Iran’s decision to halt oil exports to some European Union member states has caused serious concern among major European consumers of Iranian crude such as Italy, Press TV reports.
Tehran threatened to halt oil shipments to EU states after the bloc reached a decision on January 23 to ban Iranian oil imports for its members.
The EU decision came after Washington imposed similar sanctions against Iran’s oil and financial sectors on New Year’s Eve, with the aim of punishing countries importing Iranian crude or doing business with the country’s central bank.
Press TV reported last Wednesday that six European ambassadors from the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal, have been summoned to Majlis to be informed that Iran is cutting oil exports to their countries.
Following Iran’s decision, two Italian lawmakers took part in an exclusive interview with Press TV, voicing their serious concern about Tehran halting oil exports to some European states.
Democratic Party Senator Francesco Ferrante said Rome is currently importing a great deal of its needed oil from Iran.
“As a result, Italy will suffer more than other countries from the decision of cutting oil supplies to European states taken by the Iranian government,” he added.
The Italian lawmaker said, “Italy depends far too much on foreign oil and lacks an energy strategy of its own.”
“Italians’ everyday lives will be affected as fuel prices are likely to go up [as a result of Iran oil cut]. The [oil] cut will also have negative consequences on Italian companies,” he added.
Stefano Saglia, another lawmaker who represents Italy’s People of Liberty Party in the parliament, also said the decision taken by the EU to adhere to tighter sanctions against Iran was a difficult decision.
“Without a doubt, Italy is the European country that will be damaged the most from this situation as Iran and Italy have always been close business partners,” he added.
The lawmaker stated that several Italian companies, including Eni, are still investing in Iran’s oil sector.
“Although Italy had to align itself with the EU, we are concerned about the situation,” he said.
Saglia hoped that diplomacy would finally prevail and the EU Foreign Commissioner Catherine Ashton would be able to find a diplomatic solution to the problem.
“Italy relies on Iran for about 13 percent of its crude imports and several Italian companies are engaged in both oil exploration and industrial activities in Iran,” he concluded.
After EU imposed sanctions on Iran oil in its January 23 session, Ashton claimed that the new sanctions aimed to bring Iran back to negotiating table with P5+1 — US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany — over the country’s peaceful nuclear program.
The United States, Israel and their European allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to impose four rounds of international and a series of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has a right to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.
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