Even as it battles international sanctions, Iran on Wednesday claimed it had become self-sufficient on petrol, not only meeting its domestic demand but also producing a surplus that had been exported to three countries.
Iran's Fars News Agency reported that Tehran had exported gasoline worth $36 million to Afghanistan, Iraq and Armenia.
“Although Iran was a gasoline importer in the last few years and despite the imposition of sanctions [against Iran by certain countries], Iranian experts managed to produce such a large volume of gasoline that the surplus was exported to Iraq, Afghanistan and Armenia for the first time this year,” General-Director of Iran's Customs Office Ardeshir Mohammadi was quoted as saying. He added that in the near future, Iran would emerge as one of the world's major exporter of gasoline.
Reuters news agency citing “trade sources” has confirmed the sale. On July 1, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a legislation that threatened to punish foreign companies exporting petrol to Iran.
These measures were meant to tighten sanctions, in order to dissuade Tehran from pursuing its atomic programme in its present form. Analysts point out that Iran has expanded its gasoline production, mainly by reworking its petrochemical plants to make them suitable for refining.
Last month, Iran's Oil Minister Massoud Mir-Kazzemi had announced that Tehran had raised domestic gasoline production from 44 million to 66 million litres per day, which was sufficient to meet its domestic requirements.
According to FNA, Iran increased its gasoline production after the U.S. and the E.U. approved unilateral sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme, by mainly targeting the country's energy and banking sectors.