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Oil Minister Says Iran Will Not Comply With 'Illegal' U.S. Sanctions

Iraq's oil minister, Thamer Ghadhban (first from right), says Iraq is honoring an existing exploration agreement with neighboring Iran. He received Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh (first from left), in Baghdad on Thursday. January 10, 2019.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Thursday U.S. sanctions against his country were "fully illegal" and Tehran would not comply with them.

Zanganeh, speaking at a joint news conference in Baghdad with Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadhban, said Iran would not discuss the volume or destination of its oil exports while it remained under U.S. sanctions.

After President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the United States reimposed partial oil export sanctions on Iran.

Iran's oil exports dramatically declined in the last three months of 2018 by at least one million barrels per day. Before the sanctions Iran was exporting around 2.7 barrels daily,

The decline in oil revenues and the effect of other U.S. sanctions have badly hit Iran's economy. The national currency has declined three-fold while inflation is hovering just under 40 percent.

Iraq has received permission from the U.S. to continue to buy fuel from Iran for electricity generation but it is not clear how long the U.S. will prolong the waiver.

Ghadhban said Iraq had not yet reached an agreement with Iran to develop joint oilfields. He also said the decline in global oil prices had stopped and that he expected them to improve gradually.

Reporting by Reuters