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?)