Iran: U.S., EU hold economy hostage

July 2, 2012 at 8:47 AM
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TEHRAN, July 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. and European governments should be held responsible if the embargo on Iranian crude causes a major economic crisis, an Iranian official said.

A series of U.S. and European sanctions targeting the Iranian energy sector went into force during the past few days. Members of the European Union banned Iranian crude oil imports while U.S. sanctions barred world banks from working with Iranian banks for oil transactions.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the U.S. and EU measures put the health of the global economy in jeopardy.

"They should be held accountable for their irresponsible measures which will aggravate the economic crisis in the world, since [energy] security is an indispensable part of the global energy market," he was quoted by Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV as saying.

When plans for sanctions were announced in early 2012, Iran threatened to close oil transit lanes through the Strait of Hormuz. The threat caused crude oil prices to spike, sparking renewed concerns about that status of the global economic recovery.

The International Energy Agency, however, had said markets were well-prepared for the sanctions. Saudi Arabia, in part, has provided assurances to some of Iran's customers that oil supplies would be adequate after the sanctions went into force.

Sanctions were imposed as punishment for Iran's controversial nuclear program.

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