|Iran denies sharp fall in oil exports||
TEHRAN - Iran’s oil exports have remained steady in recent months, OPEC Governor Mohammad-Ali Khatibi said, refusing reports by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which claimed Iran’s oil exports had plunged in September.
"Iran's oil exports are the same as previous months and the situation is stable," Khatibi was quoted as saying by the ISNA News Agency on Saturday.
In a report on Friday, the IEA estimated Iran's exports falling to a new low of 860,000 barrels per day (bpd) in September, a huge plunge from 2.2 million bpd at the end of 2011, Reuters reported.
Khatibi also denied that the only buyers of Iranian oil were China, India, South Korea, Japan, and Turkey.
"The market for Iranian oil is beyond the mentioned countries...We are always exploring new markets but we don't publicise them much because it may be detrimental," Khatibi said without elaborating.
On September 2, Khatibi, who is also the director of the National Iranian Oil Company, said Iran's oil exports are at their normal level and are unaffected by Western embargoes.
"We don't see anything abnormal, almost everything is progressing routinely," he told the ISNA News Agency.
In July, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said that although the West has imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil sector with the goal of toppling the Islamic establishment, the country’s oil exports will never be halted because oil consuming countries need Iranian crude.
"There are many ways to easily sell oil, one of which is to take advantage of businessmen and the private sector," Qasemi said.
At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
U.S. sanctions entered into force on June 28, while EU bans on Iranian oil imports came into force on July 1.
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