Iran says it may stop exporting oil if international sanctions against it are intensified, adding that it has a contingency plan for running the country without oil revenues.
According to Reuters, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghassemi told reporters in Dubai on Tuesday October 23: “If sanctions intensify, we will stop exporting oil.”
“We have prepared a plan to run the country without any oil revenues,” he added. “So far to date, we haven’t had any serious problems, but if the sanctions were to be renewed we would go for ‘Plan B’.”
The U.S. and the EU have imposed widespread sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the aim of resolving their nuclear disputes with Iran. Reports indicate that the sanctions have more than halved Iran’s oil revenues.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful but has also shown willingness to negotiate with the world powers.
Ghassemi told reporters: “If you continue to add to the sanctions we (will) cut our oil exports to the world… We are hopeful that this doesn’t happen, because citizens will suffer. We don’t want to see European and U.S. citizens suffer.” He intimated that a complete halt to Iranian oil exports would drive up the price of oil.
The Oil Minister did not give any details on how the country would operate with oil revenues. Reuters report indicates that oil exports constitute half of Iranian government revenues and 80 percent of Iran’s exports.
Ghassemi stressed: “Iran has been facing U.S. sanctions for 30 years while successfully managing its oil sector.”
Despite the minister’s statements, the Iranian economy appears to be facing grave problems with a plummeting national currency and continued inflation.