Iran rejects IEA report; insists oil exports steady

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A worker checks the valve gears in a natural-gas control centre of Turkey’s Petroleum and Pipeline Corporation, 35 km west of Ankara. Photo – Umit Bektas/Reuters

Iran’s OPEC governor denied on Saturday the Islamic Republic’s oil exports have declined in recent months. The statement came as a rebuttal to a report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that Tehran’s oil income is declining.

The IEA report, released on Friday, estimated that Iran’s exports hit a new low of 860,000 barrels per day (bpd) in September, a huge plunge from 2.2 million bpd at the end of 2011.

Iranians are suffering from hardship after the country’s basic imports are coming under pressure by sanctions imposed by the EU and US over its nuclear programme.

However, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, Iran’s OPEC governor, rubbished the IEA’s data and claimed the report is exactly opposite of the data provided to OPEC by Iran.

“Iran’s oil exports are the same as previous months and the situation is stable,” Khatibi was quoted as saying by the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

Khatibi also denied that the only buyers of Iranian oil were China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Turkey.

“The market for Iranian oil is beyond the mentioned countries…We are always exploring new markets but we don’t publicise them much because it may be detrimental,” Khatibi said without elaborating.

The United States and its allies are applying efforts to disrupt Iran’s alleged nuclear programme by cutting off its oil revenues that provide the vast majority of Iran’s hard currency earnings. Iran insists the programme is for peaceful purposes.

On Friday, the European Union provisionally approved new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, with senior diplomats giving their backing to measures against Tehran’s banking sector and industry.

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