TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran is still selling its oil despite U.S. sanctions on Tehran’s exports, the country’s Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said Monday, adding that Washington’s "maximum pressure” on Tehran has failed.
"Despite America’s pressure ... and its imposed sanctions on our oil exports, we still continue to sell our oil by using other means ... when even friendly countries have stopped purchasing our crude fearing America’s penalties,” Jahangiri said.
"We have to resort to other methods to sell our oil," because "the U.S. has shut down all the main paths of the country's economic activities," Jahangiri said.
Relations between the two countries reached crisis point last year after U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 pact with Iran which Tehran accepted to curb to its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Washington has reimposed sanctions aimed at halting all Iranian oil exports, saying it seeks to force Iran to negotiate to reach a wider deal. Tehran has rejected talks unless Washington returns to the nuclear deal and lifts all sanctions.
"They have failed to bring our oil exports to zero as planned,” Jahangiri said.
Senior U.S. officials have said Chinese companies continuing oil purchases from Iran are seriously worrying the White House which is warning them to stop the trade.
China has dismissed the sanctions, saying they amount to "bullying” and has defended its trade with Iran as legitimate and legal.
The U.S. government has warned shipping companies, energy companies and port officials to shun trade in Iranian oil, or face sanctions.
Iranian officials say the country has weathered the worst of the storm from the U.S. reimposition of sanctions.
Iran has years of experience dealing with sanctions and is confident it can ride out the economic pain. Officials have said the country will continue to sell its oil no matter what.
The U.S. has aggressively been pushing its oil on customers around the world after sanctioning Iran and Venezuela in what is seen by many observers as an energy war in the wider context of its trade war.
This is while many traditional oil buyers, including South Korea, are used to certain grades and their refineries are configured to process the likes of Iranian oil, the replacement of which requires higher costs.
From an international perspective, the world is more sympathetic to Iran’s position in the nuclear dispute than the United States, because Iran stayed strictly committed to the nuclear deal for one year, after the U.S. left the deal and violated its terms.
Observers say Trump and his administration are running out of options on Iran, with not much left to sanction in Iran.
Iran is a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and sits on what were already the world's fourth-biggest oil reserves and second-largest gas reserves.
Last month, President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran had discovered a new oil field containing 53 billion barrels of crude in southwestern Khuzestan Province.