South Africa to keep importing Iran oil: Minister

South Africa’s Energy Minister Dipuo Peters has stressed his country’s determination to continue its crude oil imports from Iran, despite the US-engineered sanctions against Tehran.

Peters emphasized that a disruption of oil imports from the Islamic Republic will be very costly for South Africa and would create many difficulties for the country since one of their main refineries operates with Iranian crude.

According to the report, Peters also said that Pretoria imports some 26 percent of its oil supplies from Iran, 80 percent of which is used to produce gasoline fuel for vehicles.

The official further noted that certain decisions by the US and Europe cause difficulties for South Africa since the sanctions against the Islamic Republic are really not “our decision, but we end up suffering losses due to the measures.”

On January 23, under pressure from the United States, EU foreign ministers approved sanctions against Iran’s oil and financial sectors, banning the imports of Iranian oil and crude products by the bloc’s member states and halting transactions with the Iranian central bank.

The EU measure followed a US decision on New Year’s Eve to impose new sanctions on Iran. The US sanctions called on other countries to either refrain from importing Iranian oil, or brace for Washington’s punishments.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Abdolhossein Bayat announced Saturday that Iran’s petrochemical exports to European countries continue unaltered since “Iranian petrochemical products can be exported despite any sanctions.”

Bayat, who is also the managing director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC), explained that Iran has presold a number of petrochemical products through long-term contracts with some foreign companies and has no worries regarding the export of such products.

The latest figures released by the NPC indicate that Iran’s petrochemical exports have climbed 10 and 29 percent in terms of weight and value respectively since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 20, 2012) compared to the corresponding period last year.

Iran exported 18.2 million tons of petrochemical and polymer products worth about USD 14.2 billion to more than 60 countries, last year.

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