(Updates Iran oil production in last paragraph.)
Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Iran dismissed the latest U.S. sanctions against its financial institutions as “psychological warfare” and said the Islamic Republic was open to “meaningful talks” on its nuclear program.
Sanctions against Iran will fail to influence the nation’s determination to pursue its “rights” and will have “no impact,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters today in Tehran. His comments were aired live by state-run Press TV.
President Barack Obama yesterday ordered a block on property and interests in property belonging to the Iranian government, its central bank and all Iranian financial institutions. The move is the latest in a series of economic and financial sanctions applied by the U.S. and its allies to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which they accuse of having military objectives, a claim Iran denies.
The European Union, collectively the No. 2 importer of Iranian oil in the first half of 2011, last month approved a ban on Iranian oil purchases by the 27-nation bloc set to take effect on July 1.
Iran has certain “measures on the agenda,” Mehmanparast said in reply to a question about the possibility that Iran will preemptively cut exports to Europe in response to the EU decision. “It’s natural to say that when countries act as enemies, they will face repercussions.”
Iran has answered “ambiguities” around its nuclear activities that were raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mehmanparast said.
IAEA inspectors visited Iran for talks last month and are expected to return to Tehran for further meetings. The IAEA today corrected the dates of the upcoming visit to Feb. 20-21, according to an e-mailed statement. The Vienna-based agency said previously the meetings in Tehran would take place Feb. 21-22.
Iran, the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, pumped about 3.545 million barrels of crude a day last month, a Bloomberg survey showed, and exported an average 2.58 million barrels a day in 2010, according to OPEC statistics.
--With assistance from Indira A.R. Lakshmanan in Washington. Editors: Louis Meixler, Karl Maier, Jennifer Freedman, Andrew J. Barden.
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