EU has formally adopted an oil embargo against Iran. It entails an immediate ban on all new oil contracts with Iran, while the existing contracts shall last till July 1.
Tehran has consistently denied trying developing nuclear weapons and says talks not sanctions are the way forward. Meanwhile, International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that it will be sending its team to Iran between January 29 and 31 “to resolve all outstanding substantive issues”. Last November, IAEA issued a report that it had sufficient information that Iran is developing a nuclear explosive device.
Earlier, the Pentagon said the US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, a British Royal Navy frigate, and a French warship have passed through the Strait of Hormuz without facing any hurdle.
Iran could face more pressing sanctions in the form of restrictions on its central bank. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said the new steps show EU’s resolve. On the other hand, Iranian politician Ali Fallahi suggested that Iran should stop the oil exports before July and let the Europeans face the consequences of soaring prices. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has criticized the embargo saying such unilateral steps do not help matters and called for resumption of talks.
The embargoes are expected to hit hard on Iran’s economy and the country has threatened to retaliate by closing the trade route through Strait of Hormuz. The escalating tension has already caused the oil prices to rise.