EU Fails to Agree on Exemptions for Iran Oil Transport Insurance

March 20, 2012

European Union diplomats on Tuesday postponed a decision on whether to grant any exemptions to insurance provided for Iranian crude shipments when the bloc implements oil sanctions on Iran, an EU diplomat said.

Asian oil importers have lobbied European governments for exceptions to ensure oil deliveries, but some EU capitals are wary of weakening the impact of EU measures on Iran, which aim to press the Tehran government to hold back on its nuclear work.

On Tuesday, representatives in Brussels of EU governments debated a proposal to allow all insurance on Iranian crude bound for countries outside the EU to be extended until July 1. But there was no agreement.

“For the moment there is no deal,” an EU diplomat with close knowledge of the talks said. “Discussions will continue tomorrow.”

EU foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels on Friday.

The EU agreed an oil embargo in January to stop members from importing Iranian oil, but set up a transition period that allows EU states to continue bringing in oil under existing contracts until July. The embargo also specified a ban on EU insurers and reinsurers from indemnifying vessels carrying Iranian crude and fuel anywhere in the world.

 

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