European Union foreign ministers agreed to ban oil imports from Iran starting July 1 as part of measures to ratchet up the pressure on the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear program, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said.
“As of July 1, we have a ban on the import of oil and oil products from Iran,” Rosenthal said in Brussels today. He said the EU was looking at ways to help limit damage from the ban on countries like Greece that are dependent on the oil imports from Iran and that possible “compensation” would have to be decided before the full ban comes into force.
Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf passageway for about 20 percent of globally traded oil, if the EU and the U.S. impose stricter sanctions. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait ship crude and liquefied natural gas through the strait.
“We can keep the Strait of Hormuz open and we will do what is necessary to achieve that,” Ivo Daalder, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, said in a BBC Radio 4 interview today.
Brent oil for March settlement advanced as much as 59 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $110.45 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was at $110.38 a barrel at 9:46 a.m. London time.