Iran says stopped fueling European aircraft

By Reuters
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has stopped providing fuel to European aircraft in retaliation for their refusal to fuel Iranian aircraft, the state-run Iran newspaper quoted a senior official as saying on Wednesday.

“In a retaliatory move, we have stopped providing fuel to European aircraft,” said first Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, the daily reported.

Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law far-reaching new sanctions on Iran that targeted the country’s fuel imports, punishing any company worldwide that exports gasoline or other refined petroleum products to Iran.

Reports said Iranian planes had been denied fuel in Germany, Britain and a Gulf Arab state.

Iran, at loggerheads with the West over its nuclear programme, has been hit by international sanctions over its uranium enrichment activities, which the West fears are part of a plan to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies the charge.

Iran had warned European countries in 2010 that it would take action if some Western countries continued to refuse to supply fuel for Iranian planes.

The U.S. legislation did not make clear whether its new sanctions were intended to require firms to refuse to refuel Iranian aircraft at airports in third countries.

Iran is a crude oil producer and a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). But it lacks refining capacity to meet its demand because of international sanctions and has for a long time imported 40 percent of its gasoline needs.

The Islamic state anounced in 2010 that it had started exporting the fuel.