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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

West Unlikely to Freeze Iranian Oil Export Ambassador

RIA Novosti

15:53 20/01/2012

MOSCOW, January 20 (RIA Novosti) - The European countries that will negotiate on Monday on a planned embargo of Iranian oil exports are unlikely to impose it, Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Seyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi said on Friday.

Tensions between Iran and the West have escalated in the past few weeks after Tehran threatened to stop oil supplies passing through the Strait of Hormuz if economic sanctions imposed by Western nations limit or prevent Iranian oil exports that make up some 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenues.

EU foreign ministers are set to meet on Monday to discuss a possible oil embargo against Iran and freezing Iran's central bank assets.

"I doubt that the oil embargo, on which the Americans are pinning hopes on, will be imposed,” Sajjadi said, adding that Iran “has its traditional oil-importing clients” who would not break their contracts with Iran under U.S. pressure.

Radzhab Safarov of the Moscow-based Center for Modern Iranian Studies told RIA Novosti that the oil embargo “is aimed at putting emotional and political pressure on Iran” since the idea of blocking Iranian oil export first appeared six months ago.

“Neither the EU nor the United States take seriously the idea of imposing the embargo,” Safarov said.

Asked whether Iran is considering the consequences of a possible conflict with the United States, the ambassador said that “it’s the responsibility of those who initiate this conflict.”

The United States, other Western powers and Israel suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its program is purely civilian.

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