EU to implement sanctions against Iran July 1 as planned
Brussels (Platts)--25Jun2012/812 am EDT/1212 GMT
The EU's sanctions against Iran -- including a ban on oil imports and a
ban on the provision of insurance for tankers shipping Iranian oil -- will
come into force as planned on July 1, EU foreign ministers said Monday.
In a brief statement following a meeting of all 27 of the bloc's foreign
ministers, the Council of the EU said the sanctions would not be changed
ahead of their implementation date.
"The latest package of EU sanctions against Iran will apply as earlier
decided. Following a review of the measures, the Council confirmed that they
would remain as approved in January," it said.
This means that two exemptions to buying Iranian oil will end, as
scheduled, on 1 July.
Contracts for importing Iranian oil that were concluded before January
23 will have to be terminated by July 1. From the same date, EU insurers may
no more provide third-party liability and environmental liability insurance
for the transport of Iranian oil, it said.
Speaking at a briefing in Luxembourg following the talks, the EU's
foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said it was important to maintain the
pressure on Iran.
"The purpose of the sanctions is to pressure Iran, for Iran to
understand that the international community is serious in its concerns [over
Iran's nuclear program]," she said. "Those sanctions are there to keep that
pressure in order that the regime in Iran is about taking those concerns
seriously and address them."
Ashton added: "My real ambition is to try to resolve this as soon as
Earlier, in a statement ahead of the talks in Luxembourg, Ashton said
there would be no review of the already agreed sanctions.
"There is no change in terms of how we're going forward on July 1," she
said. "The sanctions that have been agreed will be implemented."
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, on arrival in Luxembourg, echoed
"These sanctions [against Iran] must be firmly applied from July 1. We
have a firm attitude to Iran, which must change its attitude because we do
not accept it developing nuclear weapons. We need dialogue, of course, which
is continuing, but at the same time we need firmly applied sanctions."
Some member states have even called for sanctions to be intensified.
UK foreign minister William Hague, speaking ahead of the talks, said it
was "not too late for Iran to give a more promising response" to the offer by
international powers over Tehran's nuclear program.
But, he said, "Iran has not done so yet, so of course the sanctions will
come into force."
"Indeed we will argue for intensified sanctions over the coming months
if there is no progress in these negotiations," Hague said.
Ashton, asked whether the EU supported tougher sanctions against Iran,
said the EU kept a regular eye on developments.
"All of our sanction regimes are kept under constant review for three
reasons: to ensure they are effective; to make sure we avoid any potential
damage in terms of ordinary people who are not targeted; and to make sure
things are not evaded," she said.
"We also look at what further pressure we're able to do, and those
discussions continue with member states."
Japan and South Korea had both been lobbying Brussels to delay imposing
the ban on shipping insurance as both countries have said they could struggle
to find insurance cover for tankers.
Most protection and indemnity insurance clubs are subject to EU law, and
as such would have to stop providing cover.
Japan has already passed a law giving tankers increased insurance
coverage, but South Korea is unlikely to follow suit.
South Korean refiners are, as result, expected to have to halt imports
of Iranian crude completely.
--Stuart Elliott, email@example.com
--Siobhan Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Martin O'Rourke, email@example.com