Iran oil minister downplays impact of sanctions on projects

Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has shrugged off the impact of international sanctions on the country’s oil sector, saying oil projects are proceeding smoothly.

“Most oil development projects are under way under conditions of sanctions, and perhaps we have the highest progress in the oil sector,” Qasemi said on Monday.

“I hope that we will realize the objectives set in the Fifth Five-Year [Economic Development] Plan [2010-2015] because they will contribute to the country’s progress,” the minister added.

Qasemi went on to heap praise on the sanctions for their contribution to the country’s self-reliance in procuring equipment for the oil industry.

“…Previously, we used to import most of the commodities from abroad. We do so to some extent at present as well, but thanks to the sanctions and our own capabilities, we hope that we would be able to manufacture all the [needed] equipment domestically and even become an exporter of equipment,”

Earlier this month, Qasemi warned that the ongoing embargo on the Islamic Republic’s oil exports will drive up global oil prices in international markets.

Under pressure from the United States, the EU (European Union) foreign ministers approved new sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors last January.

The sanctions, which prevent the EU member states from purchasing Iran's oil or extending insurance coverage for tankers carrying Iranian crude, came into effect on July 1.

On August 1, the US Congress approved more illegal embargoes against Tehran, which seek to punish banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Tehran sell its oil.
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