Iranian oil exports have improved since early November: Iran president

FILE PHOTO: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid/File Photo

GENEVA (Reuters) - Exports of Iranian oil have improved since early November, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said in a statement broadcast live on state TV on Tuesday.

The United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil industry in early November and U.S. officials have said they want to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.

Tensions have spiked between Iran and the United States after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in May.

He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

“The goal of the Americans was to block our oil exports. I want to say frankly to our people that our oil exports after (Nov. 4) have improved by degrees,” Rouhani said. “So the Americans have been unsuccessful with regard to the oil issue.”

The United States was also unsuccessful in preventing OPEC from cutting production, Rouhani said.

OPEC and its Russia-led allies agreed last week to slash oil production by more than the market had expected despite pressure from Trump to reduce the price of crude.

“The Americans were unsuccessful in this OPEC meeting and the Islamic Republic of Iran, fortunately, had some good successes,” Rouhani said. “The process of selling our oil will continue in the same way as it did before this meeting.”

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh, editing by Louise Heavens