Iran able to sell as much oil as it needs despite U.S. pressure: vice president

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran has been able to sell as much oil as it needs despite U.S. pressure, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri speaks during a news conference after a meeting with Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, south of Baghdad, February 18, 2015. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

The United States on Monday restored sanctions targeting Iran’s oil, banking and transport sectors and threatened more action to stop what Washington called its “outlaw” policies, steps Tehran called economic warfare and vowed to defy.

The measures are part of a wider effort by U.S. President Donald Trump to curb Tehran’s missile and nuclear programmes and diminish the Islamic Republic’s influence in the Middle East, notably its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

Trump’s moves target Iran’s main source of revenue – its oil exports – as well as its financial sector, essentially making 50 Iranian banks and their subsidiaries off limits to foreign banks on pain of losing access to the U.S. financial system.

“The Americans constantly said they would reduce the sale of Iran’s oil to zero but I have to say that so far, we have been able to sell our required amounts of oil,” Tasnim news agency quoted Jahangiri as saying.

“The Americans, with the help of propaganda, don’t see the realities.”

Jahangiri said he had spoken to a handful of managers from companies on the U.S. sanctions list and that some had already formulated plans on how to deal with the measures.

Separately, the head of Iran’s central bank, Abdolnasser Hemmati, said on Tuesday that banks should use their previous experience dealing with sanctions to help the country’s economic situation.

“Banks, with all their power, and by using their experience in the previous round of sanctions, should take steps to preserve and support the foreign trade process and financial transfers,” Hemmati was quoted by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) as saying.

Jahangiri said officials should be open with the Iranian public about the difficulties that may lie ahead, according to IRNA.

“It is our duty to keep some of the worries to ourselves,” IRNA quoted Jahangiri as saying. “But there shouldn’t be an issue that is hidden from the people. This is the people’s right.”


Iran’s nuclear programme

Iran’s crude exports 1975-2018

Iran’s crude exports, production

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Dale Hudson

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