side you take, YOU, ME AND THE MAN ABOVE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF IRAN STARTS K*K. The U.S will come and clean up Iran in less then 3months.I am quite neutral over the subject because it is true that the U.S are jealous and want a piece of the pie and Iran is quite fair when they say, P**S off. They did the same thing over Iraq, george bush and his famous words, "iraq has weapons of mass destruction" they still have not found anything..... and now they are saying the same thing but now its TRUE and they have to take caution. The americans are playing it safe until obama gets elected again and once that happens, overnight the whole military will be in the gulf area once again. I can understand why the arabs hate the west, look what america has done to them, they have destroyed iraq, afghanistan and probably iran soon. They have caused the arabs to be dangerous people and i know the arab nation are actually very friendly, i have lived with them for 7 years. Anyone that has blown your neighbours away and does not agree with what you wear or what religeon you are, you will not like them and the americans keep putting fire to the situation. The world is controlled by OIL people, if you do not have enough(usa) YOU HAVE TO GO TAKE IT! MAKE A STORY UP AND GO FETCH IT. Look at russia, you do not see them causing k*k, it is because they use there brain to fight and not there balls..... they got enough oil and they sell the weapons, thats GENIUS!

      Fred - 2012-02-17 23:43

      Iran is quite fair. Yeah right. Wake up buddy, before your ass is toast, and your women are disenfranchised and stoned to death.

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