BRUSSELS—The European Union is split over whether to press ahead with an Iranian oil import embargo, with European diplomats describing an intense debate on the matter ahead of a Thursday meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Iran and its nuclear program will top the agenda at Thursday’s foreign ministers meeting in Brussels. EU foreign ministers are expected to add close to 200 Iranian companies and individuals to its sanctions list and will discuss the regional response to the attack on the British embassy in Tehran.
The foreign ministers are also set to expand sanctions on Syria, including slapping an export ban on equipment and software used for telecommunications and an export ban on key technology for the oil and gas sector. At least, 25 companies and individuals will be added to the current sanctions list, including financial and trade-related firms.
The agenda includes a discussion of the proposed Iranian oil embargo ban, an unprecedented potential step for Europe that has caught the attention of the oil market. But informal discussion in recent days has unearthed opposition from some EU members and unease from others, EU officials said.
Proponents of the embargo, such as France, had previously hoped that the official communique Thursday would include an agreement in principle by the EU to move ahead with the embargo. Advocates of the ban now consider such a decisive outcome less likely—at least on Thursday, according to Brussels officials.<...