Iran’s OPEC governor has outlined Tehran’s plans for countering US and European sanctions, dismissing the unilateral measures as old bids in a new disguise.
“The point is the sanctions are not new. The shape is different. We can carry on,” Iran’s OPEC governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
With the European Union poised to impose tougher sanctions against Iran, Khatibi stressed Tehran is flexible about its currency of choice for oil trade and would not be limited by new restrictions.
“I can say that we are flexible if we feel that the euro is good, also the dollar, also the dirham, the yuan, the yen. We’re flexible.”
“Still we are developing projects and we can expand our gas industry, refining, petrochemicals industry…We can change our industry to produce more gasoline. We are constructing some refineries,” he added.
Khatibi also announced plans for the gradual reduction of fuel subsidies and hikes in the price of gasoline and other fuels “from very low levels to international levels.”
“People understand this limitation is because we are engaging in something like war. There are some difficulties I know, but everybody understands that there is some difficulty,” he said.
Khatibi added that the market price of USD 78 a barrel (on Wednesday) is bound to rise, noting the disastrous BP deepwater spill in the Gulf of Mexico as well as price dependency on other commodities for equipment involved in the industry.
Four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions and new unilateral measures are an integral part of efforts aimed at pressuring Iran into abandoning its civilian nuclear program, amid Israeli-led charges that Tehran is harboring a military agenda.
Iranian officials say that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) the country has the right to peaceful nuclear technology for civilian electricity generation and medical research.