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Iran Says Ready For Any Possible Gasoline Sanction

Iran's oil minister, Massud Mirkazemi
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran is prepared to deal with any possible sanctions on its imports of gasoline that world powers might impose over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, Oil Minister Massud Mirkazemi has said.

While Iran is the world's fifth-largest crude exporter, it still has to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline supplies as it lacks the refining capacity to meet domestic demand. The United States and its European allies may target fuel imports if Tehran refuses to enter talks over its nuclear program.

"We are ready to deal with any possible gasoline sanction...We have stocked relatively enough gasoline and also we have signed deals with some countries to purchase gasoline," Mirkazemi told reporters, state television reported.

The West suspects Iran aims to make nuclear bombs, while Tehran insists it needs atomic fuel to generate electricity.

Iran last week turned over a package of proposals to world powers in which it said it was willing to address global nuclear disarmament and other international issues.

U.S. sanctions against suppliers of fuel to Iran would drive up the price the Islamic republic has to pay for imports and provide a big money-making opportunity for oil traders able to flout the measures.