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Iran says it still has EU consumer base

July 10, 2012 at 9:27 AM
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TEHRAN, July 10 (UPI) -- Sanctions targeting the Iranian energy sector could backfire on Western allies seeking to isolate the Islamic republic, a vice president said.

U.S. and European sanctions targeting the Iranian energy sector went into force recently. Sanctions are meant to cut off oil revenue Iran could use for its nuclear program. Tehran maintains the program is for peaceful purposes, though some governments believe Iran is working to develop a weapon.

Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said the Iranian economy is large enough to withstand the impact of international sanctions. Iran, he added, would be able to increase its domestic production capacity under sanctions, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reports.

The semiofficial Mehr News Agency reports Iran has set up a mechanism between the country's central bank and Oil Ministry that would enable it to sell oil to European countries without violating sanctions.

Ahmad Qalebani, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Co., was quoted by Fars as saying there was still a European consumer base for Iranian oil.

"Despite the imposition of oil embargoes against Iran, some European companies operating in the refining industries still want to continue trade with the NIOC," he said.

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