Total CEO calls Iran oil embargo'an 'error'

2nd July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The CEO of French energy giant Total on Friday criticised sanctions against Iran, saying an embargo on petrol products was an "error" that would harm ordinary people.

Speaking at an economic forum in Aix-en-Provence in southern France, Christophe de Margerie confirmed Total had suspended its deliveries to Iran in line with sanctions adopted by the UN, US and European Union in response to Tehran's refusal to halt its uranium enrichment programme.

"I maintain this is a mistake. The embargo affects the population, too many things are politicised these days," he told media.

"We do not think an embargo on the delivery of petrol products is a good way to settle differences of a political nature," he said.

De Margerie said Total would resume deliveries at the first opportunity, saying it was a "serious mistake to mix things that are civil and political".

On June 9, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme.

Additional US sanctions aimed at interrupting petrol imports were approved Thursday by President Barack Obama. The EU is set to finalise further measures at a meeting of foreign ministers July 26.

The US sanctions would prevent foreign companies from doing business with the US government if they had commercial ties to Iran.

Iran is the world's fourth largest crude oil producer but lacks refinery capacity and is heavily dependent on imports of petrol and refined products.

© 2010 AFP

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