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January 8, 2013 10:44 am

Iranian Oil Minister: Sanctions are Hurting Us

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Iranian tanker. Photo: wiki commons.

Iran’s oil minister has acknowledged that international sanctions in reaction to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program have led to a decline in oil exports, contradicting previous denials by the government.

“There has been a 40 percent decrease in oil sales and a 45 percent decrease in repatriating oil money,” the Iranian Students’ News Agency quoted Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, as saying to lawmakers, the New York Times reported. Iran’s decline in oil exports has been known for some time by experts.

“It’s common knowledge in Iran that oil exports have fallen,” Djavad Salehi Isfahani, an economics professor at Virginia Tech, told the Times. “I don’t know if the oil minister had been in denial.”

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According to figures from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iran’s crude oil exports fell by a million barrels a day by the end of 2012.

As a result of the decline, the value of Iran’s currency, the Rial, has dropped dramatically in recent months, leading to government budget issues and the cost of imports to rise, hurting Iranians.

Additional American sanctions signed into law recently by President Obama targeting Iran’s financial and industrial sectors are scheduled to take effect soon.

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