Iran’s parliament drafted legislation calling for the government to halt oil exports to Europe until the European Union cancels its planned ban on the country’s crude, Fars news agency reported, citing a lawmaker.
The bill would also require Iran to embargo imports from countries participating in the EU ban, Nasser Sodani, the deputy head of the parliament’s energy commission, said yesterday, according to the state-run news agency. Iranian lawmakers planned to debate the bill in parliament today, Fars reported on Jan. 27.
The EU decided last week to stop importing Iranian oil from July 1, raising pressure on the nation over its nuclear program. The bloc postponed its ban to give members including Greece and Italy time to find alternative suppliers. Iranian officials have threatened to retaliate by disrupting shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, a conduit for 20 percent of global oil. Europe is Iran’s No. 2 customer after China, taking 450,000 barrels of Iranian crude a day, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
“If we are supposed to pay the cost of these sanctions in six months, then let Europe deal with an increase in oil prices and pay the cost right now,” Mohammad Reza Bahonar, Iran’s deputy parliamentary speaker, said yesterday, according to the state-run Mehr news agency.