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Iran minister says Iraq benefits from West oil sanctions on Tehran

TEHRAN, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Saturday that Iraq has benefited a lot from the West's sanctions on Iran's oil industry in the past years, semi- official Mehr news agency reported.

Iraq has carried out projects to develop its oil fields, established infrastructures in Basra port on Persian Gulf and built pipelines to transfer its oil through Turkey and Jordan, Zanganeh said, adding that hereby, its oil exports has climbed to 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd).

Amid harsher western sanctions on the oil exports of Iran in 2011, a number of oil-rich states in the region, including Saudi Arabia, pledged to increase their oil exports to make up for the possible shortage in the energy market. The media said Iraq's oil exports have significantly increased since then.

In response to the West's sanctions, Iran threatened to shut down the strategic Strait of Hormuz "if the nation's interests were endangered."

Media reports said that western sanctions have reduced Iran's oil exports by half from about 2.2 million bpd in 2011.

Zanganeh acknowledged that the rounds of sanctions slapped on Iran by the United States and its western allies in the past years could not be lifted overnight; however, he pledged emergency plans to help enhance oil sales.

Earlier, Iran's new oil minister said his country's oil production must exceed 4 million bpd to tackle western sanctions.

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