GENEVA/LONDON – Iran said on Tuesday it had so far been able to sell as much oil as it needed despite US pressure, but it urged European countries opposed to US sanctions to do more to shield Iran, as Russia and Turkey also voiced their objections.
The US on Monday restored sanctions targeting Iran’s oil, banking and transport sectors and threatened more action to stop what Washington called its “outlaw” policies – steps that Tehran called economic warfare and vowed to defy.
The measures are part of a wider effort by US President Donald Trump to curb Tehran’s missile and nuclear programmes and diminish the Islamic Republic’s influence in the Middle East, notably its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.
Trump is targeting Iran’s main source of revenue – its oil exports – as well as its financial sector, essentially making 50 Iranian banks and their subsidiaries off-limits to foreign banks, on pain of losing access to the US financial system.
“The Americans constantly said they would reduce the sale of Iran’s oil to zero but I have to say that, so far, we have been able to sell our required amounts of oil,” Tasnim news agency quoted Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri as saying.
“The Americans, with the help of propaganda, don’t see the realities.”
Industry estimates suggest Iran’s oil exports have in fact fallen by 40 percent to 60 percent since Trump said in May that he would reimpose sanctions, but 180-day exemptions for Iran’s biggest oil clients could mean they rise again after November.
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey, one of those countries, would not abide by the sanctions, which he said were “aimed at unbalancing the world”.
Jahangiri said he had spoken to a handful of managers from companies on the US sanctions list, and that some had already formulated plans on how to deal with the measures.