Iran Considers Preemptive Ban of Oil Sales to Europe, Mehr Says

Iranian lawmakers are drafting a bill that would call for a halt of Iran’s oil exports to Europe even before July when a European Union ban on Iranian crude is to start, the state-run Mehr news agency said.

If the bill is approved, Iran’s government will have to halt oil sales to Europe before the start of the European Union’s oil embargo on Iran, Emad Hosseini, the spokesman for the parliament’s energy commission, said, according to Mehr. The bill is expected to be debated in the parliament by Jan. 29, Hosseini said, according to Mehr.

The European Union agreed on Jan. 23 to ban oil imports from Iran from July 1 as part of measures to ratchet up pressure on the country’s nuclear program. Iran’s Oil Ministry has played down the effects of the measure on its economy, saying the move may lead to “heavy economic loss and damages” for Europe and that it has “no concerns” finding new customers.

Europe, collectively the second-biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China, imported 450,000 barrels a day of the nation’s crude in the first half of last year, U.S. Energy Department data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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