Iran’s oil industry will not yield to US sanctions: Minister

Iran’s oil industry will not succumb to sanctions imposed by the United States, the oil minister said on Monday in comments carried by the ministry’s SHANA news agency.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have soared since President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from Iran’s nuclear accord with six powers and reimposed U.S. sanctions that have squeezed the Islamic Republic’s economy.

“Neither are we afraid of sanctions nor does it affect our work, it only strengthens our determination to serve our people,” Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said.

As part of the Trump administration’s increasing economic pressure on Iran, Washington last month imposed sanctions on Iran’s Oil Ministry alongside other entities. Zanganeh was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department.

“These sanctions are a kind of revenge,” the minister said. “There is nothing left for the United States to sanction … the only thing left is probably our services section, like our staff working at the kitchen.”

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat who was vice president under President Barack Obama when Iran’s nuclear deal was reached, has pledged to rejoin the accord if Iran returns to compliance with it.

In retaliation for Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy, Tehran has gradually reduced its commitments to the accord. But Iran has said those steps were reversible if Tehran’s interests were respected.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday the next U.S. administration should use the opportunity to compensate for Trump’s mistakes.