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Australia To Follow EU Lead On Iran Sanctions

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced the Iran oil embargo during a visit to London on January 24.
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