Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that Iran’s economy can thrive without reliance on oil revenues, semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Running the country without reliance on oil revenues is possible as long as cooperation and solidarity exist among Iranians, Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
“The Iranian nation should move toward the summits of glory, and in this direction we should be able to administer the country without reliance on oil revenues,” Ahmadinejad said when addressing the inauguration ceremony of two petrochemical projects in southern Iran.
The petrochemical projects inaugurated on Saturday indicate self-reliance, determination and hard working of the great Iranian nation, said Ahmadinejad.
“The ethylene produced at Kavian Petrochemical Plant (opened in southern Iran) will speed up the course of development in 13 provinces of the country,” he was quoted as saying.
“Determination, knowledge and hard work were three influential elements in launching this big (ethylene production) project,” Ahmadinejad said, adding that all the phases of the project, including designing and implementation, were conducted by domestic experts.
“Construction of a number of petrochemical plants are (also) underway along (Iran’s) west ethylene pipeline path, including Kermanshah Petrochemical Plant that has started production, and Kordestan Petrochemical Complex which has made progress by 65 percent,” he said.
The west ethylene pipeline path extends from Iran’s southern natural gas-rich region to the northwestern city of Tabriz after passing 2,450 km.
Ahmadinejad said there are plans for the construction of two other pipelines in central and eastern part of the country, adding that a network of ethylene distribution should be spread across the country so that all Iranians could benefit from its advantages.
Iran for decades has been a large oil provider to the global energy market. Oil exports provide over 70 percent of the Iranian government’s revenues. However, the country’s oil exports declined from 2.5 million barrels per day in December 2011 to about 1.25 million barrels per day as of December 2012.
The decline in Iran’s oil and gas exports came after the West imposed successive unilateral sanctions in the past year.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said in November that the Islamic republic, affected dramatically by the several rounds of embargo, had plans to increase the production of alternative energy like solar energy, wind energy and bio-fuels in order to reduce the use of its own oil and gas reserves for internal purposes.
After that, the Iranian Majlis (parliament) Energy Commission prepared a bill to decrease the country’s crude exports in a bid to resist Western sanction pressures on Iran’s oil sector.
According to the directives of the bill, Iran’s crude exports would be reduced to almost 77 percent in the current Iranian calendar year ending on March 20, 2013.
“The government is required to reduce oil exports up to one- third compared with last year’s in line with the Islamic republic’ s overall goal of preserving national independence and as a requirement of the present time,” a report by Fars said Nov. 8.
The bill is waiting for the final approval of the entire parliament.
The West has accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear program, a charge Tehran has consistently denied.
By Thomas Whittle of nzweek.com