Reuters: Iran denied on Wednesday reports that sanctions are making it harder to import gasoline, one of the most vulnerable parts of the Iranian economy, which lacks sufficient domestic refining capacity.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran denied on Wednesday reports that sanctions are making it harder to import gasoline, one of the most vulnerable parts of the Iranian economy, which lacks sufficient domestic refining capacity.
“We do not have any problem in securing the country’s gasoline and we have not been facing any fuel deficiency,” Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi was quoted as saying by the students news agency ISNA.
According to Reuters calculations based on trade sources, Iran’s gasoline imports for August look set to be around half those of the previous month and down by almost 90 percent from a year ago.
A new round of U.S. and EU sanctions has choked off many potential suppliers to Iran, whose limited refining capacity means it has had to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline needs, even though it is the fifth-biggest oil exporter.
The sanctions are aimed at pressuring Iran to curb its nuclear program, which some countries fear is aimed at making weapons, something Tehran denies.
“Domestic gasoline production will be increased by 20 million liters (a day) soon and, because of this, we announce that we won’t need to import gasoline,” Mirkazemi said, without giving a time frame.
According to figures published by the oil ministry’s news website Shana, Iran produces some 45 million liters of gasoline per day and consumes 63 million liters of the automobile fuel.
Iran started fuelling its first nuclear power station on Saturday, part of an ambitious program for a huge nuclear energy supply to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels, freeing up more for export.
(Reporting by Ramin Mostafavi; Writing by Robin Pomeroy)