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Iran renews oil cut threats, eyes resumption of G5+1 talks

(Xinhua)

08:44, February 22, 2012

TEHRAN, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Iranian officials on Tuesday renewed their threats to cut oil exports to some EU countries while expressed hope that the venue for the nuclear talks between Iran and the G5+1 powers could be announced soon.

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on Tuesday that Iran will cut its oil exports to the EU countries if its conditions are not met, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

"Those (EU) countries which do not finalize long-term oil- purchase contracts with Iran will be treated like Britain and France," Qasemi was quoted as saying, referring to its newly- launched oil-sales-ban to the two EU powers.

Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Qalebani said on Monday that the Islamic republic will possibly cut its oil exports to six other European countries, including Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.

Iran announced on Sunday that it had stopped oil exports to British and French companies and called on other EU buyers to extend their oil contracts with Iran to two to five years.

Qalebani also said on Monday that "for sure, if the hostile measures of some other European countries are continued, the oil exports to these countries will be stopped."

If the EU states stop "the hostile measures," Iran is ready to renew its oil contracts with those countries, said Qalebani, who is also managing director of National Iranian Oil Company.

On Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that Iran's EU oil customers need to sign long- term contracts and that unilateral cancellation of the contracts would not be allowed.

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