Iran's oil minister Javad Owji. File

Iran's oil minister Javad Owji

Iran Minister Says Ongoing Oil Exports Give Leverage In Nuclear Talks

3/12/2022

US seizure of Iranian tankers in recently has not stopped Tehran from increasing oil exports, giving Iran leverage in nuclear talks, the oil minister has said .

“The United States has on several occasions in the past months violated Iranian oil tankers to prevent export of shipments," Javad Owji said in an interview carried by Iranian media.

"When the enemy realized it could not stop our exports and contracts, they went after our ships," Owji said.

The rise had "even increased the bargaining power of friends in Vienna," he said, without elaborating.

His remarks follow reports of a recent seizure of an Iranian oil tanker in the Bahamas, even as indirect Iran-US talks in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal could see the lifting of sanctions.

A last-minute demand by Russia, a close ally of Iran, has forced world powers meeting in the Austrian capital to pause for an undetermined time, despite having a largely completed text.

On March 5, Russia unexpectedly demanded sweeping guarantees its trade with Iran would not be affected by sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine - a demand Western powers say is unacceptable and Washington has said it won't accept.

"Iran's oil exports have risen under the toughest sanctions and without waiting for the outcome of the Vienna talks," said Owji.

The increase was thanks to "different methods used to win contracts and finding different buyers," Owji said.

With reporting by Reuters

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