Australia will follow the European Union and ban oil imports from Iran, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has announced during a visit to London.
The European Union on January 23 agreed on an immediate ban on new contracts for Iranian oil imports but said existing contracts with Iran would be allowed to run until July 1.
The ban is aimed at pressuring Iran to return to international talks over its nuclear program.
Western powers suspect the program is aimed at making atomic weapons -- an allegation that Iran denies.
The EU accounts for about 20 percent of Iranian oil exports.
Iran's Oil Ministry says it believes that the sanctions will be ineffective because Iran can easily find new markets for its oil.
compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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