TEHRAN, April 17 (UPI) -- An oil exhibition in Iran is a chance to show that sanctions do little to displace the country as a world leader, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said.
Iran kicks off its 18th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition this week. Qasemi said the event showcases Iran's ability to make progress in the energy sector despite economic sanctions.
"(Sanctions) have not only failed to paralyze Iran but also contributed to the blossoming of national domestic talents in the light of self-sufficiency campaign," he was quoted by Press TV as saying.
Qasemi said he expects more than 1,000 foreign and domestic companies to attend the four-day event.
Countries can get exemptions from U.S. sanctions if they reduce imports of Iranian crude oil. The sanctions, by the United States and other Western governments, are meant to limit funding for Iran's nuclear program.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its April report, said Iranian crude oil production declined from 2.7 million barrels per day in January to 2.6 million bpd in March.
South Korean imports of Iranian crude oil declined 17 percent in March, Bloomberg News reported this week. Oil imports by Seoul stopped last year but resumed in October when Iran offered its own vessels to transport crude oil.