TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- The CEO of Iran’s National Petrochemical Company has shrugged off U.S. sanctions on the country’s largest and most profitable petrochemical group, saying they will not impact the industry.
"The newly-announced US embargo will have no effect on the production and sale of Iranian petrochemicals,” Behzad Muhammadi told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony to sign an industrial development agreement.
"The petrochemical industry has been grappling with sanctions for many years, and in this situation, we are looking to develop this industry,” Press TV quoted him as saying.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department said it had hit Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) with economic sanctions due to its ties with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
The IRGC, founded in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution, is tasked with defending Iran against threats, but its civilian branch has been playing a key role in the country’s development projects as a strategic partner in many fields.
The Treasury said in a statement that its sanctions aim to choke off financing to the PGPIC and extends to its 39 subsidiaries and "foreign-based sales agents”.
The PGPIC group, it said, holds 40 percent of Iran’s total petrochemical production capacity and is responsible for 50% of the country’s petrochemical exports.
Washington is trying to stop Iran’s petrochemical, steel and copper exports, and to disrupt its ports and shipping services.
Muhammadi said, "Sanctions against Iran's petrochemical industry are not a new thing, because we have been struggling with these issues for many years, and have still been able to build an appropriate production and sale basis.”
On Tuesday, Iranian media outlets said the country is pressing ahead with building its third petrochemical hub which will have such capacities as power generation, water production, petroleum refining as well as steel and aluminum production.
The hub, being branded as Iran’s second Assaluyeh, will be established in Hormozgan province, facing Oman and the UAE across the Persian Gulf, with a capacity to produce 15-18 million tonnes of petrochemicals a year.
"We will use the internal capacity to attract the private sector’s investment in the form of BOO to expand the region,” head of Iran's state-owned mines and metal holding company IMIDRO Khodadad Gharibpour said.
In September, Iran brought online 3.4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of new methanol, urea and ammonia capacity at a cost of $1.85 billion.
In the petrochemical sector, the country is seeking to build 25 projects which are estimated to require $32 billion in foreign investment. The projects range from ammonia and urea to gas-to-olefins (GTO) and gas-to-propylene (GTP) plants.
On Monday, President Hassan Rouhani urged European countries to resist U.S. "economic terrorism” against the Iranian nation and live up to their obligations as per the nuclear deal.
Rouhani made the remarks here in a meeting with the visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who visited Iran as part of the Europeans’ effort to salvage the accord.
"We expect Europe to stand up to and resist America’s economic terrorism against the Iranian nation and fulfill its obligations in accordance with the JCPOA,” Rouhani said.
"The war that the U.S. has waged against Iran since a year ago, will not serve the interest of anybody and the Iranian nation has proved during this period that it will resist against pressure and bullying," Rouhani said.
The Iranian president said U.S. restrictions on the imports of food and medicine to Iran are aimed at exerting pressure on the Iranian people and are in line with Washington’s policy to foment insecurity in the region.
"Regional security will never be achieved through imposing pressure and sanctions on the Iranian nation."
The president noted that Iranian officials have worked out all necessary plans to manage the country's affairs under any conditions.