May 21st, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Iran economic minister: Sanctions not hurting us

As Iran prepares to meet again with the U.S. and other countries to negotiate its nuclear program, the country's economic minister insisted in an interview Sunday with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that the crippling sanctions imposed on Iran were not having as much of an impact as believed.

Minister Shamseddin Hosseini argued that his country has a much broader economy than just oil.

"Last year, the total non-oil exports increased by 30 percent and according to the latest reports that the International Monetary Fund has published, Iran's GDP – Iran's per capita income has also increased," Hosseini said in the interview on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

Zakaria pressed Hosseini on the argument, asking how it could be that the country is not affected when 80% of its foreign revenues come from foreign sales of oil.

Watch the exchange in the video above (or check out the transcript below):

ZAKARIA: You're telling me that these restrictions on oil, particularly if the European Union goes through with them, the Indians say they're buying less from you, the Japanese say they are buying less form you, these are not going to affect you, 80 percent of your external revenues come from oil.

HOSSEINI: We must pay close to attention when we speak of oil revenues and sanctions against oil sales. Who are the winners and the losers of such sanctions?

Indeed, it is difficult, but not just for Iran. And we can all rest assured that there will be a considerable increase in international oil market prices. Now, is this the best approach?

ZAKARIA: Just to be clear because this is very important, you think that if the European Union goes through with the oil embargo, which is slated to go into effect in July, oil prices will go up very substantially?

HOSSEINI: Certain, certainly. Even the IMF says that as a result of these sanctions, oil prices will perhaps reach and hover around $160 per barrel. And the decrease in financial and economic output in Europe will truly be felt.

ZAKARIA: How long can you endure these kind of sanctions because they are affecting your banks, they're affecting, now, the Senate is passing ones relating to the oil – the tanker business.

How long can you continue to withstand these sanctions?

HOSSEINI: We have been the subject, the target of sanctions for the last 33 years. We never went looking for these sanctions, but during the last few years, of course, the volume of these sanctions have increased tremendously.

And we believe that those who impose the sanctions have exerted the maximum level of pressure they have been capable of, but the reality that is showing itself today is that the capacities and the economic specialties and strengths of Iran are such that can cause a backlash – an economic backlash for the imposers of these sanctions and their countries.

This really shows that the economy – economic strength of Iran is in such a way that can withstand these sanctions and will not be the only economy to suffer.

ZAKARIA: So if – but if these sanctions do cost you a lot, cost the average Iranian a lot, why not allow the IAEA inspectors in, say to them you can go to every facility including the ones that we have previously not allowed you to.

We have nothing to hide. You can see all our nuclear programs and certify that it's peaceful and once you get that certification, these sanctions will get lifted.

HOSSEINI: We have said time and time again that we will not give up this unalienable right. We are a member – full signatory and abiding member of the IAEA.

There are conversations and dialogues taking place currently, but there cannot be a hegemony and a double-standard in the treatment of member countries such as Iran.

If these principles can be understood and applied with mutual respect, I think we will be in a much better place.

ZAKARIA: Final question, what will the price of oil be in August of this year?

HOSSEINI: I believe that we must, at least, in order to have sustainable growth for the producers maintain prices at $100 per barrel. But keep in mind the following, can the industrial powers get out of the current situation they're in with these prices?

Therefore, the answer being obvious, the prices will go considerably higher than $100 per barrel. If we see reforms – tangible reforms in this behavior, we will be in a much better place. If we don't, we will witness an increase in international oil markets.

Post by:
Topics: Iran

soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Everett Wallace

    iran and saudi arabia the well has run dry for the both of you.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
  2. Everett Wallace

    rag heads

    May 21, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
  3. clearick

    What a natural born liar- even when Fareed asked him, why don't you allow inspectors in, he couldn't give a straight answer. The Gulf states hate Iran and will pump as much oil as they can, and profit from keeping Iran's oil out of the market. So it's not entirely clear if prices will rise and this Iranian doesn't know if they will or not. All this shows is that Iran's leaders are still unrealistic about the rest of the world's resolve and refuse to admit that the Sanctions are killing them. Their currency lost half it's value...but Iran's leadership won't admit anything....

    May 21, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
  4. asdf

    Don't love much about Iran, but gotta give them credit on their fashion sense. Love the shirt. Wish we gave up on ties and flip-down collars.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply
  5. bob

    Surprise – Surprise the sanctions aren't working –Oh my, now what will we do ?

    May 21, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
    • Neko

      Sanctions ARE working.
      However, we should tighten the noose. Maybe, just maybe, the people will rise up against these thugs hiding under "Islam, the religion of peace". What a joke!

      May 21, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • Bill Duke

      Maybe we could give Obama another undeserved Nobel Peace prize for just showing up.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  6. iran is not about to give up its nuclear weapons program after 20 yrs and billions upon billions of dollars....not a chance...why is the media suggesting it will?

    obama and the eu are going to make a deal, any deal, as long as obama gets to SAY he got a deal and he gets re-elected and as long as the euros get their oil, then who cares if iran gets nukes and destabilizes the whole world....

    what a shame barack obama is.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
    • Neko

      How much does your imam/mullah pay you to spout this cr ap?

      May 21, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • chrisB

      What a strange comment.

      May 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  7. RUCrazy

    It's unbelievable how many here want to march off to war again. Oh wait, they want 'others' to do it for them. They are probably the same ones who whine about our country's debt. None of these wars since WW2 have accomplished a thing, but leave many Americans dead or wounded. How about trying something new?

    May 21, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
  8. Steve

    This is the European Union with or without france? France cheated on the last one with Iraq if memory serves......

    May 21, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • Neko

      Okay, I am listening. Explain yourself–if your memory serves you right.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
  9. Dave

    OMG... when does not telling anything near the truth come into play.... we are bits of sand in a big ocean.. Hopefully before the Sun explodes we'll learn to live together.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
  10. MazeAndBlue

    Half empty or half full. The people of Iran will suffer. They hate us anyway, who cares! If these sanctions don't work, well just DUCK!!

    May 21, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
  11. Dave

    We all hoped religion was the answer... is it ?

    May 21, 2012 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • Neko

      "religion the answer"?????????????

      May 21, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
      • Dave

        I jest .. we all know what religion has done for the world... we want to believe in something, but it's all f'd up...

        May 21, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  12. Dave

    Boneheads all the way around...political and religious.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:04 am | Reply
  13. hah! Mere flesh wound!

    Sure Mr Iranian dude, we believe you.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
  14. Dave

    Think about it (even us Hawks).... imagine all the money going into killing our brothers/sisters was aimed at something else. I am not nieve.. the world sucks.. but just imagine.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • Neko

      Tell your islamic friends the same story and see what they say.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
    • experiencehe

      ahmmmm....that would be NAIVE!!!
      OBAMANOS!!!

      May 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  15. John

    Sanctions not hurting...that's is a foolish statement that reflects its lack of believability in all arena's of politics. Since the Internet era came to life, politicians are still learning that people can see the damage sanctions have made in Iran's economy. Oil is their economies heartbeat, and to claim that oil is a small part of the countries economy wreaks of BS.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
  16. future123

    USA must support the revolution in Syria. If the syrian regime falls, the iranian regime will follow. The cost to get rid of the ranian regime will be minimum by not having to go to war with iran and waste another american soldier's life.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
  17. AGB

    The problem with sanctions are the they are only effective on countries who care about their people ... such countries would likely not do anything that would have resulted in sanctions in the first place. So sanction a country, anger the people, have their government tell them that it's your fault, then then the people get upset enough to overthrow their government, then they finally will install a new ruling body no better than the former ... and you will be their mortal enemy.

    A vicious cycle indeed. Well done.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:33 am | Reply
  18. JFK

    Boycott their oil.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • MG.

      We don't get our oil from Iran or the middle for that matter! Most of our imported oil comes from Canada and Mexico. China is the single largest buyer of Iranian oil. If you're wondering why oil prices keep going up it's, because our "spend thrift president" Obama who added about 6 trillion to our national deficit in less than 3.5 years. Canadian dollars are now worth more than U.S. dollars are for the first time in about 70 years! ....you can look these facts up at "federalbudget" dot com.

      May 25, 2012 at 5:38 am | Reply
  19. Chuk

    Leave it to the US to tell others they have a headache. The US should concentrate on solving its own problems and not keep sticking its nose in others. It keeps giving the impression that it has no issues at home when we know that's not true. Until it gives up its hypocritical position of making its foes give up nuclear weapons while tolerating the same by its friends, it can't be seen as a serious intermediary. This so-called "honest broker" is just trying to punish its enemies and reward its friends who do exactly the same thing – build nuclear weapons.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
    • They're always complaining

      Remember your drivel the next time you ask the U.S. to step in and solve one of your problems.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
  20. joe

    Might want to ask the people that. The government is dining on caviar while people are trying to eat the bark off trees.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
  21. no nothing

    If Iran says, We are not hurting,, they are hurting. Well maybe not the upper elite, but the Iranian on the street is hurting. However, to leaders the hurting people are martyrs for the Islamic cause to destroy the evil west.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
  22. Garcia

    If it meant the end of Iran, as it is today, with none of our troops or bombs involved, I would gladly pay $5.00 a gallon for fuel.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
  23. Nick Bruiser

    Why do countries like Iran and North Korea continue to make news??

    May 21, 2012 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • Neko

      because they thrive on threatening the free, civilized world.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  24. anti Imperialist

    Notorious representation . If sanction hurt it does not mean the USA will win . We Iranian are ready to accept it . When the usa can topple Iranian regime then the USA will win . all results make no sense . Leaving nuclear programme will not stop western hostility .

    May 21, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
    • Neko

      US does not want to control a new government. The US wants a sane, civilized, non-threatening trading partner who does not murder its own people.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • John

      it will be at a time of our chooseing.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  25. SoldierOfFortunes

    They crucify those they cannot forget...and hate you when you are independently owned and operated. It is Time.
    Humanity is sick of the WHINING about nuclear war when USA has a KODAK moment with a box of uranium 93% grade!
    And since there are more people then politicians, it is pretty much over before it starts, BIG changes in 2012...we the people globally will be a new slogan....Thousand Foot Crutch – Move – show me what you can do....it has begun...

    May 21, 2012 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • Neko

      By using rhetoric like "crucify" you try and bring division and hatred. Stop being a fool.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
      • SoldierOfFortunes

        yeah let's have Assad kill 11,000 more people...like I said they crucify those they cannot forget...that is a fact Jack!

        May 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  26. qq

    Minister Shamseddin Hosseini refuses to accept reality.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  27. John

    LOL..now there's someone that is telling a lie. He's not very good at it.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  28. Asturiano

    They must be smokin Persian Poppies

    May 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  29. stonycurtis6

    hmmm, my crystal ball tells me this is not going to be the "Summer of Love" for these numbnuts.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  30. areacode612

    Cool. Then countries can tighten down the sanctions even more!

    May 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
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