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Greece is pressing its European Union partners to make last-minute concessions over a forthcoming EU embargo on Iranian oil, complicating the bloc's efforts to unveil a sweeping package of sanctions against Tehran on Monday.

European diplomats are confident that EU foreign ministers will agree plans on Monday to impose a phased ban on the import of crude oil from Iran over the next few months.

But Greek brinkmanship has added an element of suspense to Monday's meeting, which is aimed at imposing the most serious sanctions the EU has ever agreed in protest at Iran's nuclear programme.

The imposition of a ban on Iranian oil will be painful for a range of southern European countries, such as Italy and Spain, which are heavily dependent on imports from Iran.

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