Iran gets 90 pct of oil income in euros, yen

A001821217.jpgTEHRAN – Iran has boosted oil export earnings in non-U.S. dollar currencies to 90 percent, a senior official said on Sunday, making clear the world’s fourth-largest crude exporter would continue to reduce its dollar exposure.

Iran, embroiled in a standoff with the West over its nuclear program, has for two years been increasing its sales of oil for currencies other than the dollar, saying the weak U.S. unit is eroding its purchasing power.

“Currently about 70 percent of Iran’s crude oil exports earnings are in euros and 20 percent in yen,” said Mohammad Ali Khatibi, deputy director of international affairs at the state National Iranian Oil Company.

“About 10 percent … remains in dollars which is going to be replaced with other currencies,” Khatibi was quoted as saying by the Web site of Iranian state television.

The figure for crude sales in non-U.S. currencies represents an increase of five percentage points compared with one Khatibi gave in early October.

But it differed from an Iranian news agency report on Dec. 8 saying Iran had completely stopped selling oil for dollars. Officials were not immediately available for comment.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often rails against the West, has called the U.S. currency a “worthless piece of paper.”

Foes since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, Tehran and Washington are also at odds over Tehran’s disputed nuclear activities as well as over policy in Iraq. Iran says its atomic work is peaceful.

At a November heads of state summit of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Iran suggested oil should be sold in a basket of currencies rather than dollars, but failed to win over other member states except Venezuela. (Reporting by Reza Derakhshi, Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Richard Hubbard)

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