Source: Asia Times: By Emanuele Scimia
The approved oil sanctions against Iran signal an unusual assertiveness of the European Union. For Europe, however, it will not be an easy ride to find alternatives sources to the Iranian crude, while the embargo’s impact on the Islamic Republic could be soften by demand from Asia-Pacific countries. The Strait of Hormuz is narrowing day by day: unless Washington and Tehran reach a sort of strategic accommodation. The European Union (EU) finally reached on January 23 a deal among its 27 state members to cut back oil and petrochemical imports from Iran. A hard-won decision lining up with the United States’ efforts to prevent Tehran from developing its (supposed) military nuclear program. EU high representative for foreign affairs Catherine Ashton stressed that the sanctions were a way of bringing Iran back into negotiations with the 5+1 (the five permanent United Nations Security Council members plus Germany).