Diplomacy: Europe to slap embargo on Iranian oil
23 January 2012
"Brussels begins asphyxiation of Iran", writes El Mundo, on the EU’s decision on January 23 to clamp an oil embargo on Iran. According to the Madrid daily, this “will come into force in July to allow Spain, Italy and Greece to seek alternative suppliers”:
Between Greek pressure to delay sanctions as much as possible and the position of the UK, France and Germany, that wanted an embargo to come into force no later than May, the strategy that was finally adopted looks like a half way agreement.
As Iran is Greece’s main oil supplier, El Mundo considers that the EU is seeking a "reasonable" moratorium to avoid this decision becoming "a double-edged weapon that could complicate the bad state of [the European] economy". El Mundo terms it an "unprecedented sanction" that will put a stop to the 450,000 barrels a day Iran exports to the EU (18% of its global exports):
The problem is that EU economic pressure may not be enough as long as Turkey and the main Asian commercial powers – China, Japan and South Korea – refuse to apply any kind of embargo or sanction. The same goes for Russia, where President Dimitri Medvedev has clearly stated to Union leaders that his country has no diplomatic problem with Iran.