Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Kazempour-Ardebili said on Tuesday that a lifting of US oil sanctions against Iran was "inevitable." "The lifting of sanctions is from now on inevitable, because the democrats, like the republicans, know that they (the sanctions) are of no use," he said during a news conference. According to Kazempour-Ardebili, big US oil firms "are pushing in favor of a lifting of the sanctions."
"Representatives from US oil firms had informed Iran five months ahead of the US presidential elections that in case of a republican victory, the sanctions would be lifted swiftly," he said.
"We told them that there were no difficulties on our side and that we hoped for a realization" of the lifting of sanctions, Kazempour-Ardebili said at the center for international energy studies in Tehran.
"The democrats and the republicans know that the sanctions must be lifted," the official said, adding that "in any case, the republican candidate knows very well that the democrats were ready to lift the (current) sanctions which will end next August."
During the past several months, US firms have repeatedly discussed the issue with Iranian officials. One of the staunchest supporters of such a move is the US oil firm Conoco Inc., which maintains a regular dialogue with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in the hope of contributing to a return of US firms to Iran.
Iran's parliament speaker Mehdi Karoubi who traveled to New York in September held talks with numerous US oil firms who reconfirmed their desire for a lifting of Washington's sanctions against Iran.
Moderate President Mohammad Khatami who also visited the UN headquarters in New York in September, affirmed that pressure was mounting on Washington to lift its sanctions against Iran.
His comments came shortly after US firms wrote an open letter to US President Bill Clinton calling for the sanctions to be lifted.
Iran, OPEC's second largest producer, generates 3.7 million barrels per day, more than any OPEC country apart from Saudi Arabia. The United States broke off ties with the Islamic republic in 1980 after radicals seized the US embassy in Tehran and took the staff hostage.
Since then, Washington has lifted sanctions on some non-oil Iranian exports in a bid to improve relations with the Iran, but its overtures have been accompanied by continuing hostility to Tehran, which it still accuses of sponsoring terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )