Commander of Iran’s Basij (volunteer) force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi called on Iranian officials to end imports from the western countries as part of a preemptive move to counter the West’s sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Addressing a conference here in Tehran on Saturday, Naqdi pointed to Iran’s self-sufficiency in gasoline production after the US boycott of gasoline supplies to Iran, and stated, “We decided to do so (i.e. reaching self-sufficiency in gasoline production) after they (westerners) imposed sanctions on us.”
“But why should we wait for sanctions (to be implemented) before we adopt such great measures. We should boycott them and close our markets to them (in advance),” Naqdi said.
Iran which is the world’s fourth-biggest crude oil exporter long depended on imported gasoline for 30 to 40 percent of its consumption, but has now become a net exporter.
Iran increased its gasoline production after the United States and the European Union started approving their own unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, mostly targeting the country’s energy and banking sectors, including a US boycott of gasoline supplies to Iran.
After the UN Security Council ratified a sanctions resolution against Iran on June 9, 2010, the US Senate passed a legislation to expand sanctions on foreign companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector and those foreign companies that sell refined petroleum to Iran or help develop its refining capacity.
The bill, which later received the approval of the House of Representatives, said companies that continue to sell gasoline and other refined oil products to Iran would be banned from receiving Energy Department contracts to deliver crude to the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The bill was then signed into law by US President Barack Obama.
But Iran’s self-sufficiency in gasoline production made Washington’s plots fall flat. Iran boosted gasoline production so much that in September 2010, the country exported its first gasoline consignment to the foreign markets.
Despite the hostile policies and moves of the United States and its European allies, Iran has shown a promising trend of growth in area of economy.
Iran is under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical.
Yet, last year the US and the European Union approved a set of extra unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, mostly targeting the country’s energy and banking sectors, including a US boycott of gasoline supplies to Iran.
Iran says that western sanctions and pressures have only consolidated the Iranians’ national resolve and encouraged them to reach self-sufficiency in many economic areas, including gasoline production.