Iran gets 60 pct of oil income in non-USD

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran, embroiled in a nuclear row with the United States, is asking more clients to pay for oil in currencies other than the dollar and 60 percent of its crude income is in other units, an official said on Thursday.

Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), told Reuters almost all of Iran’s European clients and some of its Asian customers had accepted making payments in non-dollar currencies.

He said Iran was concerned about the weak state of the greenback and was not being prompted to act by politics.

“To the best of my knowledge, what we are doing at NIOC is purely something based on commercial reasons,” he said. “Part (of this) has to do with the strength of the dollar.”

Ghanimifard had said in December that about 57 percent of Iran’s income from crude exports was in euros.

Washington is leading efforts to isolate Iran over what it says is Tehran’s bid to build atomic bombs. The United States has imposed sanctions on to two big state banks and has urged international firms to avoid doing business with Iran.

Iran, the world’s fourth biggest oil exporter, insists its nuclear plans are aimed at producing electricity so that it can conserve its oil and gas resources for export and to prepare for the day when its huge energy reserves run out.

“We have asked our clients that whenever they are ready to exchange the dollar into any other currency, including the euro, we would be welcoming that. In Europe, almost -- I can say -- all have accepted, in Asian markets some,” he said.

Asked how much of Iran’s oil income was now being paid in currencies other than the dollar, he said: “It would be something close to 60 to 60 something percent.”

Iran is expected to earn more than $50 billion from its energy exports in the Iranian year that ended on March 20.