France suggests replacement for Russian oil

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Paris reportedly wants sanctioned Iranian and Venezuelan crude to return to the global market

The French government wants to replace Russian oil by allowing sanctioned crude from Iran and Venezuela to return to the global market, news agencies reported on Monday, citing President Emmanuel Macron’s office.

Paris also wants a proposed mechanism to cap the price of oil to be as broad as possible and not limited to Russian exports, Reuters cited an official at the Élysée Palace as saying.

The statements come as the G7 group of nations, which consists of the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, UK and Japan, are meeting in Germany to discuss ways to increase economic pressure on Russia with the hope of forcing it to abandon its military operation in Ukraine.

Iran, which holds a quarter of the oil reserves in the Middle East, is currently under an almost total economic embargo by the US and its allies over its nuclear program. Tehran still exports its crude, however, with China being the biggest buyer. Iran’s president said last month that the country’s oil exports have doubled since last year, despite the sanctions.

Venezuela, which has the world’s largest known oil reserves, has been under US sanctions for over 15 years. The EU imposed restrictions on Caracas in 2017 due to concerns over the state of democracy and human rights in the South American country. However, after the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February and the subsequent ban on Russian oil by the US and a partial embargo from Europe, Washington indicated that it may relax economic pressure on Venezuela, which would include allowing an increase in oil exports. Earlier this month, Iran and Venezuela signed a 20-year cooperation deal covering energy, namely oil and gas, among other sectors.

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