New figures indicate how Italy has increased its oil imports from Iran in 2010 by 80.6 percent despite sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic's civilian nuclear program.
Data published by Italy's industry group Unione Petrolifera on Wednesday said that Iran's crude supply accounted for 13.3 percent of Rome's total oil imports.
Iran, the fourth-biggest oil supplier to Italy, exported 10.377 million tons of oil to the European country in 2010.
Italy's oil imports increased by 2.2 percent to reach 77.893 million tons last year, the data showed. Rome heavily relies on energy imports as they lack natural energy resources.
The surge in Italy's imports from Iran comes as the United States and its allies have imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran's energy sector.
The West accuses Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and used this pretext to pressure the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions against the country's financial and military sectors in June.
The Iranian officials have repeatedly refuted the charges, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has a right to use peaceful nuclear technology.
Iran is the second largest oil producer of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, better known as OPEC, and the world's fourth biggest crude supplier.