ECONOMY

Iran oil embargo approved despite Greek objection

European Union governments on Monday formally approved an embargo on Iranian oil to start on Sunday, dismissing calls by debt-ridden Greece for possible exemptions to help ease its economic crisis.

They also warned Iran that more pressure could be put in place if it continued to defy international demands for limits on its nuclear program, which they say is geared toward developing weapons.

The Islamic Republic says its nuclear activity is for electricity production and other peaceful ends only.

Greece had pushed for a delay in the implementation of the EU ban — originally drafted in January — because it relies heavily on Iranian crude oil to meet its energy needs.

Tehran has offered preferential credit terms to debt-stricken Athens.

At a meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers said that the embargo would go ahead as planned, although they pledged to review its implementation in the future to ensure European governments retain sufficient access to crude.

?There is no change in terms of how we?re going forward on July 1,? EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on the sidelines of the meeting.

?The sanctions that have been agreed will be implemented.?

[Reuters]