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Iran says will sell oil on ‘gray market’

A machine gun mounted on an Iranian oil platform. Marines confiscated weapons and gathered intelligence data from the platform which was later destroyed by gunfire from US destroyers in retaliation for the mining of the guided missile frigate USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (FFG 58) in the Persian Gulf. (U.S. National Archives/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran has mobilized all its resources to sell oil on the “gray market,” bypassing U.S. sanctions that Tehran considers illegitimate, Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia said on May 5.

His comments come days after Washington announced that it has decided not to reissue waivers in May allowing importers to buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions.

Washington reimposed tough sanctions on Iran after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers last year.

Trump says the Iran nuclear deal was “fatally flawed” because it did not address Iran’s ballistic-missile program or Tehran’s alleged state sponsorship of terrorism.

Tehran says it will continue to export oil in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

“We have mobilized all of the country’s resources and are selling oil on the ‘gray market,'” the official government news agency IRNA quoted Zamaninia as saying.

Zamaninia did not give any details about the “gray market.”

“We certainly won’t sell 2.5 million barrels per day as [we were] under the [nuclear deal],” Zamaninia said, giving no figures for current sales.

“We will need to make serious decisions about our financial and economic management, and the government is working on that.”

“This is not smuggling. This is countering sanctions which we do not see as just or legitimate,” Zamaninia added.

The United States has said it wants to cut Iranian oil exports to zero to deny the clerical establishment a principal source of revenue.