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Middle East

Egypt denies in talks to buy Iranian oil

In this image released by the Egyptian Presidency on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, center right, attends a meeting with U.S. delegates in Cairo, Egypt. Photo/Egyptian Presidency

CAIRO: Egypt denied on Tuesday comments attributed to Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi that it was in talks to buy Iranian crude oil.

The Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported the comments on Monday.

"All that has been published on negotiations being held for Egypt to buy Iranian oil is completely devoid of truth," Egyptian Oil Minister Osama Kamal told Reuters.

"I can confirm that the Egyptian Petroleum Ministry has not entered into this type of negotiation before, and all that has been said on the matter is totally untrue," he added.

Iran has been looking for new buyers for its oil as western sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme squeeze sales to long-time customers.

Iranian officials have said on several occasions over the last few months they are in talks to sell oil to new customers, but rarely name them a n d there is little evidence of significant volumes of oil being shipped to new customers.

Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Cairo broke down after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution over Egypt's support for the overthrown Shah and its peace agreement with Iran's arch-enemy Israel.

Since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, there have been signs of warming relations, including Egyptian President Muhamed Mursi last month making the first visit to Tehran by an Egyptian leader in more than 30 years.

Kamal told state owned Al-Ahram newspaper earlier this month that Cairo had "no objection" to importing Iranian crude and processing it in Egyptian refineries.

The European Union imposed a total ban on purchases of Iranian crude from July, making it difficult for Tehran to sell all its oil, the lifeblood of its economy.

 

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