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Iran says has no oil expert to France to be sanctioned

Iran said on Friday it had no crude exports to France, which could be subjected to sanctions over the Islamic state's disputed nuclear programme, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

November 25, 2011 3:46 by

This week France’s foreign ministry first suggested and then back-tracked on the imposition of a unilateral ban on oil from Iran, making clear it would only act over Iran’s nuclear programme as part of an EU-wide plan.

“The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) does not export any crude oil to France to get subjected to sanctions,” head of NIOC Ahmad Qalebani told Mehr.

France imported 20,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude in the first half of 2011, according to United States government data. European Union countries accounted for 18 percent of Iranian crude oil sales in that period, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) also said.

The French remarks provoked a wave of comment across Europe, suggesting a growing determination to toughen sanctions — an issue that is likely to be central to an EU foreign ministers’ meeting on Dec. 1.

The European Union’s energy commissioner said a ban on Iranian oil imports would not be a problem for the European Union’s energy security.

The United States and its allies say Iran is trying to build bombs under cover of a civilian nuclear programme. Tehran denies this, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity. (Reporting by Parisa Hafezi)

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