TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, is conducting all its crude trading in euro and yen, instead of the US dollar, an Iranian official said here on Wednesday.
Iran has been reducing its exposure to the dollar as the United States has ratcheted up sanctions because of a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program. In December, an official said 90 percent of its oil export earnings were outside the dollar.
"All of Iran's oil trading is being done with euro and yen," Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of the National Iranian Oil Company, told FNA.
"We agreed with all the buyers of Iran's crude to trade oil in currencies other than dollar," he said. "In Europe, Iran's crude is being sold in euro, in Asia in euro and yen, and trading with yen has not been only in Japan."
In the past, Iranian officials have said that oil remained priced in the US dollar but with actual payments carried out in other currencies.
Iran said it earned $70 billion from oil exports in the year to March, windfall revenues on the back of soaring crude prices.
International crude prices recently hit almost $120 a barrel, while Iranian crude has risen above $102 a barrel.
While it has never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate its allegations against the Islamic Republic, the United States has led intensive efforts to isolate Tehran which it accuses of seeking nuclear weapons, including sanctions on Iranian banks and other bodies.
Tehran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and aimed solely at generating energy.
Tehran has always remained open to IAEA inspections which have never led to any evidence to back up western claims.
Iran is under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany met on April 16 in Shanghai to discuss whether to sweeten incentives they had offered Iran in 2006 to persuade it to give up its nuclear rights. But the meeting attended by political directors of the six powers ended with no result.
Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, and says it will only negotiate with the UN nuclear watchdog.
Iran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed after it answered the UN agency's questions about the history of its nuclear program.
The US is at loggerheads with Iran over the independent and home-grown nature of Tehran's nuclear technology, which gives the Islamic Republic the potential to turn into a world power and a role model for other third-world countries. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.
Washington's push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one in February - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seemed to be completely irrational.
The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran's cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran's nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.
Tehran says it wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.
Iran has also insisted that it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.
Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.
US President George W. Bush finished a tour of the Middle East in winter to gain the consensus of his Arab allies to unite against Iran.
But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush's allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.
Bush's attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.
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