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Iran calls on EU states to review decisions

Updated: 2012-02-05 07:52
( Xinhua)

TEHRAN - Iran on Saturday called on the European Union (EU) to review its decision on sanctioning Iran's oil exports, saying that it will not retreat from its position.

Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi on Saturday called on the EU states to review their decision on the oil embargo on Iran.

He made the remarks referring to the recent EU endorsement of the latest restrictive sanction measures on Iran's oil exports adopted by the EU foreign ministers on January 23.

He said that EU states' oil imports from the Islamic republic is not significant and it "just" comprises 18 percent of its total oil exports.

"Generally, sanctioning Iran's oil is not a practical option since it will have a significant impact on the (energy prices) in the market ... and the prices will rise dramatically," said the minister during a press conference.

Late in January, Qasemi said that according to the Iranian Oil Ministry's future plans, "we will cut our exports to certain countries" in response to EU's recent oil embargo against Iran.

On Saturday, Qasemi said that Iran will not retreat from its position even if it cannot sell a drop of oil.

Qasemi said that "Because of political and propaganda pressures, we will not give in or retreat from right position even if we cannot sell a drop of oil."

The Western countries, especially the United States, are thinking that under the pressures Iran will surrender, but Iran, by no means, will give up its inalienable rights of advancing with technology, said the Iranian minister, adding that it is better for them to cooperate with Iran.

Qasemi said that Iran will definitely stop its oil exports to certain European countries, but he did not identify the countries.

Asked about the possibility of closure of the Strait of Hormuz by the Islamic Republic, he said that Iran is not after creating tensions. In the meantime, he added that the Oil Ministry is not dealing with political issues.

Qasemi on Saturday asked member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) not to compensate for the market shortage if the EU puts an oil embargo on Iran.

In a letter forwarded to Iraq which is holding the rotating presidency of the OPEC, Iran asked the OPEC members to respect other members' interests and obligations and not to increase their output in a compensation for the West's oil embargo on Iran, said Qasemi.

He also called on Saudi Arabia to abide by the agreements in the OPEC and do not raise its production if the allies of the West do not want to buy Iran's oil.

Earlier, Saudi officials announced their readiness to make up for any shortage in the market if Iran's oil exports undergo Western sanctions.  

Iran has already criticized and threatened those countries which might intend to boost their production to meet the energy demands if the West imposes sanctions on Iran's oil.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei dismissed on Friday Western sanctions and warned against the US war threats against the Islamic Republic.

Iran benefits from Western sanctions, Khamenei made the remarks in Tehran when leading the Friday prayers.

In response to Western sanctions on the country, including the recent US and EU embargo on Iran's oil exports, Khamenei said that the sanctions have helped the potentials within the country bloom and prompted the country to grow domestically.

He said that in face of Western sanctions Iran has proved that it "turns to the internal potentials and grows domestically."

A number of Iranian lawmakers told Xinhua Wednesday that Iran's parliament would discuss a delayed plan to cut oil exports to the EU in the following week.

Mohammad Zabeti, said that "The study of the plan to cut oil exports to the EU has been postponed to the next week ... and it is possible that over 50 percent of the lawmakers to vote for it. And the reason why it will gain votes is that Iranian people have always been in favor of dialogue and friendship, but unfortunately the Europeans, following the US steps, in the past years have always behaved in an arrogant manner."    

Also, Seyyed Salman Zaker, a member of Legal and Judiciary Commission of the Iranian parliament, told Xinhua that "National Security (and Foreign Policy) Commission of parliament is pursing the oil exports ban to EU. This plan is very important from the Iranian nation and parliament's point of view. Because the decision that EU makes hurts the Iranian rights."

Another lawmaker, Seyyed Mostafa Zolqadr, a member of Economic Commission of parliament said that "I don't think the Europeans could be able to impose sanctions on Iran because their life has been tied to our oil. If they do like this (slapping sanctions on Iran's oil exports), we will stop our imports from Europe. And if our imports from Europe are stopped, hundreds of their factories, especially from France, will be closed and thousands of their workers will be fired."

On Saturday, Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) started a military drill near its southern waters.

The Commander of the IRGC Ground Forces Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said Saturday the country started "Hamiane Velayat" (Supporters of Velayat) drill in southern Iran, the Sepah news website affiliated to the IRGC reported.

Pakpour said that the war game is aimed at keeping and promoting the readiness of IRGC forces to confront any threats.

The report did not specify the accurate location and duration of the drill. However, Iran already announced that its exercises in the southern waters or near the area are aimed at maintaining readiness to confront threats in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz which is an important passage for the oil tankers.

Iran has threatened to close the strait if it cannot sell oil in face of Western oil sanctions.

On Thursday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed China believes dialogue and cooperation is the only correct and effective solution to resolve the Iran nuclear issue, and that sanctions will not fundamentally address the problem.

Wen made the remarks when holding a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing.

"China firmly safeguards the international non-proliferation regime and opposes Iran and any of the Mideast countries developing nuclear weapons," said Wen.

The US State Department said on Friday that the United States believes there is still "time and space" for its two-track approach of diplomacy and pressure to work toward the resolution of Iran's controversial nuclear program.

In response to press reports about Israel's imminent strike on Iran, department spokesman Mark Toner said that as "unprecedented" pressure has been placed on Iran, "we believe there's still time and space to pursue diplomacy and to allow the sanctions that are in place ... to take hold."

"These are unprecedented sanctions that I think everyone agrees are having a chilling effect on the Iranian economy," he told reporters at a regular news briefing.