- - Tuesday, February 21, 2012

IRAN

Iran sets conditions for oil to EU nations

TEHRAN — Iran has laid out conditions for future oil exports to other European countries after halting sales to Britain and France this week, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters that Tehran seeks guarantees of payments, long-term contracts and a ban on unilateral cancellation of contracts by buyers. He said all these should be considered if Europe wants continued trade and oil relations.

The remarks came a day after oil prices jumped to a nine-month high of more than $105 a barrel following Iran’s announced halts in crude shipments in an escalation of the dispute over the country’s nuclear program.

Tehran said Monday it is considering extending the oil embargo to other European Union countries.

The halt in crude to British and French companies was an apparent pre-emptive blow against the EU after the bloc imposed sanctions on Iran’s fuel exports, including a freeze of the country’s central bank assets and an oil embargo set to begin in July.

EGYPT

Islamists deride government ‘failure’

CAIRO — The party belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday slammed the “failure” of the military-appointed government, and renewed its call for a national consensus Cabinet.

Egypt still suffers increasing economic and security crises which confirms the failure of the current government,” the Freedom and Justice Party said in a statement.

The Freedom and Justice Party, which won a crushing victory in recent parliamentary elections, stressed “the need to form a national consensus government that expresses the choice of the Egyptian people in the legislative elections.”

The Brotherhood has recently called for the government to be sacked, saying it should govern.

In the statement, the Freedom and Justice Party reiterated its “rejection” of the government’s acceptance of a loan from the International Monetary Fund. It said the country could rely on many of its financial resources “before resorting to foreign loans.”

Egypt’s finance minister said his government would sign a memorandum of understanding with the IMF in March for a previously spurned $3.2 billion loan, state media reported Sunday.

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