TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has stored up imports and hard currency for a "battle" against "dastardly" EU sanctions, officials said Sunday, the day that the measures aimed at pressuring the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear program take effect.
Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said the country has stockpiled the population's daily needs to reduce the impact of the embargo hitting the oil and banking sectors.
"Today, we are facing the heaviest of sanctions and we ask people to help officials in this battle," Rahimi was quoted by state television's website as saying at a religious conference. He said the "dastardly sanctions" might cause "occasional confusion" in the market, but that the Iranian nation would not be stopped.
Central bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani also told the semiofficial Mehr news agency that Iran has "plans" to deal with the embargo and enough hard currency to meet its import needs.
The EU said earlier this week that all contracts for importing Iranian oil will have to be terminated from Sunday. Also, European companies will no longer be involved in insuring Iranian oil.
The measures come on top of previous sanctions levied by the U.S. and the West that have already hit Iran's economy. U.S. officials say the American sanctions have cut exports of Iranian crude from about 2.5 million barrels a day last year to between 1.2 and 1.8 million barrels now.
"We have not remained passive. To confront the sanctions, we have plans in progress," said Bahmani. He did not elaborate on the plans.
On Saturday Bahmani said Iran is "easily" selling its oil despite all current and future sanctions because some countries have received waivers from the U.S. to import some Iranian oil despite the punitive measures.