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Iran: Oil exports may stop if sanctions tighten

Tehran said it is prepared to run the country without oil export revenue.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses parliament in Tehran, Feb. 1, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

US-led oil sanctions continue to injure Iran's economy, which depends on oil export revenue, but Tehran said Tuesday it was prepared to "run the country without any oil revenues." 

"We have prepared a plan to run the country without any oil revenues," said Iranian oil minister Rostam Qasemi, according to Reuters. "So far to date we haven't had any serious problems, but if the sanctions were to be renewed we would go for Plan B," he added.

Qasemi also told reporters Iran would stop exporting oil if tighter sanctions were enforced.

"If sanctions intensify we will stop exporting oil," he said to reporters in Dubai, according to Reuters.

The US and other nations implemented crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic in an effort to curb Iran's nuclear program, which Iran says is strictly energy related. The US and other countries suspect Iran of attempting to manufacture an atomic bomb.

More from GlobalPost: Iran nukes: Has Obama let Tehran get closer to possessing a bomb?

The sanctions have decreased Iran's oil production. According to Bloomberg, Iran now ranks fourth among the 12 OPEC countries in production of oil, having slipped from a position as the second-largest producer.

After the US election, President Obama will have to decide if the US will grant waivers — exceptions allowing importers to continue to move Iranian oil at reduced amounts or prices — to countries that still consume it. The deadline for new waivers is December.

Iran's oil minister told reporters, "Right now, we not only don't import but we also export some products ... there are always customers for Iranian oil."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/121023/iran-oil-exports-may-stop-sanctions-tighten