A top Iranian official says the country's oil exports have been slashed 40 percent in the past nine months by Western sanctions. Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on January 7 that the 40 percent decrease in oil sales was also accompanied by a 45 percent decrease in repatriating oil money.
The admission by Qasemi was significant, given that he was one of the officials who up to now had been adamant in claiming that Iran's oil exports were unaffected by U.S. and EU sanctions.
Some other officials have also acknowledged recently that sanctions are hurting the economy.
Economy Minister Shamseddine Hosseini last month said oil revenues had plunged 50 percent because of the Western embargo, which took effect in July 2012.
The West has imposed a series of sanctions on Iran that are aimed at pressuring the Islamic republic into halting its nuclear program.
Iran's currency has also plunged as its oil exports fell.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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