Iran has suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment in order to have Western-imposed sanctions lifted, a parliament member told Al Arabiya on Saturday. Earlier, Foreign Policy and National Security Commission of Parliament Mohammad Hossein Asfari told ISNA news agency that Tehran’s move was a “good will” gesture, hoping that Western countries will lift their sanctions on Tehran.
U.S. and EU measures slashed Iran’s crude oil exports, hitting its hard currency earnings and contributing to a plunge in the rial’s value. The International Energy Agency estimated its crude exports at 860,000 bpd in September, down from 2.2 million bpd at the end of 2011.
Iran’s currency has recently plunged in what some U.S. officials described as the “most punishing sanctions” ever amassed by the global community seeking to halt Tehran’s suspect nuclear program. The rial has lost more than 80 percent of its value compared with the end of last year, when it was worth 13,000 to the dollar.
Last week, Iran banned the export of around 50 basic goods as the country takes steps to preserve supplies of essential items in the face of tightening Western sanctions. Iranian traders will no longer be able to export goods including wheat, flour, sugar, and red meat, as well as aluminum and steel ingots, according to a letter from Deputy Industry Minister Seyyed Javad Taghavi published in Iranian media on Tuesday. The letter also said a further list of banned goods would be announced later.