European Union governments moved closer to halting oil purchases from Iran, stepping up the confrontation over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
EU foreign ministers are aiming to announce harsher sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking industries at their next meeting on Jan. 30 after Greece lifted its objections to an oil embargo.
“We want to tighten sanctions on Iran — the things that have been mentioned are the oil sector and the financial sector,” EU spokesman Michael Mann said by telephone in Brussels yesterday.
Oil fluctuated near an eight-month high after the European Union said it’s working to sanction oil imports from Iran and its banks and on concern that Europe’s debt crisis will affect consumption market. Crude for February delivery rose 29 cents to settle at $103.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.