Iran has the capacity to respond to Europe’s sanctions on the Islamic Republic by withholding on gas supplies, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says.
“The hapless Europe needs gas and based on existing explorations, we possess the biggest share of the world’s gas reserves,” the leader said.
“If sanctions are supposed to be the way, it is the Iranian nation which will sanction them in the future,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.
Europe and the US have been using the weapon of sanctions to twist Iran’s arm on its nuclear program.
Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Iran holds the world’s largest oil and reserves combined and when the time comes we will sanction them and the Islamic Republic is capable of doing that.”
According to statistical energy reviews, Iran holds the world’s largest proven natural gas reserves, at 33.8 trillion cubic meters or 18.2 percent of the total proven reserves.
The country’s proven oil deposit is estimated 157 billion barrels, the fourth-biggest after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and, Canada.
Alternative to Russian gas
Europe relies on Russia for gas supplies but rising tensions over the Ukraine conflict have exposed the Europeans to a challenging quandary for energy security.
Emerging markets in Asia and their insatiable thirst for energy meanwhile leave Europe with few options to cut itself off Russia’s apron strings for gas.
Reuters has reported that the European Union was “quietly increasing the urgency of a plan to import natural gas from Iran”, citing the country “far towards the top of our priorities for mid-term measures.”
Internal EU energy security documents seen by Reuters also describe plans to tap new non-European gas import sources in central Asia, including Iran.
Weapon of sanctions
The Europeans, however, have clipped their wings with their own sanctions and those by the US.
Just a week ago, EU governments agreed to put the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) back on the list of sanctioned firms.
The decision came even after the EU’s second highest court ruled last July that there were no grounds to blacklist the NITC.
It also came in the midst of crucial talks between Iran and the West to find a final solution to nuclear differences between them.
"I believe that if we allow them to dictate to us on the nuclear issue, they will still keep the sanctions in place because what they are against is the very foundation of our revolution," Ayatollah Khamenei said on Wednesday.
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