TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran is to stop all trade and oil exports in dollars and euros in retaliation against Western sanctions over its nuclear programme, a top official was quoted as saying Tuesday.
“We are going to remove dollar and euro from our foreign currency basket and replace them with (Iranian) rial and all other currencies of the countries which accept to cooperate with us,” leading economic daily Doniye e-Ektesad quoted First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi as saying.
“These currencies are filthy and we will no longer sell our oil in dollar and euro,” Rahimi told a meeting of education officials.
He did not say when that would go into effect, or how Iran was going to implement that decision as the second largest exporter in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in an energy market dominated by the dollar.
Rahimi also said that Iran would limit its purchases from the European Union, which amounted to 11.4 billion euros or 27 percent of the Iranian imports in 2009, according to official EU statistics.
He said this would mainly affect Iran’s food imports such as wheat and soybeans from Europe.
Rahimi said that “sophisticated equipment,” currently imported, will also be manufactured locally “by the Iranian youths, but it needs time.”
Following a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against, the United States and the European Union expanded their own punitive measures against Iran in July over suspicions that Tehran’s nuclear programme is masking a weapons drive. Iran denies these charges.
Canada and Australia followed suit after the US and EU sanctions, which target Iran’s economy and banking system, banning investment and transfer of technology to its vital oil and gas sectors.