TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has completely stopped selling any of its oil for U.S. dollars, an Iranian news agency reported on Saturday, citing the oil minister of the worldâ€™s fourth-largest crude producer.
The ISNA news agency did not give a direct quote from Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari. A senior oil official last month said â€œnearly allâ€ of Iranâ€™s crude oil sales were now being paid for in non-U.S. currencies.
For nearly two years, OPECâ€™s second biggest producer has been reducing its exposure to the dollar, saying the weak U.S. currency is eroding its purchasing power.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often rails against the West, has called the U.S. currency a â€œworthless piece of paper.â€
Foes since Iranâ€™s 1979 Islamic revolution, Tehran and Washington are also at odds over Tehranâ€™s disputed nuclear programme as well as over policy in Iraq.
â€œIn line with the policy of selling crude oil in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, currently the sale of our countryâ€™s oil in U.S. dollars has been completely eliminated,â€ ISNA reported after talking with Nozari.
Nozari told ISNA: â€œIn regards to the decrease in the dollarâ€™s value and the loss exporters of crude oil have endured from this trend, the dollar is no longer a reliable currency.â€
â€œThis is why, at the meeting of the heads of states, Iran proposed to OPEC members that a currency (for oil exports) would be determined that would be reliable and would not cause any loss to exporter countries,â€ he said.
At a November summit of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries heads of state, Iran suggested oil should be sold in a basket of currencies rather than dollars, but failed to win over other members except Venezuela.
Ahmadinejad and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez, are vocal critics of U.S. influence in the world.
Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of the state owned National Iranian Oil Company, last month told Reuters that most of Iranâ€™s oil export earnings were in euros, with some in yen.
(Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian, writing by Fredrik Dahl, editing by Anthony Barker)