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Ambiguous Embargo, Ambivalent Response

The EU’s pledge to ban Iranian oil imports in six months is confusing everyone.  Iran for one can’t decide whether to worry or gloat.  Reuters has Iran’s response:

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,”…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”…

Let’s get this straight, Iran would be so happy to store its unsold oil, that it will retaliate by closing the Straits of Hormuz? However, the fine print of the EU declaration contains good news for Iran. The Reuters article continues:

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.

It’s quite possible that May will lead to a further postponement; Greece and Italy are very unlikely to to have turned any economic corners by then and there will be voices in many countries urging the EU to keep the price of oil down.  Loudly announcing an embargo and then quietly postponing its date from one month to another would not be out of keeping with Europe’s approach to a number of serious problems closer to home.

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  • silverfiddle

    Or better yet, plenty or Euroweasels will simply make backdoor deals with Iran that subvert the sanctions.

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