Moscow, (IANS/RIA Novosti) Iran has refused to supply 500,000 barrels of oil to Greece in response to the European Union’s sanctions against the Islamic Republic, the Iranian news agency Fars reported Sunday.
“Oil tankers that had come to transfer 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil to a refinery in Greece had to go back empty-handed after Iran refused to give the shipment,” the news agency reported.
The EU voted in late January to ban oil imports from Iran. The move came after the Islamic Republic announced that it had launched a nuclear enrichment programme at a well-protected underground facility near the city of Qom.
The programme envisages enriching uranium to the 20-percent level, which can easily be turned into fissile warhead material.
The embargo is set to come into force in summer but Iran has said it may cut crude oil shipments to Europe early and warned that the EU embargo on oil imports from Iran may push world oil prices to $150 per barrel.
Iran has already halted oil exports to France and Britain and threatened to stop exporting oil to more European countries – Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands – if they continued to take actions directed against Tehran.
Iran supplies most of its Europe-bound oil to Greece, Italy and Spain, which account for about 68 percent of crude imports from the Islamic Republic.
In 2011, EU countries purchased an average of 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran.
Western nations suspect Iran, which is already under numerous international sanctions, of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme but Tehran insists it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.