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June 9, 2019

Iran says selling oil through ‘unconventional’ means

Business

June 9, 2019

By Monitoring

Tehran: Iran is keeping up oil sales through "unconventional" means to circumvent US sanctions, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in an interview published Saturday.

"We have unofficial or unconventional sales, all of which are secret, because if they are made known America would immediately stop them," he said, quoted by the oil ministry’s SHANA news agency.

Zanganeh declined to give details on Iran’s oil exports, saying he would not disclose figures until sanctions were lifted.

In May 2018, Washington withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that granted Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its atomic programme.

Washington reimposed oil sanctions on Iran last November, but initially gave eight countries, including several allies such as China, six-month waivers.

Iran’s oil shipments tumbled to 750,000 barrels per day in April compared to 1.5 million in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The White House in May ended all the waivers as part of a "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran.

According to Zanganeh, the US has reached an "evil maturity" in tightening the noose on Iran’s economy using "smart sanctions".

"The most severe organised sanctions in history are currently being imposed on Iran," he said.

Zangane, in an another interview published by the Iranian parliament news site ICANA said the country has no plans to leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh.

“Iran has no plans to leave OPEC...and regrets that some members of OPEC have turned this organization into a political forum for confronting two founding members of OPEC, meaning Iran and Venezuela,” Zanganeh told ICANA.

“And two regional countries are showing enmity towards us in this organization. We are not their enemy but they are showing enmity towards us...and (they) use oil as a weapon against us in the global market and world.”

Zanganeh did not name the two countries.

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have spiked this year after the two said they would increase oil production to make up for Iranian crude cut from the market by U.S. sanctions.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration added Iran’s largest petrochemical holding group to its sanctions list, accusing it of indirectly supporting Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards. Washington said the move aimed to dry up revenues to the elite Iranian military force but analysts called it largely symbolic.

The Trump administration is seeking to intensify economic and military pressure against Iran because of its nuclear and missile programmes as well as its support for proxy groups in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

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