Iran said Sunday the European Union definitely will not impose sanctions on the country's oil exports as the measure will harm the global crude market, the Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said.
Our policy is sustainable supply of oil to Europe ... Iran is a major oil producer and any sanctions on our oil export will definitely harm the global market, Qasemi told a news conference.
EU leaders called Friday for more sanctions against Iran by the end of January, in an effort to increase pressure on Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.
Last week, EU foreign ministers agreed to develop new sanctions on Iran's energy, transport and banking sectors. Diplomats said a ban on imports of Iranian oil into Europe was under discussion.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last month released new evidence confirming international concerns that Iran is seeking the atom bomb. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Iranian authorities say the sanctions have had no impact on Iran's economy and have defied the U.N. Security Council's demands to halt the country's sensitive nuclear work.
Iran is OPEC's number two oil producer, exporting 2.6 million barrels a day.
We have no problem to find a replacement for the EU oil market and we can easily replace the European market, Qasemi said.
France, backed by Germany and Britain, has led the push to ban its crude, but some states, notably Greece, have expressed reservations, because of their reliance on Iranian oil.
(Reporting by Ramin Mostafavi; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)