April 30, 2008 / 5:42 AM / 11 years ago

Iran conducts all crude trade in euro, yen -agency

TEHRAN, April 30 (Reuters) - Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, is conducting all its crude trading in euro and yen, instead of the U.S. dollar, an Iranian official was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Iran has been reducing its exposure to the dollar as the United States has ratcheted up sanctions because of a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme. In December, an official said 90 percent of its oil export earnings were outside the dollar.

“All of Iran’s oil trading is being done with euro and yen,” Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of the National Iranian Oil Company, told Fars News Agency.

“We agreed with all the buyers of Iran’s crude to trade oil in currencies other than dollar,” he said. “In Europe, Iran’s crude is being sold in euro, in Asia in euro and yen, and trading with yen has not only been in Japan.”

Ghanimifard could not be immediately reached to confirm the report.

In the past, Iranian officials have said that oil remained priced in the U.S. dollar but with actual payments carried out in other currencies.

Iran said it earned $70 billion from oil exports in the year to March, windfall revenues on the back of soaring crude prices.

International crude prices recently hit almost $120 a barrel, while Iran media said Iranian crude had risen above $102 a barrel.

The United States, leading efforts to isolate Tehran which it accuses of seeking nuclear weapons, has slapped sanctions on Iranian banks and other bodies, moves that prompted many foreign banks to cut dollar dealings with Iran or stop all business.

The U.N. Security Council has also imposed limited sanctions on Iran, which insists its nuclear plans are purely peaceful efforts to master skills to generate electricity. (Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian, writing by Edmund Blair, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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