By James Bryce
HALF of Spanish oil imports are to be lost due to an EU trade embargo against Iran.
The restrictions – agreed last month by European leaders following pressure from the US – will take effect on July 1.
Spain is one of Europe’s biggest importers of oil and has become increasingly dependent on Iran in the last year, with supplies increasing from 20 to 50 per cent due to political unrest in Libya.
The government is not among the countries supporting the embargo, with 80 per cent of Spain’s energy demand being met by oil.
“Spain is suffering the greatest damage from the embargoes against Iran and has always expressed support for the resumption of talks,” said Pedro Antonio Villena Perez, Spain’s new ambassador to Iran.
The import ban is the latest attempt by the West to force Iran into abandoning its attempts to develop nuclear weapons.
Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said: “The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table and meet.”