EU Readies Iran Oil Ban
France calls for deal by end of month
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2012 7:14 AM CST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures prior to a meeting at his office in Tehran on December 18, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Europe is continuing to get serious about Iran's nuclear ambitions, with EU member states agreeing in principle to ban the import of Iranian crude oil, reports the BBC. And while nuances must be hammered out—including whether and how long to exempt existing oil contracts with Iran, as well as identifying alternate sources of crude—France's foreign minister is calling for a deal by month's end. Such a ban could hit Tehran, whose currency is already choking on sanctions, hard: The EU purchases about 17% of Iran's oil exports.

Across the pond, the US State Department applauded the move: "These are the kinds of steps that we would like to see not just from our close allies and partners in places like Europe but from countries around the world," says a spokeswoman. "We do believe that this is consistent with tightening the noose on Iran economically."