EU agrees to block Iranian oil

After some extended deliberation, the European Union has agreed to the terms on a new set of sanctions for the Middle Eastern nation of Iran.

Bloomberg reports that the new restrictions are set to begin on July 1 and will focus largely on a strict ban on petroleum product imports from the major oil-producing nation.

However, the sanctions also include bans on dealing in gold, precious metals and diamonds as well as freezing the assets of many Iranian institutions, including the nation's central bank.

The most immediate impact of the decision was on oil prices, which rose sharply on the news, but Reuters reports that Iran quickly responded with its own threats. The deputy head of the parliament foreign affairs and national security committee, Mohammad Kossari, reiterated a threat made last month to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers.

The oil ships going through the strait carry around one-fifth of the world's supply of oil, but Western officials affirmed such a closure would not go unopposed.

"We can keep the Strait of Hormuz open and we will do what is necessary to achieve that," Ivo Daalder, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, told the BBC, according to Bloomberg.

Information on oil production in the Middle East can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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