We don`t need to sell oil to Europe: Ahmadinejad

EU has imposed further sanctions against Iran`s oil exports and the central bank to ramp up pressure over its nuclear program.

Last Updated: Jan 27, 2012, 10:07 AM IST

Tehran: Iran does not need to sell its oil to European nations, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said in response to oil embargo imposed by the European Union.

The EU on Monday imposed further sanctions against Iran`s oil exports and the central bank to ramp up pressure over its nuclear program. The oil ban will take effect from July 01.

Sanctions cannot stop Iran`s progress, Ahmadinejad said at a gathering in the southeastern Kerman city on Thursday, adding "We do not need to sell oil to Europe."

Lawmaker Nasser Soudani said on Wednesday that Parliament was mulling over a plan to cut oil exports to EU member states.

Ahmadinejad said the action against the central bank is a useless initiative, Xinhua reported.

Iran`s total foreign trade is worth USD 200 billion, and only USD 24 billion of which is with Europe, he said.

"In the past, about 90 percent of Iran`s trade was with Europeans, but nowadays it is about 10 percent," he added.

The EU currently purchases nearly 20 percent of Iranian crude exports, with countries such as Greece and Italy most reliant on Iran`s oil.

Persian Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia have offered to step up its own production to compensate for any shortfall caused by the ban on Iranian oil.

Iranian officials have threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz if their oil exports are sanctioned. The country heavily relies on crude exports and its by-products for annual revenue.

IANS