Iran’s Finance Minister interview with CNN Christiane Amanpour
AMANPOUR: To get a sense of how big the bite is, I spoke to Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini, who is Iran’s finance minister. He’s in the United States right now for an international financial conference. I started the interview by asking him about the Boston terror attacks.
HOSSEINI (through translator): In reality, we sympathize with the people of Boston and the people of the United States and we condemn such attacks. And in general, we are sorry for all such incidents. This conduct is condemned by everyone. No one supports such conduct.
AMANPOUR: Let me get to why you are in Washington. You are Iran’s finance minister.
And I want to ask you right now, how is the economy doing? We understand very badly under these sanctions.
HOSSEINI (through translator): We can refer to the Iranian trade with foreign countries.
As you know, because of the currency situation in Iran and the restrictions on it, the price has gone up. In the initial stage, we sustained some inflationary pressures. But after a few months, these negative impacts turned into positive impacts.
Our non-oil exports grew. Our industrial exports grew 20 percent.And in comparison, our imports were reduced by 14 percent. as such that we met our foreign import requirements by non-oil exports. And this has caused an increase of 47 percent in our price index.
AMANPOUR: The international community says that these are crippling sanctions. Are you saying that they are not, they’re not crippling the Iranian economy?
HOSSEINI (through translator): The countries or nations that have imposed such sanctions believe the same thing. I am not saying that they haven’t had any impact on our country. But on the other hand, I don’t believe that such sanctions have crippled us.
When we go to the production sites and we examine the situation, we realize that the sectors dependent on foreign imports have been weakened. And we can see the pressure and the effects of the pressures on other countries, including the countries that have imposed sanctions on us.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Minister, some analysts are watching and they’re wondering, since it’s very difficult for you to sell your oil products
right now, once the sanctions, if they are lifted, do you worry about getting back into the oil market?
HOSSEINI (through translator): It takes time. But that’s very possible.
I want to emphasize this sentence, that they must consider the impact of the sanctions on their own economy, considering the instability such sanctions have created.
AMANPOUR: There was some talk that the countries that have imposed sanctions on Iran would allow some relief in the gold and silver and precious metals markets, to be able to trade that.
HOSSEINI (through translator): Iranian activities are always challenged by the nuclear issue. We look at the modern technology and the nuclear knowledge as a way of progress. And we find it necessary for the welfare of our people today and in the future.
And we cannot forego the knowledge of today as many other countries enjoy. Iranian people are educated people; they enjoy a rich culture and history. They realize that today and tomorrow’s economy depends on the people with complete knowledge. This is what our people want. This cannot be compromised by the relief or in a deal of relief like in transactions in gold or silver .
Assume you are on our side of the deal. Would you be willing to give up today’s knowledge for a relief in transactional gold or silver?
AMANPOUR: Do you see any progress in the nuclear talks and what is Iran willing to give up?
HOSSEINI (through translator): I believe the Almaty talks 1 and 2 were quite productive because both sides were able to talk. I should also emphasize that the Iranian side always attended these meetings in good faith and I think the outcome should continue.
They made some proposals and they heard the Iranian responses as well.
And the Iranian response within the framework from their point of view was toward the progress of negotiations.
But we are serious in our negotiations. And as I said, it was a transparent and fair negotiation. It was within the framework of the
Iranian people’s right and the right of other countries.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Minister, thank you very much for joining me.
HOSSEINI (through translator): I thank you and wish you luck.