News / Middle East

Iran Braces for EU Embargo

An Iranian worker at the South Pars gas field in the southern Iranian port town of Asaluyeh.An Iranian worker at the South Pars gas field in the southern Iranian port town of Asaluyeh.
x
An Iranian worker at the South Pars gas field in the southern Iranian port town of Asaluyeh.
An Iranian worker at the South Pars gas field in the southern Iranian port town of Asaluyeh.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Bryant
PARIS - European Union sanctions against imports of Iranian oil went into effect Sunday. The sanctions are part of a growing arsenal of measures aimed at deterring Iran's nuclear program. But will they work?

Iran has had months to adjust to the new European Union sanctions, which were announced in January.  The EU ban covers both oil imports from Iran and tanker insurance for ships carrying Iranian crude.

But Ali Ansari, Iran expert for the London think tank Chatham House, says Iran is surprisingly unprepared for the fallout.

"You would have thought they would have been expanding their avenue toward the east, but it looks like even the Chinese have reduced their take of Iranian oil - not dramatically, but they've reduced it. And it's become quite difficult to sell their oil elsewhere, partly because of the banking sanctions and their inability to move currency around," said Ansari.

The EU oil ban is part of a tightening noose of international sanctions against Iran's nuclear program - a program that Tehran claims is for peaceful purposes, but the West fears has military ends.

Little progress was made during talks last month between Iran and world powers in Moscow. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton acknowledged a substantial gap remained between the two sides.

"The choice is Iran's," she said. "We expect Iran to decide whether it is willing to make diplomacy work, to focus on reaching agreement on concrete, confidence-building steps and to address the concerns of the international community."

Europe is not likely to feel the bite of the import cutoff, at least in the short term. Oil prices have dropped in recent months and Saudi Arabia has stepped up its production. There are also media reports that the Saudis have reopened an alternative oil pipeline should the Iranians make good on threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil shipping route.

Iran warns the EU embargo will do nothing to end the standoff over its nuclear program. Analyst Ansari believes the sanctions will bite - though it is not clear how deeply.

"Those who think there's going to be an immediate impact … that's probably not true," he said. "The Iranians probably have enough of a cushion there to sustain themselves for a little while longer. But of course, the longer this drags out, the worse it's going to get for Iran."

Philippe Moreau Defarges of the French Institute of International Relations believes the embargo will have little effect.

"They are accustomed to live with sanctions," he said. "That's why today, they don't bother [Iran]. 'Well, another sanction, another embargo. We can go on with that.'"

The EU ban is clearly making a difference elsewhere. This past week, South Korea announced it will halt Iranian oil imports, becoming the first major Asian buyer of Iranian crude to do so.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 02, 2012 10:08 AM
For a people who understand nothing but violence, embargo is child's play. Iran will fight to the last drop of their blood since the bite of the export embargo will not start from the top. It's only when the teeth of the embargo becomes brazen before the Ayatollahs (not even Ahmadinejad who is a mere whipping stick) will the mullahs begin to retrace their steps. Nobody else in Iran is worth anything except the Ayatollahs - thank God for the feud with the presidency out there. The only solution to stop the nuclear growth is for NATO and the EU to strike Iran. You'll be surprised how Africans, Arabs and Asians will crowd in, for Iran has incurred much hatred the world orver

In Response

by: Hasima Barguty from: Egypt
July 03, 2012 2:16 AM
the point here, "Godwin" is that no one trust Arabs- for good reasons - and please don't let me start telling you about Africans things that you might be better situated to tell the rest of us.... unfortunately, the only legitimate force is the US/Israel strike force... that we all pray in our hearts to do the right thing - but no one will admit...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid