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Iran-EU Trade Ties Stand at 19 Billion Euros Despite Sanctions

Source: Fars News Agency, Tehran

The volume of trade relations between Iran and the European countries amounted to €19bln in the first 9 months of 2011 despite the US-led western sanctions against Tehran.

According to a report by the Eurostat website, despite the western sanctions and the extra embargos imposed by the EU against Iran, the country ranks 7th in exporting crude oil to Europe.

The report also mentioned that the 27 European states imported €11.4bln of goods from Iran in the first 9 months of the current year.

Despite the hostile policies and moves of the United States and its European allies, Iran has shown a promising trend of growth in area of economy.

Iran is under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used their influence on the UN Security Council to press for fresh sanctions against Tehran.

Iranian officials have repeatedly refuted the accusations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Tehran has the right to use civilian nuclear technology.

Iran, which sits on the world's second largest reserves of both oil and gas, has dismissed US sanctions as inefficient, saying that it is finding Asian partners instead. Several Chinese and other Asian firms are negotiating or signing up to oil and gas deals.

Following US pressures on companies to stop business with Tehran, many western companies decided to do a balancing act. They tried to maintain their presence in Iran, which is rich in oil and gas, but not getting into big deals that could endanger their interests in the US.

Yet, after oil giants in the West witnessed that their absence in big deals has provided Chinese, Indian and Russian companies with excellent opportunities to sign up to an increasing number of energy projects and earn billions of dollars, they started showing increasing interest to invest or expand work in Iran.

Meantime, earlier this month, a senior official at the Iranian oil ministry downplayed the western attempts to impose sanctions on Iran's oil sales, saying that the European countries can find no alternative source to replace Iranian oil supplies.

"If Europeans could find an alternative for Iran's oil, they would definitely go for imposing sanctions against Iranian oil," an informed official at the ministry told FNA on Saturday.

He stressed that Europeans have no alternative for Iran's crude supplies, and said only Saudi Arabia and Iraq have excessive production capacity, while exploitation and production at Iraq's oil fields will take some years and Saudi Arabia is not also able to produce an extra 500,000 barrels of oil to replace Iran's daily supplies to Europe for a long time.

Even under the best conditions (for Tehran's opponents), Saudi Arabia will lose a part of its Asian market to make up for Iran's oil supplies to the European markets if the EU decides to replace Iran with Saudi Arabia for meeting its energy needs, the official added.

... Payvand News - 12/08/11 ... --

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