Iran is taking legal action against 20 foreign companies that have failed to honor their contracts to supply equipment for Iranian oil refineries.
Deputy Oil Minister Alireza Zeighami, who is also the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), said on Tuesday that some foreign companies, mostly European firms, have not met their obligations yet, the Mehr News Agency reported.
He noted that some foreign companies have sent Iran goods and spare parts needed for its oil refineries through intermediaries.
“Over the last few months, some of these foreign companies, and especially some of those companies holding European licenses, under contract with Iran have not adhered to their contractual obligations in the development of oil refineries,” Zeighami added.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi recently warned that any companies which fail to meet their contractual obligations will be excluded from Iran's oil and gas sectors.
Apparently the companies did not supply the contracted equipment because of the unilateral sanctions imposed by the European Union on Iran’s oil industry.
EU foreign ministers met in Brussels on January 23 and approved new sanctions against Iran which forbid EU members from importing Iranian crude or doing business with the Central Bank of Iran.
The EU sanctions on the Iranian oil sector will come into effect on July 1. Tehran has already cut oil exports to several European countries as part of its countersanctions in response to the EU measure.
The EU says the sanctions were imposed to cripple the Iranian economy in order to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. However, Tehran says such acts have already backfired and led to higher prices in the global oil market.
Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and thus has the right to enrich uranium to produce fuel.
And the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.