Iran Registers Five-Time Growth in Exports despite Sanctions

FARS News Agency – January 2, 2011

Despite international sanctions and certain western countries’ unilateral bans and embargos, Iran has boosted its exports by 500% during the last 8 years.

Reports show that despite the hostile policies and moves of the United States and its European allies, Iran has shown a promising trend of growth in area of economy.

The latest statistical figures presented by the Iranian commerce and economic bodies, the country has experienced a five-time growth in exports to over 160 world countries, while it imports have increase by 200% during the last 8 years.

Also, during the last 9 months of the current Iranian year (March 21 to December 21), the country’s exports have grown to $31.9bln which shows a 37.8% increase compared with the same period last year.

It is noteworthy that Iran has imported goods from 37 European countries and exported its products to 35 of them in the last 8 years.

Iran is under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used their influence on the UN Security Council to press for fresh sanctions against Tehran.

Iranian officials have repeatedly refuted the accusations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Tehran has the right to use civilian nuclear technology.

Iran, which sits on the world’s second largest reserves of both oil and gas, has dismissed US sanctions as inefficient, saying that it is finding Asian partners instead. Several Chinese and other Asian firms are negotiating or signing up to oil and gas deals.

Following US pressures on companies to stop business with Tehran, many western companies decided to do a balancing act. They tried to maintain their presence in Iran, which is rich in oil and gas, but not getting into big deals that could endanger their interests in the US.

Yet, after oil giants in the West witnessed that their absence in big deals has provided Chinese, Indian and Russian companies with excellent opportunities to sign up to an increasing number of energy projects and earn billions of dollars, they started showing increasing interest to invest or expand work in Iran.

Some European states have also voiced interest in investment in Iran’s energy sector after the gas deal was signed between Iran and Switzerland regardless of US sanctions.

The National Iranian Gas Export Company and Switzerland’s Elektrizitaetsgesellschaft Laufenburg signed a 25-year deal in March 2008 for the delivery of 5.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

The biggest recent deal, worth €100m ($147m, £80m), was signed by Steiner Prematechnik Gastec, the German engineering company, this year to build equipment for three gas conversion plants in Iran.

Also, the New York Times reported in December 2010 that over the past decade, the US-based companies have done billions of dollars in trade with Iran despite sanctions and trade embargoes imposed on Tehran.

One American company, the daily said, was permitted to do work on an Iranian gas pipeline, despite sanctions aimed at Iran’s gas industry in particular.

The transactions have been made possible by a 2000 law that allows exemptions from sanctions for companies selling food or medical products, the report added.

Iranian officials have always stressed that the International and unilateral sanctions against Iran have had no result but inflicting damage on the European companies.

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