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Iran says oil trade with China, Japan down

The toughest sanctions have been imposed by the United States and the European Union.

October 29, 2010 12:40 by

Iran’s oil trade with China and Japan — two of its biggest markets — has fallen, but only temporarily, its OPEC governor was quoted as saying on Friday.

“The reduction in the volume of oil trade between Iran and China and Japan is short term,” Mohammad Ali Khatibi said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, has been hit by international sanctions aimed at pressuring it to curb its nuclear programme which some countries fear is aimed at making a bomb, something Tehran denies.

Iran has consistently said sanctions — which have caused several foreign companies to pull out of investing in its energy sector — will not damage its economy.

The toughest sanctions have been imposed by the United States and the European Union but they do not bar countries like China and Japan from buying Iranian crude.

Khatibi did not say why trade with those countries was down, or by how much, but he said crude importers could not avoid buying from Iran.

“Supplies of energy is what all countries need, especially the eastern countries, and whether they like it or not they have to supply their needs from the countries which have the reserves, including Iran,” he said

In an interview with Fars, Khatibi said Iran was happy with the current price of crude.

“The price of the OPEC basket from the beginning of 2010 until now, in a range between $70 and $85, is desirable for the Iranian market,” he said.

(Writing by Robin Pomeroy; editing by Sue Thomas)

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