Jul 10, 2018 17:27 Asia/Tehran
  • Iran vows to defy U.S.sanctions by 'selling as much oil as it can'

Iran’s first vice president acknowledged on Tuesday that U.S. sanctions would hurt the economy, but promised to “sell as much oil as we can” and to protect the banking sector.

Iran's first vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, said Washington was trying to stop Iran’s petrochemical, steel and copper exports. “America seeks to reduce Iran’s oil sales, our vital source of income, to zero,” he said.

“It would be a mistake to think the U.S. economic war against Iran will have no impact,” Jahangiri added.

President Donald Trump said in May he would pull the United States out of an international accord under which Tehran had agreed to limit its civilian nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the meeting of top businessmen of Iran and Austria in Vienna said US sanctions create problems for people’s lives in Iran, and is 'an international crime'.

Trump said he would reintroduce sanctions and Washington later told countries they must stop buying Iran’s oil from 4 November or face financial consequences.

Also, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution, deplored a recent letter signed by a number of Iranian reformist figures who demanded the country’s officials hold direct negotiations with the US to resolve the standoff over the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

On Tuesday, the U.S. ambassador to Germany also called on Berlin to block an Iranian bid to withdraw large sums of cash from bank accounts in Germany.

Jahangiri said Iran’s foreign ministry and the central bank have taken measures to facilitate Iran’s banking operations despite the U.S. sanctions. He did not elaborate.

European powers which still support the nuclear deal say they will do more to encourage their businesses to remain engaged with Iran - though a number of firms have already said they plan to pull out.