News / Middle East

Iranian Oil Minister Vows to Bypass Sanctions

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh is surrounded by journalists and security staff as he arrives at his hotel ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Dec. 3, 2013.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh is surrounded by journalists and security staff as he arrives at his hotel ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Dec. 3, 2013.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tehran would continue to bypass sanctions after the United States penalized a number of companies for violating sanctions imposed on Iran, mostly in connection with its nuclear program.

On Friday, the United States imposed a fresh round of curbs on a number of Iranian and foreign companies, banks and airlines. The new measures came just over two weeks before talks between Iran and six world powers on Tehran's nuclear program resume in New York.

Washington said the firms were helping Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West suspects may be aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability. They included Goldentex FZE, a UAE-based firm working with Iran's shipping sector, and an Italian firm, Dettin SpA, which it said was working with Iran's petrochemical industry.

"The sanctions are cruel and illegal and we fulfill our duty for circumventing the sanctions," Zanganeh was cited as saying by the oil ministry's news website Shana.

"We do not recognize the sanctions," he said, referring to Friday's new curbs.

Western sanctions imposed on Iran to hamper its nuclear program have blocked sales of its oil to the West and made it increasingly difficult for Iran's fleet to obtain insurance and financing for deals with Asian buyers.

Despite that, Iran shipped 29.4 percent more crude to major Asian customers in July from a year earlier, with China, Tehran's biggest client, accounting for most of the increase.

In the past, Iranian oil tankers sent incorrect satellite signals to confuse global tracking systems and Iranian state tanker company NITC changed tanker names in response to the sanctions.

Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia failed to meet a July 20 deadline to negotiate a comprehensive agreement under which Tehran would scale back its nuclear activities in exchange for gradually ending the sanctions that have crippled its economy.

The new deadline was extended to November 24. Iran and the six world powers are set to resume negotiations in mid-September around the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Western diplomats say the two sides remain far apart on the future size of Iran's uranium enrichment program, activity which can have both civilian and military uses.

Jofi Joseph, a former director for non-proliferation on the White House National Security Council, said that the new sanctions "could be a message to Tehran that, unless it shifts course, these most recent designations are only a preview of what is to come if the talks break down."

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 03, 2014 3:25 PM
Vow to bypass sanctions? This has been expected long ago. In the face of no one to hold it down – that is Russia being seen in the West as enemy rather than partner - and if Russia wishes to go along with this proposal, the abyss will be the limit. If the USA will trip over its red line in Syria in the fear of boot on the ground, will there be difference to put boot on ground in Iran with better and stronger technology and army than Syria? Distant strike? Iran boasts it can strike back anywhere. Can Obama start a war? I think the answer is ‘impossible’. What does Iran want that it will not achieve right when the wind is good and the weather right for cropping? I think the threat to bypass sanctions is coming after reading and analyzing what's up in USA, what USA is capable of doing now and what it cannot ever get itself to doing under Obama.

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