Iran says that the European Union oil embargo will have no effect on the Islamic Republic and vowed to pursue its "rights" to nuclear technology.
Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on Sunday that Tehran was fully ready to confront the West's sanctions on the country's oil industry. Iran's oil has its own markets and the Iranian government has studied all the possible options in dealing with the sanctions, he was quoted by Iranian state media as saying.
Iran's oil is sold in the international markets, Qasemi said adding that presently Iranian oil was purchased by several European states, some of which had been participating in the development of the country's oil projects. Qasemi's reaction came as the EU embargo on Iran's oil exports started to take effect from Sunday.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has been facing oil sanctions for several years," and sanctions have had no effects on the development of the country's oil industry. Iran's oil exports to the EU stood at 18 percent before the embargo and the figure is too low compared to the amount exported to other countries, the report said.
Since Iran's oil is both price-competitive and high quality, it has numerous customers throughout the world, the Minister said, stressing that Tehran had entered negotiations with many new customers of Iranian oil. Also, Qasemi shrugged off the oil embargo, saying that Tehran is completely prepared to counter the measures.
Qasemi said sanctions against Iran's oil had been existing for many years, stressing that it would be wrong to consider that the sanctions only started on Sunday. He warned those who have imposed the oil sanctions on Iran and said "we have repeatedly said you (Westerners) should not politicize the oil market because the citizens of those countries that impose the embargo will be hit the hardest."
Qasemi described as "irrational and illegal" the bid to impose sanctions on Iran and emphasized that his country would pursue the issue through international bodies.
Qasemi's deputy and Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Ahmad Qalebani said Tehran could easily find new substitutes for EU customers of Iranian crude. The EU oil embargo posed no challenge to Tehran, he added.
Iran is reeling under several round of Western sanctions because of its disputed nuclear program which the West says is aimed at developing atomic weapons, a charge Tehran consistently denies saying that its uranium enrichment is for peaceful purpose. Iran says it has every right to seek nuclear energy as long as it continued to be a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran's nuclear stand-off with the West still continued despite several round of talks on the issue.
by RTT Staff Writer
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