Rostam Ghassemi

Iran’s Oil Minister says Iran has stopped selling crude to the British-Dutch company Shell because it has not paid its debts.

The Mehr News Agency reports that Rostam Ghassemi told reporters on Thursday that Shell has not paid up its accounts with Iran but added that the European company is trying to clear its debt.

Mehr reports that Shell is one of the top consumers of Iranian oil and, before the onset of sanctions, it was buying between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels a day.

Shell’s difficulty in paying is the result of rising international sanctions against Iran, with the most recent measures imposed by SWIFT, the Society of Worldwide Financial Telecommunication.

In recent days, Iran has been selling 100,000 barrels a day to Shell. These statistics were confirmed despite earlier claims by Royal Dutch Shell that it would stop buying Iranian crude in line with U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran over its nuclear dossier.

The Iranian Oil Minister also denied that Iran has cut off oil sales to Germany, Spain and Greece. He said: “France and Britain are the only countries cut off from Iranian oil exports.”

He added: “Export to other countries continues but in some cases it runs into financial difficulties.”