EXCLUSIVE-Ban stops Europe majors trading Iran oil globally

Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:51pm GMT

* Total, Shell big buyers of Iranian oil

* Firms could declare force majeure in July-lawyer

* Switzerland might stall on EU sanctions

By Emma Farge

ZURICH/BRUSSELS, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The EU is banning not only imports of Iranian oil but also crude purchased by European companies, including Total and Royal Dutch Shell, for sale to non-EU destinations, lawyers and officials familiar with the terms of the sanctions told Reuters.

The European Union on Monday embargoed imports of oil from Iran and imposed a number of other economic sanctions, joining the United States in a new round of measures aimed at slowing Tehran's nuclear development programme.

European oil companies will be forced to sever all dealings in Iran crude by July.

"It is a complete prohibition," said a senior EU official, who added that oil firms' global sales were deliberately targeted. A European diplomatic source told Reuters that the sanctions were part of a push to cut the country's oil revenues by 50 percent.

Three lawyers specialising in trade and sanctions said the sanctions would also make it illegal for EU firms to deal in Iranian oil regardless of the port of destination.   Continued...

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