Iran warns that it could stop exporting oil, driving global crude prices up, should the US and allied Europe tighten sanctions further. For such a case, Tehran says, it has a contingency strategy to carry on without oil revenues.
“If you continue to add to the sanctions, we will stop our oil exports to the world,” Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi told reporters Tuesday. “The lack of Iranian oil in the market would drastically add to the price.”
Iran is currently under pressure from international sanctions, mainly in oil exports, imposed by the UN Security Council, the US and the EU in order to curb the Islamic Republic’s controversial nuclear program. Washington and some if its allies believe the program is being used to develop a nuclear weapon.
On October 15, the European Union foreign ministers approved a new package of sanctions targeting Iran’s financial, trade, energy, transportation and telecommunications sectors.
Earlier in October, American lawmakers also extended the already tough sanctions against Iran.
The measures have severely hurt the Islamic Republic’s economy.
However, Qasemi said that Iran has a “Plan B” which will enable the country to make due without profits from oil sales. He did not mention how long the economy could function, though, without selling oil.
Iran is still pumping oil at capacity and producing 4 million barrels per day (bpd), Qasemi said, denying OPEC’s report that the country's output has fallen to around 2.7 million bpd. He added that "Iran has been facing US sanctions for 30 years while successfully managing its oil sector."
Angered by a new round of sanctions, Iranian lawmakers are working on a “preemptive embargo package” which would hit European states, Press TV reported.
Officials plan to impose sanctions in three phases.
The first will deprive Iran’s enemies of its high-quality light and heavy crude oil. According to the report, 70 European oil-refining plants depend on Iranian oil.
The second phase is a ban on goods transported from European states that participated in imposing the sanctions against Tehran.
And the third would prohibit Iranian citizens from traveling to hostile countries.