Iran has taken preemptive steps against a European Union ban on Iranian oil imports, due to come into effect on July 1, by cutting oil exports to six European countries.
Iranian Press TV announced on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic is cutting oil exports to six European countries, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal. It said it will only agree to sell oil to European countries that are prepared to come to long term agreements and guarantee payment.
The decision was not unexpected. Digital Journal reported on January 29 that Iranian lawmakers were considering implementing a ban ahead of the European Union sanctions.
The halt of exports to Greece will have a particular devastating effect on the already critical economy as Greece is heavily reliant on Iranian oil for about 17 percent of its needs. Greece's original veto of the sanctions was only removed when the EU agreed to delay sanctions by six months to allow time for Greece to find an alternate supplier.
According to the Washington Post the price of oil rose steeply in response to the Iranian announcement.