TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Iranian parliament has sent a letter to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei asking about using the reserves of the National Development Fund (NDF) to boost the capacities of the country’s oil and gas refineries.
During an open session of the parliament on Monday, MP Hossein Ali Haji-Deligani said the reserves of the NDF should be used for developing the refineries.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also said that to that aim, the parliament has sent a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, adding that after receiving the Leader’s response the lawmakers would make a decision on the issue.
On Sunday, the MPs passed the generalities of a bill that would allow the country to increase capacities of refineries of gas condensate and crude oil using public investment
The bill was approved with 136 votes in favor, 32 votes against, and 3 abstentions.
The spokesperson for the parliament’s Energy Commission, Sakineh Almasi, hailed the bill and said, “Construction of refineries is a clever response by Iran to oil sanctions, and helps to boost production and create jobs…”
The approval of the bill comes against the backdrop of increased tensions between Iran and the US with Washington imposing new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The US has ratcheted up pressure on Iran since last year after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Since then, the administration of US President Donald Trump is trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero,” and has sent an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber squad, an amphibious assault ship, and a Patriot missile battery to the Middle East to try to stack up pressure on Tehran.
Iranian officials, however, have dismissed such moves as psychological warfare, saying the country has its own ways of circumventing the American bans and selling crude oil.