President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking days ahead of a new round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program, said his country can last for years without exporting oil.
“Some want to create problems for Iran by sanctioning oil,” Ahmadinejad said during a visit today to the southern Hormozgan province. “I should say that we have so much funds that even if we don’t sell for two, three years the country will still be managed easily.”
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany are scheduled to hold talks on April 14 after a 15-month hiatus. Failure to reach tangible agreements may lead to stricter sanctions against Iran, which is already grappling with restrictions by the U.S. and the European Union on its trade, financial and energy sectors. An EU ban on oil purchases from Iran, the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will come into force in July.
Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said today that the country has stopped exporting oil to Greece, according to state-run Press TV. The channel reported on April 5 that Iran halted oil sales to two Greek companies, Hellenic Petroleum SA and Motor Oil Hellas SA, after they failed to pay.
Press TV also said today that Iran stopped crude supplies to Spain and was considering extending the measure to Germany and Italy, citing unidentified persons. The Oil Ministry cut exports to France and the U.K. in February, according to state media, pre-empting the EU ban.
EU nations bought 18 percent of Iran’s exports of crude and condensates, or 452,000 barrels a day, in the first half of 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Iran rejects accusations by the U.S. and its allies that its nuclear activities are aimed at building weapons and maintains that its intentions are peaceful.