The United States has welcomed an agreement in principle by European governments to ban the import of Iranian crude oil as "very good news."
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news briefing that Washington would like to see other countries take similar steps.
"These are the kinds of steps that we would like to see not just from our close allies and partners in places like Europe, but from countries around the world," Nuland says, "because we do believe that this is consistent with tightening the noose on Iran economically and we think that the place to get Iran's attention is with regard to its oil sector."
The sanctions against Iran are intended to punish Tehran for its controversial nuclear activities.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that a decision on a European embargo on Iranian oil could be taken at an EU foreign ministers meeting on January 30 in Brussels.
The French AFP news agency reports that oil from Iran in 2010 amounted to 5.8 percent of total EU imports, making Tehran the bloc's fifth-largest supplier of oil after Russia, Norway, Libya, and Saudi Arabia.
compiled from agency reports