News | EU Bans Iranian Oil, Tehran Responds with Threats
24 Jan 2012 01:40
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Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:301:40 a.m., 4 Bahman/January 24 Via Reuters:
The European Union banned imports of oil from Iran on Monday and imposed a number of other economic sanctions, joining the United States in a new round of measures aimed at deflecting Tehran's nuclear development program.
In Iran, one politician responded by renewing a threat to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, an oil export route vital to the global economy, and another said Tehran should cut off crude shipments to the EU immediately.
In response to the EU sanctions, and a day after a U.S. aircraft carrier, accompanied by a flotilla that included French and British warships, made a symbolically loaded voyage into the Persian Gulf, Iran's Press TV carried this headline as its top story: "Iran will make world unsafe for US." Quoting an Iranian lawmaker, it reports that,
[I]n the event of US "military adventurism" in the Strait of Hormuz, Iran will respond in the shortest possible time by making the entire world unsafe for Americans.
"Angry words on either side," Reuters said, "helped nudge benchmark Brent oil futures above $110 a barrel on Monday."
In Iran, the rial nosedived today. "The most telling sign is panic at the gold and foreign exchange markets," an Iranian analyst told the Christian Science Monitor. The Iranian currency has lost half its value since October.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told the BBC's Persian service that the sanctions were not intended to cause hardship for ordinary Iranians, but were "geared to an objective." It was up to Iran to show it was willing to work with the international community, she said.
The White House released this statement by President Obama on today's Iran-related sanctions:
I applaud today's actions by our partners in the European Union to impose additional sanctions on Iran in response to the regime's continuing failure to fulfill its international obligations regarding its nuclear program. These sanctions demonstrate once more the unity of the international community in addressing the serious threat presented by Iran's nuclear program. The United States will continue to impose new sanctions to increase the pressure on Iran. On December 31, I signed into law a new set of sanctions targeting Iran's Central Bank and its oil revenues. Today, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions on Bank Tejerat for its facilitation of proliferation, and we will continue to increase the pressure unless Iran acts to change course and comply with its international obligations.
As the Los Angeles Times reports in a blog, Russia slammed the new package of sanctions against Iran, saying it was unlikely to make it give up its nuclear program and may prove counterproductive.
In a tough-worded statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the EU move "deeply erroneous."
"Under such kind of pressure Iran will make no concessions and no correction of its policy," it said. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that there was nothing to prove that Iran was trying to build an atomic weapon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the new sanctions a "step in the right direction."