TOUGH WORDS: Iran's OPEC governor said Tuesday a European Union embargo on Iranian oil would be "economic suicide" for Europe, the latest stiff statement reflecting Iranian concern about the prospect of deeper sanctions over its nuclear program.
SANCTIONS ON THE TABLE: European nations are considering whether to go along with new U.S. legislation outlawing transactions with Iran's central bank, indirectly limiting Iranian oil shipments by making it harder for customers to pay for them. Iran has reacted with a string of strong pronouncements. It threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which most of the Gulf's oil exports pass.
HTITING IRAN IN THE WALLET: Iran is OPEC's second largest oil producer. Oil exports account for 80 percent of Iran's foreign currency income. Iran sells about 20 percent of its oil exports to Europe.