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Iran blocked from selling a drop of oil in exchange for food, medicine: Official

The head of Iran’s Plan and Budget Organization has said that the country is facing bans harsher than oil-for-food sanctions as it is being prohibited from selling its oil in exchange for food or medicine.

“The harshest phase of sanctions were oil-for-food sanctions but today we are in a condition in which these murderous and malicious [powers] prohibit the sale of a drop of oil for even food or medicine,” Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said on Thursday.

“Even if there is a sale of oil, they seek to make financial transactions impossible,” he added.

Widespread economic sanctions, imposed on Iran after Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018, target much-needed humanitarian aid and related finances from reaching the Islamic Republic.

The US has since continuously imposed additional sanctions on the country’s various economic sectors as part of its campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran.

Washington even ignored humanitarian pleads to suspend sanctions as the country initially sought to import foreign medical supplies to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, before resorting to manufacturing its own.

Last month, Washington led a failed attempt to trigger the so-called snapback provision in the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at reinstating UN sanctions against Iran despite no longer being party to the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

Speaking on Thursday, Nobakht said that Iran has been able to withstand the sanctions even though such a brutal sanctions regime would have been enough to overwhelm other countries.

“Everyone, especially the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, know that we face a tough year ahead of us,” he said.

“We must make the enemy understand that the more they seek to pressure us, we show the world more resiliently and actively that we are managing the country at the height of sanctions,” he added.

Referring to Ayatollah Khamenei’s “Jump in Production” slogan of the year, Nobakht said that the government will push on with programs encouraging indigenous production, regardless of the US sanctions.

He said the Iranian government is currently following up with a one-year program – approved by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution – to conclude unfinished economic projects.

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