JNN 29 Oct 2012 TEHRAN – The White House says it is prepared to talk one-on-one with Tehran to find a diplomatic settlement to the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program, but there’s no agreement now to meet, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.
The report did not give more details.
The New York Times reported on October 22, citing Obama administration officials, that the United States and Iran had agreed in principle to one-on-one negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, but both the White House and Iran denied the report.
Iranian lawmaker and former oil minister Masoud Mirkazemi has warned the Western countries that Iran may use energy as a political tool against them if they seek to use it as such against the Islamic Republic.
“The Westerners should know that if they want to use this tool for political purposes, the possibility exists that one day this tool will be used against them, and then they will suffer,” the chairman of Iran’s Majlis Energy Committee said on Sunday.
He referred to the sanctions imposed against Iran’s energy sector and said that despite the bans, “Iran’s oil sales continue and if European countries do not buy our country’s oil, there are numerous other countries that are buyers.”
The Iranian lawmaker said if the sanctions could have affected Iran’s oil exports, they would have had the effect by now; but the country’s crude sales have never stopped.
On October 15, EU foreign ministers agreed on a new round of sanctions against Iran in spite of a UN warning against the humanitarian ramifications of the bans that had already been imposed.
The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded allegation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Iran’s Oil Ministry Spokesman Alireza Nikzad-Rahbar says the Islamic Republic will reciprocate any further Western sanctions against the country, adding that the Iranian crude is indispensable to the world energy markets.
“Production of oil in Iran is in a favorable condition, and if the Western countries intensify their sanctions [against Iran’s oil sector], considering that their own people are the main consumers of oil, Iran will reciprocate [this measure] and boycott them,” Nikzad said.
“The world cannot do without Iranian oil,” he said, adding “Our country has now weathered the sanctions and the Iranian crude has its own customers in the world.”
Dismissing as “propaganda war” the false reports that put Iran’s current oil output at 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd), Nikzad-Rahbar stated that the figure actually stands at four million.
He noted that Iran’s oil exports are “continuing their normal trend,” and that Iran is set to appear in “new markets.”
“By creating new capacities, the Islamic Republic will have the capability to increase its output in the future.”
Official statistics published by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) show that Iran’s oil output stood at 3.75 million bpd in August, while secondary sources claimed that the actual figure for Iran’s oil production hit 2.72 million bpd.
As of the beginning of 2012, the U.S. and European Union have imposed tough illegal sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors.
The bans are meant to pressure the Islamic Republic over its nuclear energy program, which Washington, Israel and some of their allies claim includes a military aspect.
Iran refutes such allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.