Wall Street Journal: The European Union will carry out its planned review of its oil embargo on Iran in June, EU diplomats said Thursday. The Wall Street Journal
BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)–The European Union will carry out its planned review of its oil embargo on Iran in June, EU diplomats said Thursday, and will also review the timing of a ban on European companies insuring the transport of Iranian crude oil exports.
The review of the full oil embargo, which is due to come into effect July 1, was promised in January as a condition for gaining Greek support for the measure. The embargo was adopted in response to concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.
The shipping insurance ban was finalized in April but the U.K. won temporary exemptions to allow European companies to provide liability and environmental insurance on shipments of Iranian crude until July 1.
It would require a unanimous decision by all 27 member states to allow any change to the details of the embargo and the shipping insurance ban.
Diplomats have signaled changes are unlikely. However with a second round of talks between Iran and six major powers set to take place in Baghdad May 23 on Iran’s nuclear program, the review could give the EU some room for maneuver on the measures.
At a meeting Thursday, EU ambassadors agreed that the review won’t be discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. A discussion of the review had been left open as a possibility but has now been removed from the agenda, the diplomats said.
Initially, the review of the embargo, which is the EU’s strongest action yet against Iran’s nuclear program, was supposed to take place by May 1. But in April, member states agreed to gave themselves extra time to carry out the review.
The review is supposed to look at member states’ ability to cope with the full oil embargo and whether it will threaten the security of their energy supplies. It is also supposed to consider the embargo’s impact on international energy markets.
The U.S., Israel and a number of European countries accuse Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has consistently said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
-By Laurence Norman, Dow Jones Newswires