EU’s trade mechanism not enough without oil: Zangeneh

TEHRAN, Jul. 03 (MNA) – Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said a European mechanism to facilitate trade with his country in the face of US sanctions won’t be useful if it doesn’t allow for oil sales.

“Without oil deal, it’s very clear, INSTEX will not work,” Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Vienna on Tuesday, referring to the trade conduit established by the UK, France and Germany, as the three European sides to the nuclear deal, as a way to secure Iran's economic interests and encourage the country to stay in the agreement despite the US' unilateral withdrawal last year and the re-imposition of sanctions.

While EU has announced the mechanism as 'operational', Iran says as long as it only covers medicine and foodstuff, which are not a target of US sanctions, and it fails to cover Iran's oil exports, the mechanism is of no use to the country. Iran has given the European sides until July 7 to deliver on their promises, otherwise the country would begin the second stage of its reduction in commitments to the nuclear deal. 

Zangeneh also told Bloomberg that Iran is working "day and night" to export its oil amid "unfair, illegal" US sanctions.

He also discussed the charter agreed on by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies on long-term cooperation.

"It's very important for us that this new charter doesn't have a negative impact on OPEC. After a very long discussion, we agreed to put a phrase in our resolution that clearly declares that the charter will not negatively impact OPEC...we also agreed that the presidency of the charter should rotate annually among the member countries," he added. 

Following the 176th OPEC Meeting on Monday, Zangeneh told reporters that Iran was exempted from an agreement among OPEC members to continue capping the producer body’s crude oil output by 0.8 mbd.

He also said on Tuesday, after a meeting of non-OPEC producers, that Iran agrees with the OPEC+ agreement to cut the group's total output by 1.2 million bpd as well as the OPEC-non-OPEC Cooperation Charter.

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