Tuesday, January 10, 2012

EU, Japan prepare for Iran oil embargo

Europe and Japan moved ahead on Tuesday in planning for punitive cuts in oil imports from Iran, where a senior official dismissed Western anger at news Tehran is enriching uranium deep underground as cover for ulterior motives.

A day after Iran confirmed the start of enrichment at a mountain bunker near the holy city of Qom - and also sentenced an American to death for spying - the European Union brought forward a ministerial meeting that is likely to match new U.S. measures to hamper Iran's oil exports.

Japan took precautions in case it joins an international embargo on buying Iranian crude by asking Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help it make up any shortfall.

Iran's envoy to the U.N. nuclear body, the International Atomic Energy Agency, was scathing about reactions to Monday's news, confirmed by the IAEA, that the Fordow site was enriching uranium - something Western powers say is aimed at developing nuclear arms, rather than the civilian uses that Iran asserts. Read More