Iran oil minister: Sanctions ineffective

Feb. 7, 2012 at 8:54 AM
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ARAK, Iran, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The oil industry in Iran is independent so sanctions recently imposed on the republic will be ineffective, Iran's oil minister said Tuesday.

Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi, speaking in Arak, said the country's oil industry has a dynamic and bright future despite pressures and sanctions from the West, the government-backed Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

He said scientific gains made by domestic experts would demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the sanctions.

The European Union on Jan. 23 banned Iranian oil exports and froze the assets of Iran's central bank in the bloc's member countries to pressure Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program. On Dec. 31, the United States imposed sanctions targeting Iran's central bank and Monday President Barack Obama announced he signed an executive order that freezes Iranian state assets in the United States.

Despite the West's sanctions and pressures, Iran's oil industry will have a dynamic and bright future, said Qasemi addressing the inauguration ceremony of a development project in this central Iranian province.

The commander of Iran's volunteer force, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, also said the sanctions would be ineffective, Iran's Fars News Agency said.

"Western sanctions are doomed from the very outset and useless, as they are not economical in nature and their essence is official and bureaucratic," Naqdi said Monday.

Naqdi said Iran could sell 82 percent of its oil and the increase in oil prices because of the sanctions would cover the 18 percent previously sold to European Union members, which now Tehran can keep.

He also said the sanctions and embargo benefit Iran by reducing the country's imports and by creating "200,000 new jobs … with $1 billion reduction in imports" that would help lower the country's unemployment rate.

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