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News number: 9107169370

15:30 | 2013-05-12


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Minister: Sanctions Lower Iran's Dependence on Oil, Increase Non-Oil Exports

TEHRAN (FNA)- The sanctions and restrictions imposed by the West on Iran's economy have caused a sharp reduction in Tehran's dependence on oil revenues, and encouraged the country to increase exports of non-oil products, Iranian Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mehdi Qazanfari said on Sunday.

According to a report by the Information Network for Iran Production and Trade (Shata), Qazanfari dismissed the effectiveness of the sanctions on Iran's non-oil exports, and said that Iranian economy's dependence on oil revenues fell by half just in one year.

"A 100% dependence on oil revenues fell by half in one single year (as a result of the West's increased sanctions; we could have needed long years to do so … but the reduction of oil incomes happened just in one year."

"The supreme leader had ordered us to do so several years ago," he continued.

The minister said that Iran is able to supply its needed foreign currency through non-oil exports after the recent ban on its oil supplies, and added that the country exported $39bln worth of non-oil products last Iranian year (March 21, 2012 - March 20, 2013).

Earlier this week, the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan research arm of the US Congress, questioned the efficacy of the US-led sanctions on Iran, and acknowledged that Tehran has been able to adjust to sanctions economically.

"The strategic effects of sanctions might be abating as Iran adjusts to them economically," the CRS said in a report.

The report added that western sanctions against Iran's energy sector have even led to a sharp increase in non-oil exports.

"Sanctions do not appear to have reduced Iran's influence or strategic capabilities in the Middle East," the report underscored.

The report added that anti-Iran sanctions have also failed to hinder the Islamic Republic's ability to develop defensive weapons indigenously.

"Some argue that Iran might even benefit from sanctions over the long term by being compelled to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil revenues," the report added.

The CRS report also questioned the efficacy anti-Iran sanctions in curbing the Iranian nuclear energy program.

Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions and the western embargos for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

Tehran has dismissed West's demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians' national resolve to continue the path.

Tehran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.