Tehran: Iran announced a major boost in oil production today after the lifting of sanctions under its nuclear deal, while condemning new US measures against its missile programme.
The National Iranian Oil Company said it had ordered production to increase by 500,000 barrels per day — a move Tehran had long planned for once its nuclear deal with world powers took effect.
The hike comes after the UN atomic watchdog confirmed at the weekend that Iran had complied with measures imposed by the deal with global powers reached in Vienna in July.
World leaders hailed the implementation of the deal, and the subsequent lifting of European and US sanctions, as a milestone in international diplomacy.
Tensions have persisted, however, with the US Treasury on Sunday announcing new sanctions on individuals and companies in connection with Iran’s ballistic missile programme.
In welcoming the implementation of the nuclear deal, President Barack Obama had raised concerns about Iran’s continued “destabilising activities” including its ballistic missile programme.
Tehran decried the new measures as “illegitimate”, with foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari insisting the missile programme has no links with the nuclear issue.
“Iran’s missile programme has never been designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” Ansari said, quoted by ISNA news agency.
He said Iran would respond by “accelerating its legal ballistic missile programme and boosting defence capabilities”.
But Iran was moving forward after the implementation of the nuclear deal as expected, with the increase in oil production expected to be followed by another half-a-million-barrel rise in six months.
Iran currently produces 2.8 million barrels per day and exports just over one million barrels.