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Europe targets Iranian oil, gold, diamonds, central bank

EU Agrees to Ban Iran Oil Imports to Target Nuclear Program

January 23, 2012, 9:32 AM EST

By Ewa Krukowska and Thomas Penny

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) — European Union foreign ministers agreed to ban oil imports from Iran starting July 1 as part of measures to ratchet up the pressure on the Persian Gulf nation’s nuclear program, the 27-nation bloc said in a statement.

The EU will freeze assets of the Iranian central bank in Europe as well as of eight other entities and ban the trade in gold, precious metals, diamonds and petrochemical products from Iran, the EU said.

“Today’s decisions target the sources of the finance for the nuclear program, complementing already existing sanctions,” the EU said, adding that it has “banned imports of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products.”

Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf passageway for about 20 percent of globally traded oil, if the EU and the U.S. impose stricter sanctions. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait ship crude and liquefied natural gas through the strait.

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