Middle East News
Iran parliament postpones debate on bill halting oil sales to EU
Jan 29, 2012, 13:09 GMT
Tehran - The Iranian parliament has postponed debating a bill aimed at stopping oil sales to European Union countries involved in an oil embargo initiative against Iran, a lawmaker said Sunday.
The parliament's energy commission had prepared the bill on Wednesday and wanted a vote in Sunday's session, but commission spokesman Emad Hosseini said the action was postponed.
Hosseini told the Mehr news agency that further discussions with the government were necessary before the bill was brought before parliament.
According to the draft bill, Iran would halt all oil exports to European countries as long as they continued to ban oil imports from Iran. The aim was to force the government to take the upper hand and impose a ban on oil exports to the EU before the bloc's embargo is imposed in July.
EU foreign ministers decided last week on an embargo on Iranian oil and a freeze on the accounts of the Iranian central bank.
An estimated 18 per cent of Iranian oil exports go to the EU, in large part to Greece, Italy and Spain. The main customers for Iranian oil are India, Japan, Korea and Turkey.
The parliament has in the past called for drastic measures such as decreasing cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, or expelling the British ambassador over a decision by London to cut ties with Iran's central bank.
The government has so far ignored most of the parliamentary decisions, and it remains to be seen how it will react to the oil ban bill.