EU doesn't budge on Iranian oil embargo

June 19, 2012 at 6:19 AM

MOSCOW, June 19 (UPI) -- European sanctions targeting the Iranian energy sector will go into force as planned despite an apparent willingness to talk, an EU diplomat said from Moscow.

Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, began a third round of negotiations regarding Tehran's nuclear program this week in Moscow.

Before the meeting, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Iran was "willing to take a positive step" to allay international concerns about the nuclear program.

Iran maintains the right to pursue a civilian nuclear program under the terms of international mechanisms. Some countries, however, say Iran is using that justification as cover for a nuclear weapons program.

Michael Mann, a foreign policy spokesman for the European Union, told Bloomberg News that the assurances weren't enough.

"All the sanctions that are supposed to come into force on July 1 will come into force on July 1," he said. "We've taken a political decision that this is an important measure to put pressure on the Iranian regime."

An embargo on Iranian oil goes into force July 1 in the European Union. Iran is the No. 2 oil producer among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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