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. ShahinS

    The leaders of Islamic Republic of Iran have read every conceivable propaganda book on planet Earth and exponentially made the art of duplicity better. These men and some women really know how to lie. Meanwhile, my 88 years old mother along with millions more who live on pension suffer. Who is he fooling?

    May 21, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  2. Snacklefish

    Must be a relative of Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  3. theone57

    you have the 3rd largest oil reserves in the world.
    yet you RATION oil for Iranians. sanctions dont hurt my a-s$

    May 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  4. jim

    Despite a threat by Russia about a missile shield directed at them and their willingness to attack. We have gone ahead anyway. June is just around the corner.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  5. rosie

    So many people on the right complain that words and diplomacy do not accomplish anything. We have been talking to North Korea since 1953 and they have yet to invade South Korea. Hmmmm. I guess talk helps.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Boogie man

      "Talk" makes no difference when a threat is no more than bluster all along.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
  6. Adam Balm

    Oh, how I would LOVE to see a "mushroom" planted in Tehran, Iran, and I sure as heck am not talking about the vegetable. My brother's name is Henry Balm. Both of our names ROCK (A-Balm and H-Balm)!!! We could do wonders for Tehran, Iran!!! LOL

    May 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  7. Robert Bretinhowzer

    You can CaptCrunch all you want,but I call BS.

    History demonstartes that if you pour milk over ceral and let it stand it eneviitably becomes sogy and is discarded soon after.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
    • Neko

      Could you explain your analogy?

      May 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • π is delicious

      soggy cereal........ really........ you would throw away sorry cereal....... what a waste. Anyway, please explain.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  8. experiencehe

    Yes Rosie, in the mean time the puppet of China, N. Korea, continues w/ their nuke and ballistic missille programs just waiting for the time when big brother China needs them to secure the peninsula. Common sense isn't as common as it used to be Rosie. Iran must be dealt w/ by force if they won't do anything meaningful to show they only want this power for electricity production. Question, why would one of the top producers of fossil fuels in the world need atomic energy? Think on that libbys/commies!!!~ I guess Israel will once again be forced to do the dirty work!!!

    May 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  9. dd

    Islamic countries are still in the 7th century. Maybe these countries should be turned over to chimpanzees who can put the in-humans in zoos. At least the chimps would have a chance to become civilized.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  10. Master Jedi ™

    Interesting how much face time CNN gave to Hillary Mann Leverett, an Iranian apologist in comparison to those of opposite persuasion. Also, note the softball Q&A with the Iranian official. It was nothing more than a platform for his/Iran propagandist banter.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  11. ted

    The name of the game is – who is hurting more you or us? That's what drives the negotiations. But even if they come to some agreement, is Iran's word mean anything? For years they said one thing and did the other.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  12. Vernon Shiloh

    Iran may not be intimidated by sanctions, but I bet a nuclear warhead would get their attention!

    May 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
    • Looking over their shoulder

      They're scared spitless of Israel. The Israelis don't put up with Iranian claptrap the way we do. They took them down once and they'll do it again.

      May 22, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
  13. Matt A.

    To t:

    Israel already has at least two nuclear subs, and just last week took delivery from Germany of at least two more–with more on the way. Some of those funds for purchasing the subs was likely in the form of US aid, but I'm not preaching here.

    The President has difficulties with nuclear power and fossil fuels, so the 2 trillion for hybrids may be forthcoming, assuming he wins in November

    May 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • Neko

      "but I'm not preaching here". Your rhetoric is laughable.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Reply
  14. Hammertime

    fudging sand n1gg3rs............. ever since jesus freed the black man, its been give me this, give me that......... what about mexico?

    May 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • Neko

      You are obviously an islamist trying to create some other sh iet so that we do not pay so much attention to your bretheren.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • Troll Patrol®

      BUSTED!! Please go away!

      May 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply

    pew pew pew, we're in you're base!

    May 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  16. Bock

    "80% of the economy based on oil" Those 80% will not disappear on July 1st, as only part of the industrial world has signed them. The biggest signature missing is... China... that is looking for cheap energy.
    Be sure that China will wait for the sanctions to start to buy all that oil at discounted price, boosting their economy while ours sink even more from oil price going up.
    I am now just waiting to see Russia buy a portion of that discounted oil and resell it to Europe, with a profit 🙂
    As a reminder, last March, Pakistan announced it would finish the gaz pipeline to Iran... so one more way around sanctions.
    War is good for business, in a world of opportunities and limited ressources.

    May 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  17. rick

    "we are not hiding anything but we wont show you. we'd rather die than show you" real convincing argument, if you're an idiot

    May 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  18. Jeff

    This guy reminds me of Baghdad Bob... "We are winning. Pay no attention to that American tank group moving across your tv screen in the background!"

    May 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  19. Willie12345

    Hillary has got them by the baxxs, she just doesn't know what to do with them. That's way Bill strayed.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  20. maryam cerqueira

    dear fareed
    do you really think this guy knows anythink about sanctions,,him and the other big boys dont feel the sanction,only people have to live with it,,,i start to laugh when he talked about the growth of almost 30percen,
    why the world gouverment does not give him a job to solve world economical problem,,
    best rigards

    May 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  21. mardjan

    I don't know! He is right! doing the math if Iran loses 28% of the oil sales (what Europe buys) and the price goes up to 160 a barrel, they will have a 10% increase in the oil revenue. So they will be in gain and we will have to buy more expensive oil.Way to go, Hillary! with friends like you who needs....

    May 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Reply
  22. rad666

    Sanction Iran while Afghanistan is doing trade deals with them while NATO troops' blood runs in Afghan soil?

    May 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  23. Iran Lover

    nearly all the comments I read are about war and nuking Iran! and you people in the US deem yourselves as the saviors of democracy and freedom? people read some history and facts rather than repeating what the politicians feed you everyday! I'll give you some facts to think about: 1. In modern times that have not invaded or attacked any country. You would have to go back to biblical times and that is more than 2000 years ago. Wish I could say the same for the US. 2. Iran does allow inspections actually it has had over 3000 surprise inspections that resulted in discovery of no nuclear weapons program. 3. Yes sanctions may have effected the economy but if you study Iran's history you will see that Iranians would rather die than bow down to double standards and pressure from outside.

    You have to have lived in the country to understand the mindset of this proud nation. Just one fact will give you a perspective: The Arabs invaded Iran during the 7th century to export Islam to a Zoroastrian nation. The Iranians accepted Islam but never lost their language or their customs. While every region that was invaded in the Muslim conquest assimilated into their culture and lost their language altogether.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:25 am | Reply
    • Nice try...

      "Surprise inspectons" LOL. Iran allowed inspectors to see only what they wanted them to see. That's not an inspection. It's a guided tour. Now about that denial of yours...

      May 22, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply
    • Albert Von Sachsen

      Perhaps Iranians were not intelligent enough to learn Arab properly, which means they don`t know what they are saying while they pray.

      May 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
      • Iran Lover

        nice try but your rantings will not change the facts and what has been inked in history! Your responses clearly display your intelligence level!

        May 23, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  24. Against War

    We need to know who is behind all this? Who is promoting the war with Iran? And why? Obviously Israel is the only country in middle east that is against Iran’s nuclear power. Don’t get me wrong I am not against Israel or any other country/religion, etc. but we need to be intelligent and ask these questions.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:09 am | Reply
    • Paul

      Not true. Its well known that most other countries in the region are VERY concerned about the Iraninan N-program.

      May 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Reply
      • Iran Lover

        Yea! and why do you think that is? Is it because they fear that Iran will use it or is it due to the fact that Iran’s relations with Arabs have been traditionally determined by a triangle whose three sides included Iran, Arabs and the United States. The Arab side of the triangle has been historically and strategically dependent on the United States and has never spared any effort to meet the interests of the US?

        think about it!

        May 23, 2012 at 3:34 am |
  25. acajunthatsagun

    The Iranians can keep telling themselves the sanctions don't hurt, but you know they lie.

    May 22, 2012 at 1:24 am | Reply
  26. Against War

    I see so much hatered agonst people who read and respond. We are all forgetting that we are just people and the leaders are running the game. We are the actors on stage who are being directed by directors, and producers.

    May 22, 2012 at 2:29 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      THE DRAMA!
      Hey buddy, you have seen too much Iranian soaps.

      May 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Reply
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