Rostam Ghassemi

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghassemi has announced that Iran has stopped oil exports to France and Britain.

The Mehr News Agency reported on Sunday that the Oil Minister has issued a directive to the head of the National Oil Company of Iran prohibiting exports to French and British companies.

Therefore, the export of crude oil and all natural gas products to both two countries has been suspended effective immediately.

The Iranian Oil Ministry has said it will have no difficulty replacing these customers.

Mehr has also reported that the National Oil Company of Iran has written to a number of European countries, calling for crude oil sale agreements lasting two to five years.

The head of the Iranian Parliament’s Energy Commission announced that the suspension of oil sales to France and Britain may only be the beginning of further sanctions against other European countries, if the European Union fails to reconsider its sanctions on Iranian oil.

The EU state members have agreed to stop buying Iranian crude starting in July 2012.

Iran responded to that announcement by saying it will suspend oil sales to the EU effective immediately if it fails to reconsider.

Earlier, Press TV announced that the Islamic Republic had suspended oil sales to the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece. However, this news was denied by Hassan Tajik, the head of the Western Europe branch of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, who said oil exports to these countries have not been halted yet.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry later summoned representatives of the five European countries to warn them that Iran is prepared to find other customers for its crude.

The EU oil embargo against Iran came in response to the nuclear disputes with Iran.

The EU and the United States have failed, however, to convince Iran’s Asian customers to join the European oil embargo.