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.
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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs