Iran brushes off EU energy sanctions

July 27, 2010 at 9:29 AM

TEHRAN, July 27 (UPI) -- Iranian companies are processing all of the country's vast oil and gas reserves amid new energy sanctions on the country, the Iranian oil minister declared.

The European Union imposed extra sanctions Monday against Iran. The sanctions target the financial and trade sectors as well as the energy industry in Iran. The package includes visa bans and asset freezes for Iranian banks, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iranian shipping companies.

Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mir Kazemi said his country was capable of exploiting natural resources independently amid increased pressure on the Iranian energy sector.

"Over the past 31 years, Iranian companies and workers in Iran's oil industry have developed this industry in the country and even if new sanctions are imposed by the European Union, our (oil) production will not drop," he told the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Iran sits on some of the largest oil and gas deposits in the world. Inadequate refining capacity forces the country to rely on imports for a portion of its energy needs, however.

The EU sanctions follow similar action by U.S. President Barack Obama who signed off on unilateral sanctions against Iran in early July.

Washington and it Western allies claim Iran is pursuing the technology needed to develop a nuclear weapon, a claim Tehran has repeatedly denied.

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