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Iran's economic minister predicts boost to crude oil sales

Iran's economy minister has said sales will reach 2 million barrels a day "in a short time" now sanctions are being lifted. His prediction came shortly after the state sentenced a black-market oil salesman to death.

Ali Tayyebnia

Ali Tayyebnia (pictured above) said Iran will soon see an increase in crude oil sales following the lifting of sanctions in January as part of the nuclear deal.

"Arrangements have been made for the return of Iran to the market and the country's exports are estimated to reach 2 [million barrels per day] in a short time," Tayyebnia said at a conference of senior economic and financial managers on Sunday, according to state news agency Shana.

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Iran billionaire tycoon sentenced to death

"Banking, trade and economic restrictions were imposed on Iran at a time when the country was exercising its highest dependency on oil revenues which intensified the effect of sanctions," he added, referring to the international sanctions which are now being rolled back after last year's nuclear accord.

Iran billionaire sentenced to death

Tayyebnia's announcement came just a day after Tehran sentenced a billionaire to death in connection with oil sales during the earlier sanctions era.

Babak Zanjani, 41, was a prominent bussinesman who found ways to sell oil on the black market after sanctions were imposed upon Iranian banks during the era of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Zanjani denied the charges, saying he worked with the full backing of Ahmadinejad's government. Two of his associates were also convicted on charges of "corruption on earth," one of Iran's most serious crimes. The judge noted, however, that Zanjani has the opportunity to appeal.

blc/msh (Reuters)

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