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France plays down Iranian move to halt oil exports

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Feb 20 –  Authorities on Monday played down Iran’s decision to halt oil exports to France, part of escalating tensions between the Islamic Republic and the West over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

The Foreign Ministry said the decision had little affect as French oil companies have already halted purchases of Iranian oil under European Union sanctions passed last month, which target Iran’s central bank assets and aim for a bloc-wide import embargo in July.

Ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani said the sanctions aim to persuade “Iran to resume negotiations on its nuclear program” _ and respond to international concerns.

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