Iran Claims It Can Withstand Years of Financial Blockade


Speaking ahead of fresh talks over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he is confident his country will be able to withstand years of financial blockage that threatens to destroy its oil export market.

In a bid to convey a message of political and economic strength, Ahmadinejad said his country has a large amount of financial reserves that would allow Iran to survive for years without having to export oil.

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The Fars news agency reported Ahmedinejad as saying during a visit to the southern Hormozgan province:

Some want to create problems for Iran by sanctioning oil. I should say that we have so much hard currency as we need and the country will manage well even if we don’t sell a single barrel of oil for two or three years.

Iran is the second-largest oil producer in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, and oil exports account for almost 80 percent of the country’s foreign revenue.

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Earlier this year, the United States and its allies, notably the European Union, took swift steps to impose strict financial sanctions to force Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Iran insists its goals are entirely peaceful.

In January, members of the European Union agreed in principle to impose a complete oil embargo on Iran. Spain and Greece reported today its Iranian crude imports are almost close to zero.

Despite Iran’s insistence that the oil embargo would not affect its economy, Europe accounts for almost 20 percent of Iranian oil exports.

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As countries scramble to find alternative oil partners or risk US-led financial penalties, the International Energy Agency said the wide-ranging sanctions against Iran could reduce its oil exports by as much as 40 percent, or 1 million barrels per day.

Mirroring Ahmadinejad’s confidence, Iran’s oil minister Rostam Qassemi said:

Iranian oil has high economic value, and the international oil market would never neglect it. Despite sanctions and threats, we have no problems in upstream oil industries, including production, and therefore we can say today: Goodbye, sanctions.

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