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Iran summons Danish envoy to protest EU oil embargo

Iran's deputy FM in charge of Europe and American affairs expresses insistence on not giving up "legitimate and legal rights" to Danish envoy

AFP , Tuesday 24 Jan 2012
Ali Asghar Khaji, (Photo: Reuters).

Iran on Tuesday summoned the Danish envoy, whose nation currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, after the 27-nation bloc moved to impose an embargo on Iranian oil exports, media reported.

A statement carried by official media said that Iranian deputy foreign minister in charge of Europe and American affairs, Ali Asghar Khaji, had expressed Tehran's "strong protest to this illogical decision" in his meeting with the diplomat.

"Iranian people have repeatedly proven that they will not give up their legitimate and legal rights under pressure and oppressive measures and will not do so in the future," Khaji reportedly told the envoy, Anders Christian Hougaard.

Khaji held the bloc "responsible for the repercussions of their unconsidered and crisis-making decision."

The European Union on Monday slapped an embargo on Iranian oil exports as the West ramped up pressure on Tehran over its controversial nuclear drive and urged it to return to the negotiating table.

The Islamic republic vehemently denies that its nuclear programme masks a nuclear weapons drive as the West alleges, and insists it is for civilian purposes only.

Iran is already under four rounds of United Nations sanctions.

EU foreign ministers agreed on an immediate ban on oil imports and a phase-out of existing contracts up to 1 July. They also froze the assets of Iran's central bank while ensuring legitimate trade under strict conditions.

The bloc imported some 600,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil in the first 10 months of last year, making it a key market alongside India and China, which has refused to bow to pressure from Washington to dry up Iran's oil revenues.

The new EU sanctions meanwhile would make it even more difficult for Iran, to be paid in foreign currency for its oil exports, worth more than 100 billion dollars in 2011.

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