Iran expects 2012 petrochemicals exports to the EU to fall mainly due to the eurozone debt crisis rather than international sanctions against its energy sector, as per Mehr news agency in Platts. “Due to the economic recession and the crisis in Europe, high petrochemical exports cannot be expected, as per Abdolhossein Bayat, deputy oil minister for petrochemical affairs. Referring to the fresh sanctions, he said that there were "some challenges in the way of money transfers," though he added that this was not the reason for lower exports of petrochemicals products to Europe. Sanctions imposed against Iran by the US, the UN Security Council and the EU restrict financial dealings with some Iranian banks and institutions though there is no ban on exports of petrochemicals. EU sanctions passed last year threaten penalties against foreign companies that invest in Iranian petrochemicals projects.
Last week, USA imposed new sanctions targeting Iran's central bank, effectively making it harder for Iran to receive payment for its crude oil and petrochemicals exports, the bulk of which is sold into Asia. The EU is set to announce a new round of sanctions against Iran at the end of the month, with France urging a ban on oil exports unless there is progress in diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear row between the world powers and Tehran.