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1 February 2012 - 22:25

The Russian Ambassador to the European Union says the bloc's recent sanctions against Iran's oil and banking sectors deal a heavy blow to the crisis-ridden economies of EU member states.

In an interview with the Interfax news agency on Wednesday, Vladimir Chizhov said the ban on Iranian oil imports harms EU interests since Greece, Spain and Italy as the biggest consumers of the Iran's oil in Europe have been hit hard by the Eurozone crisis.

He also noted that the unilateral embargoes imposed on Tehran “have exhausted their potential.”

The Russian official further described the sanctions as “untimely” as an all-out effort to resolve standoff over Iranian nuclear energy program has been renewed.

On January 23, EU foreign ministers imposed new sanctions on Iran which include a ban on purchasing oil from the country, a freeze on the assets of Iran's Central Bank within the EU, and a ban on the sale of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to Iran.

This comes while Iran and the P5+1 have agreed to hold another round of talks, presumably in Turkey.

The two parties held two rounds of multifaceted talks in Geneva in December 2010 and in the Turkish city of Istanbul last January.

The US, Israel and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to sway the UNSC to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran.

Echoing the US-led allegations, the IAEA released a report in November 2011, accusing Iran of conducting activities related to the development of nuclear weapons before 2003 and saying that these activities "may still be ongoing."

Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
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News ID 181449