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Iran cuts oil, gas exports to Europe

Jan. 28, 2013 at 7:01 AM

TEHRAN, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Iran is cutting off oil and natural gas exports to European countries "until further notice," a spokesman for the Iranian Oil Ministry said.

Ministry spokesman Alireza Nikzad Rahbar said Tehran decided to impose "pre-emptive sanctions" against European countries because of EU sanctions placed on Iran related to Tehran's nuclear program.

"Exports of crude oil, (natural) gas liquids and gas condensate to the European countries, which have taken hostile stances on Iran, will be halted until further notice," he was quoted by state-funded broadcaster Press TV as saying.

The European Union in January 2012 placed an embargo on oil from Iran in response to concerns about the country's nuclear work. The spokesman, however, said there were contracts in place with various international shippers for oil and gas exports.

He declined to specify which European countries, if any, were working with Tehran. The spokesman said the government had asked its consumers not to re-export any oil to the European Union, however.

In mid-January, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said one way to escape sanctions pressure was to stop depending on oil revenue in the country's budget.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its monthly report for January, stated that Iran was among member states that saw oil production declines.

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