Iran gas field - AP - 19.7.2012
Part of the South Pars gas field facility, July 19, 2010. Photo by AP
Text size

Iran's official Press TV said the country has halted oil exports to Germany, a day after Tehran stopped crude exports to Spain and Greece, in an apparent move to strengthen its position ahead of crucial talks with world powers later this week.

The station says in a report Wednesday that Iran has cut the sale of crude to Germany as part of Tehran's pre-emptive retaliation over an EU embargo that is to go into effect in July.

Iran's reported move came a day after Press TV reported that the Islamic Republic cut oil exports to both Spain and Greece.

Iran's official Press TV also reported on Wednesday that the country plans to ban imports from 100 European companies as part of Tehran's pre-emptive retaliation against the EU embargo.

The station did not say which companies or countries would be singled out by the import ban.

Iran has played a tit-for-tat game over crude shipments since the European Union  agreed in January that it would stop all Iranian oil imports as of July. EU states have since sought alternative supplies before that deadline, with Iran threatening to cut exports before then.

"Tehran has cut oil supply to Spain after stopping crude export to Greece as part of its counter-sanctions," Press TV said, citing unidentified sources, adding that a similar move was being considered for Germany and Italy.

A spokesman for Spanish refiner Repsol said it had not been buying Iranian oil for months.

"No crude out of Iran for us since January," he said.

Repsol's imports of Iranian crude were estimated at around 65,000 barrels per day last year, making it one of Tehran's medium-sized European customers.

The EU was the second biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China before the embargo which is a direct strike on the OPEC member's biggest source of export income.

Most European buyers have already reduced or halted their purchases from Iran in anticipation of the July 1 deadline and because of increasing difficulties in paying for the crude after tough new sanctions were imposed on Iranian banks.

The sanctions are designed to force Iran to stop some of the atomic work that the EU and the United States suspect is part of a nuclear weapons program, a charge Tehran denies.