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 Iran says sanctions to fail, repeats Hormuz threat

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PostSubject: Iran says sanctions to fail, repeats Hormuz threat   Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:28 am

Iran says sanctions to fail, repeats Hormuz threat


Mitra Amiri
Reuters US Online Report World News

Jan 24, 2012 07:49 EST

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian politicians
said on Tuesday they expected the European Union to backtrack on its
oil embargo and repeated a threat to close the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping lane if the West succeeds in preventing Tehran from exporting crude.







"The West's ineffective sanctions against the Islamic state are not a
threat to us. They are opportunities and have already brought lots of
benefits to the country," Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi told the
official IRNA news agency.
Speaking a day after the EU slapped a
ban on Iranian oil - to take full effect within six months - in a move
to press Tehran into curbing its contested nuclear program and engage in
negotiations with six world powers, the tone in the Islamic Republic
was defiant, even skeptical.
"The global economic situation is not
one in which a country can be destroyed by imposing sanctions," Moslehi
said, repeating Iran's stance that with the EU in economic and monetary
crisis, it needs Iran's oil more than Iran needs its business.
A
spokesman for the oil ministry said Iran had had plenty of time to
prepare for the sanctions and would find alternative customers for the
18 percent of its exports that up to now have gone to the 27-nation
European bloc.
"The first phase of this (sanctions action) is
propaganda, only then it will enter the implementation phase. That is
why they put in this six months period, to study the market," Alireza
Nikzad Rahbar said, predicting the embargo could be rescinded before it
takes force completely.
"This market will harm them because oil is getting more expensive and when oil gets more expensive it will harm the people of Europe," state TV quoted him as saying. "We hope that in these six months they will choose the right path."
The embargo will not kick in completely until July 1 because the bloc's foreign ministers who agreed the ban at a meeting in Brussels were anxious not to penalize the ailing economies of Greece, Italy and others to whom Iran is a major oil supplier.
The strategy will be reviewed in May to see if it should proceed.
Iran,
which denies international suspicions that it is trying to design
atomic bombs behind the facade of a declared civilian atomic energy
program, has scoffed at efforts to bar its oil exports as Asia lines up to buy what Europe rejects.
"RECKLESS"
Iran's
foreign ministry summoned the Danish ambassador on Tuesday to complain
about the EU's "illogical decision," accusing Europe of doing the
bidding of the United States.
"Some
elements in the European Union, following America's policies, are
seeking to create tension in relations with the Islamic Republic of
Iran," Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Ashghar Khaji told Ambassador Anders Christian Hougaard.
"Europe should be responsible for the consequences of these reckless decisions," he said, according to IRNA.
Emad Hosseini, spokesman for parliament's energy committee, said that if Iran encountered any problem selling its oil, it would store it.
"If
we don't export our oil to Europe, our oil will be saved and storage of
oil will not harm us but we will have rich storage of oil," he told the
semi-official Fars news agency, adding Iran retained its threat to shut the Gulf to shipping.
"Closing
the Strait of Hormuz is one of the country's strategies against the
West's threats, especially an oil embargo," he said.
The United
States, which sailed an aircraft carrier through the strait into the
Gulf accompanied by British and French warships on Sunday, has said it
would not tolerate the closure of the world's most important oil
shipping gateway.
Fitch Ratings issued an assessment of the embargo's market impact saying it would likely cause an oil price increase.
"However,
prices may not necessarily increase markedly from current levels as
some of the risks related to the EU ban on Iranian oil appear factored
in already," it said.
The embargo decision had no discernible
impact on oil prices as it was a move that had been flagged well in
advance and the threat to close Hormuz seemed remote. Brent crude down
slightly at $110 per barrel on Tuesday.
U.S. President Barack Obama
said on Monday that the EU sanctions underlined the strength of the
international community's commitment to "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," he said in a statement.
Washington
applied its own sanctions to Iran's oil trade and central bank on
December 31 and on Monday extended them to the third largest Iranian
bank, state-owned Bank Tejarat, and a Belarus-based affiliate for allegedly helping Tehran's nuclear advance.
The EU sanctions were also welcomed by Israel,
which has warned it might attack Iran if sanctions do not deflect
Tehran from a course that some analysts say could potentially give Iran
the means to build a nuclear bomb next year.
(Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Mark Heinrich)




Source:

Reuters US Online Report World News

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