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Iran's Oil Minister: US sanctions on Iran not lifted yet

Minister of Oil Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in Tehran on Wednesday that the US sanctions on Iran have not been lifted yet, IRNA reported.

Talking to IRNA at the end of a weekly cabinet session, Zanganeh dismissed as "unfounded" the claim that a 90-day suspension of the US sanctions against Iran had left positive impact on the country's economy.

Zanganeh said the US economic sanctions on Iran have not been lifted and this is a wrong attitude held by certain individuals.

He said what the US has really lifted are the barriers to transfer of the cash donated to the quake-stricken survivors of Bam, a city in southeast Iran.

Asked to comment on Iran's diplomacy to win the post of OPEC secretary general, Zanganeh said Tehran has found that there had been certain countries not willing to see Iran elected to the post.

Zanganeh said Iran does not have any intention to give up the OPEC membership for the said reason.

As for Iran's strategy to win the post of the OPEC secretary general, Zanganeh said Iran will never adopt a new policy and will continue to act as before.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is willing to take over the post of OPEC secretary general but this needs a consensus among the ministers of the 11 member states, said Zanganeh.

He said the post of the OPEC secretary general is more a political issue than an economic one.

He added that in an organization whose decisions are made through consensus no other force would be effective.

As for delay in commissioning of the first phase of South Pars gas field, Zanganeh said the project was supposed to become operational in September this year but this can happen any time when its gas output is connected to the nationwide grid.

Asked to comment on plans, if any, to substitute dollar with euro as the basis of oil deals, Zanganeh said the Central Bank of Iran is in charge of specifying the main currency of the national income. The Central Bank of Iraq has a foreign exchange basket through which to save national income against any possible forex fluctuations, he added.

The Iranian official said that OPEC is not the only body to consider replacing dollar with euro as the basis of its deals, rather it is a decision that should be made at global level.

He stressed that presently replacement of dollar with euro is not on the OPEC agenda.

In absence of any consensus in OPEC on the issue, Iran's move to sell oil in euro will not have any effect on its national income, he said.

Tehran reasons that if each barrel of oil is sold for dlrs 28 dollars this year, one fourth of the money will fade due to devaluation of dollar against euro, said the minister.

Asked to comment on final price of the goods purchased from global markets, Zanganeh said not all Iran's purchases are made from the euro market, rather they are done partially from the non-dollar markets due to the US sanctions.

... Payvand News - 1/22/04 ... --

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