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Sanctions on Iran: Is there a limit to their effect on Iran's oil production?

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Vahid Salemi/AP/File

(Read caption) In this April 2008 file photo, Iranian oil technician Majid Afshari checks the oil separator facilities in Azadegan oil field, near Ahvaz, Iran. Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said neither crude oil sales nor production is impacted by sanctions imposed by Western governments, according to OilPrice.com, despite the numbers showing otherwise.

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The Iranian oil sector may be lagging because of declining revenue needed to keep the domestic sector afloat.  The country was hit with economic sanctions during the summer amid growing concerns over its nuclear ambitions and OPEC figures show a general decline in crude oil production from the Islamic republic. U.S. energy statistics, meanwhile, predict Iran's crude oil production should fall more than 20 percent compared to last year's figures. From the Iranian perspective, however, all is well for No. 3 among OPEC nations.

 
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said neither crude oil sales nor production is impacted by sanctions imposed by Western governments. The U.S. and European governments during the summer targeted the country's energy sector as punishment for transparency issues with nuclear research. This week's annual meeting for the U.N. General Assembly brought Iran's behavior in the global community to the center stage given nuclear concerns and Tehran's allegiance to the Syrian government. Nevertheless, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had provided leeway to some key U.S. allies. Despite a damning assessment from the International Atomic Energy Agency, Clinton said some countries would be shielded from sanctions for making "significant" cuts in crude oil purchases from Iran.
 
"I am pleased to announce that Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom have again qualified for an exception to sanctions … based on reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran," she said in a statement.  (RELATED: Will a Melting Arctic Help Postpone Peak Oil?)

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