Tehran official: World needs Iran oil
Tehran - Iran's oil and gas reserves are so vast they cannot be excluded from the world market as France is urging the West to do, Mehr news agency on Friday quoted the National Iranian Oil Company head as saying.
"Iran possesses massive oil and gas reserves... Thus ignoring Iran in oil and gas exchange will not be acceptable (by the international community)," said Ahmad Qalebani, who is also a deputy oil minister.
France's announcement that it would soon stop importing oil from Iran was hollow, he added.
"The National Iranian Oil Company does not export any crude oil to France that could be subject to sanctions," he said.
France on Thursday said it would stop buying Iranian oil. The foreign ministry said the move would be organised "in liaison with the European partners".
France has called on other Western nations to put in place an embargo on Iran's oil exports.
According to the US Energy Information Agency, France imports the equivalent of 49 000 barrels of Iranian crude per day, a tiny fraction of Iran's oil exports.
France's move followed co-ordinated announcements by the United States, Britain and Canada on Monday saying they were slapping additional unilateral sanctions on Iran's financial sector.
The US and Canada also unveiled extra sanctions targeting Iran's petrochemical and oil and gas sectors.
The United States already has no dealings with Iranian energy companies. Its additional measures were aimed at dissuading foreign firms from doing business with Iran if they wanted to have access to the US market.
Qalebani said Canadian sanctions on the sale of petrochemical technology and equipment were only words.
"Iran does not import any oil and gas equipment from Canada. This country has no role in supplying parts and equipment to Iran's oil industry," he said.
The Western countries are imposing the unilateral sanctions to ramp up the pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme, which they fear is being used to develop atomic weapons.
Iran has repeatedly denied the programme has any military dimensions to it.