Spain stopped importing Iranian oil “at the end of February” because of the imposition of a gradual European Union embargo, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.
“We haven’t imported Iranian oil since the end of February as businesses have diversified their buying because of Europeansanctions,” a ministry spokesman said.
“This is the logical fallout of Spain’s support for European sanctions,” he said, adding that this had complicated financial transactions with Tehran.
“Spain is badly hit because we used to import a lot of Iranian oil,” he added.
Last year, Iran was Spain’s third largest oil provider with a total of 7.5 million tonnes, just over 14 percent of its total imports, according to official Spanish figures.
Iranian media earlier Tuesday said Tehran had cut oil exports to Spain as part of a pre-emptive stoppage of crude sales to EU countries, which have called for a full embargo on Iranian oil imports as of July 1.
The European Union and the United States have been increasing sanctions on Iran to punish it for activities they fear masks a drive towards nuclear weapons capability — something Tehran denies it is seeking.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday defiantly said Iran was able to survive up to three years without selling any of its oil, which last year earned it $100 billion.
“We have enough foreign currency so that, even if one barrel of oil is not sold for two or even three years, the country will be managed well and the enemies will not see their wishes (come true),” he said in a televised speech.
Iran is the second-biggest producer in OPEC, pumping some 3.5 million barrels a day, 2.5 million of which are exported.