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Iran says to halt oil exports if hit with more sanctions

Iran will stop exporting oil if Western powers slap any more economic sanctions against the Islamic republic over its disputed nuclear programme, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on Tuesday.

world Updated: Oct 24, 2012 01:21 IST

Iran will stop exporting oil if Western powers slap any more economic sanctions against the Islamic republic over its disputed nuclear programme, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on Tuesday.

"If you continue to add to the sanctions, we will stop our oil exports to the world," Qasemi said on the sidelines of an energy conference in Dubai, warning the "lack of Iranian oil in the market would drastically add to the price."

Western states have imposed since the beginning of the year an oil embargo on Iran, ending European purchases of Iranian crude oil while exports to Tehran's Asian customers fell significantly, between 10 to 30 percent.

Earlier on Tuesday, Qasemi had been cited as saying Iran produces four million barrels of oil per day, rejecting estimates by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) of a decline to 2.7 million bpd.

"Iran continues to produce four million barrels of oil per day," ISNA news agency quoted him as saying in Dubai.

Qasemi also denied Iran's exports fell in September to nearly 860,000 bpd as estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA), saying it stood at 2.2 million bpd.

"Despite attempts by Western countries to stop the sale of Iranian oil, we produce at full capacity... and exports have been stable in recent months," he said.

In early September, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acknowledged Iran had "some problems" to sell its oil because of the sanctions.