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Iran Oil Minister Says If Sanctions Are Reduced Oil Production Can Be Swiftly Increased

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh listens to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, July 1, 2019

Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh has said that if there is a reprieve in U.S. sanctions on the country’s oil exports, Iran can increase its output “within three days”.

With the introduction of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports last November, the country’s oil production also slowed down. But until May Iran was exporting a limited quantity of oil, as Washington had allowed a few countries to continue buying from Iran.

However, the U.S. imposed a total ban early May and Iran’s exports dropped from a pre-sanction high of 2.5 million barrels per day to less than 200,000; also reducing production. Iran’s crude storage facilities are full and it simply cannot produce more while it has no buyers.

Talk of a reprieve has emerged in recent days, as President Emmanuel Macron has been trying to find a formula to reduce tensions between Iran and the United States. There have been reports that Iran is demanding to be allowed to export 700,000 barrels per day.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif flew to Biarritz and met the French president for talks, but so far there has been no breakthrough. Iran’s economy is in a dire situation and even a partial reprieve in oil sanctions can help Iran manage somehow.