The Iranian foreign minister claimed last night that Tehran was drawing close to an agreement which would allow the country to sell oil to European nations, in spite of threats by the United States that it would impose sanctions on countries that do business with Iran.
Iran is planning to avoid US sanctions on its oil sales by conducting international trade in currencies other than the US dollar, said Mohammed Javad Zarif.
“You can use your own currency,” Zarif, who negotiated Iran’s nuclear deal, said during a meeting at the United Nations. “Sell stuff in your own currency, buy stuff in the other country’s currency, and at the end of a specific period, balance it out in a non-dollar currency. It’s quite possible and may even be profitable.”
The US is preparing to implement sanctions against the middle-eastern country early in November, targeting its economically-integral oil sector.
Previous sanctions had been lifted after Iran entered into a nuclear deal with six other countries, including the UK, in 2015, but US officials have pressured countries to stop buying oil from the country, following President Donald Trump’s announcement in May that he planned to withdraw from the deal.
Zarif suggested optimism that Iran could find its way around the sanctions, pushing back against what Tehran has described as bullying by Trump.
The other signatories to the nuclear agreement – Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia – have all said they will stand by it, raising the possibility that Iran will find leeway to continue selling oil, its single largest export, into the European Union.
Last week Federica Mogherini, the European Union foreign policy chief, said: “No sovereign country or organization can accept that somebody else decides with whom you are allowed to do trade with.”
Several large European firms, including Airbus and Total, have overall pulled billions of dollars in investment out of Iran in anticipation of fresh sanctions.