DUBAI, Sept 3 Iranian Oil Minister Bijan
Zanganeh said Tehran would continue to bypass sanctions after
the United States penalised a number of companies for violating
sanctions imposed on Iran, mostly in connection with its nuclear
On Friday, the United States imposed a fresh round of curbs
on a number of Iranian and foreign companies, banks and
airlines. The new measures came just over two weeks before talks
between Iran and six world powers on Tehran's nuclear programme
resume in New York.
Washington said the firms were helping Iran's nuclear
programme, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West suspects
may be aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability. They
included Goldentex FZE, a UAE-based firm working with Iran's
shipping sector, and an Italian firm, Dettin SpA, which it said
was working with Iran's petrochemical industry.
"The sanctions are cruel and illegal and we fulfil our duty
for circumventing the sanctions," Zanganeh was cited as saying
by the oil ministry's news website Shana.
"We do not recognise the sanctions," he said, referring to
Friday's new curbs.
Western sanctions imposed on Iran to hamper its nuclear
programme have blocked sales of its oil to the West and made it
increasingly difficult for Iran's fleet to obtain insurance and
financing for deals with Asian buyers.
Despite that, Iran shipped 29.4 percent more crude to major
Asian customers in July from a year earlier, with China,
Tehran's biggest client, accounting for most of the increase.
In the past, Iranian oil tankers sent incorrect satellite
signals to confuse global tracking systems and Iranian state
tanker company NITC changed tanker names in response to the
Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China
and Russia failed to meet a July 20 deadline to negotiate a
comprehensive agreement under which Tehran would scale back its
nuclear activities in exchange for gradually ending the
sanctions that have crippled its economy.
The new deadline was extended to Nov. 24. Iran and the six
world powers are set to resume negotiations in mid-September
around the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
Western diplomats say the two sides remain far apart on the
future size of Iran's uranium enrichment programme, activity
which can have both civilian and military uses.
Jofi Joseph, a former director for non-proliferation on the
White House National Security Council, said that the new
sanctions "could be a message to Tehran that, unless it shifts
course, these most recent designations are only a preview of
what is to come if the talks break down."
(Reporting by Michelle Moghtader in Dubai; Additional reporting
by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna; Editing by Rania El Gamal and Raissa