Iran’s Oil Minister Doubts EU Will Stop Buying Iranian Crude

Iran’s oil minister said he doesn’t expect Europe to stop buying crude from his country.

There are “some doubts the decision will be taken,” Rostam Qasemi said in Doha, Qatar. “They are very wise.”

The European Union tightened sanctions on Iran on Dec. 1 in a clampdown on the country’s nuclear program, potentially igniting tensions in the Middle East that may threaten the flow of oil. The EU was divided over a possible halt to purchases of Iranian crude.

Following up on penalties imposed by the U.S. last month, the EU added 180 Iranian officials and companies to a blacklist and started work on sanctions on the country’s oil exports, banks, transport sector and the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran is the second-largest oil supplier in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, earning $56 billion in the first seven months of 2011, according to U.S. Energy Department estimates. Iran pumped 3.6 million barrels a day last month, a Bloomberg survey showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Tuttle in Doha at rtuttle@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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