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26 January 2012 - 22:39

Following EU's decision to impose oil embargo against Iran, a senior Iranian lawmaker says the West is not able to easily find a replacement for the country's crude.

Head of Iran's Majlis Committee on Industries and Mines Seyyed Hossein Hashemi said Wednesday that replacing Iran's oil exports to Europe which account for 18 percent of the bloc's crude import “is not an easy task.”

Hashemi added that Iran, however, can “replace the European market by its Eastern Asian customers.”

After Iran and the P5+1 -- China, France, Russia, the UK and the US plus Germany -- reached an agreement to resume talks, the EU slapped new sanctions against Tehran on January 23.

The 27-member bloc agreed to ban oil imports as well as petroleum products from the major OPEC member state and freeze the assets of the Iranian Central Bank across the EU.

Following the EU foreign ministers' meeting on January 23, the bloc's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the sanctions were aimed at pressuring Iran to return to talks over the nuclear program.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to impose four rounds of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.
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