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Iran aims to get rid of dollar, euro -report

To be replaced with the currency of "any other country that would cooperate with us."

August 9, 2010 4:25 by

Iran aims to reduce the dollars and euros in its foreign currency reserves, first Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said on Monday.

“We are after withdrawing the dollar and euro from the foreign exchange basket and replacing them with the (Iranian) rial or the currency of any other country that would cooperate with us,” he said at an education ministry conference, according to news agencies.

“Since we regard these currencies as untouchable, we will not be selling our oil in dollars or euros,” Rahimi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

Tehran does not disclose the size of its reserves or the proportions of the currencies in it. For several years its stated policy has been to move away from the dollar both in its reserves and in the currency it receives for its oil exports.

In June, the central bank denied a news report that it was reversing that policy and selling 45 billion euros from its reserves to buy dollars and gold ingots.

Rahimi announced last month that Iran would switch to currencies other than euros and dollars for its oil exports.

Ideologically opposed to the United States, the major oil exporter suggested to fellow OPEC members at a 2007 summit that oil should be priced in a basket of currencies rather than dollars. It failed to win over other member states except Venezuela.

The new hostility to the euro comes after the European Union followed up a fourth round of U.N. sanctions on Iran with its own, tougher measures which make it more difficult for European companies to do business with Iran and limit euro-denominated transfers.

The sanctions were imposed after months of lobbying by Washington which fears Iran is seeking nuclear weapons capability. Tehran says it has a sovereign right to nuclear technology which it wants for energy and other peaceful uses.

(Reporting by Hossein Jaseb; Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Ron Askew)

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