(TEHRAN, Iran) — Iran is telling some of its steadiest oil customers that if they go along with tough sanctions to punish Tehran for its nuclear program, they won’t be getting any more fuel.
That message was delivered Wednesday by the Iranian Foreign Ministry to Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Greece and Portugal.
Iran’s state news agency reported, “Iran warns Europe it will find other customers for its oil. European people should know that if Iran changes destinations of the oil it gives to them, the responsibility will rest with the European governments themselves.”
It was the European Union last month that said it would install an embargo on Iranian oil by July 1 unless Iran stopped its uranium enrichment program, a major step in the development of nuclear weapons.
Iran also announced Wednesday advancements in its nuclear energy capabilities with centrifuges that can supposedly enrich uranium at a faster rate.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had telegraphed this announcement a few days earlier, celebrated the occasion by inserting the first nuclear fuel rod produced in Iran into a nuclear reactor.
Iran insists its nuclear ambitions are dedicated to peaceful pursuits, a claim widely disputed by Israel and the West.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chieu Luu and Huizhong Wu, CNN
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News
Steve Almasy, CNN
David Williams, CNN