On Sunday, November 19, 2007 at the close of the OPEC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared, “They get our oil and give us a worthless piece of paper… All participating leaders showed an interest in changing their hard currency reserves to a credible hard currency… some said [petroleum] producing counties should designate a single hard currency aside from the U.S. Dollar… to form the basis of our oil trade.” The idea of switching to another currency, Euro, was embraced by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who also made his own declaration that “The empire of the Dollar has to end… Don’t you see how the Dollar has been in free-fall without a parachute?”
Three months later, on February 17, 2008, in the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf, The Iranian Oil Bourse (بورس نفت ایران) was created as an Exchange for “petroleum, petrochemicals, and gas in various currencies, primarily the Euro and Iranian Rial and a basket of other major currencies apart from the United States Dollar.”
In December 2007, ISNA, Iranian Student News Agency, cited Islamic Republic of Iran’s Oil Minister, Gholamhossein Nozari, as saying Iran has completely stopped selling any of its oil for U.S. Dollars. “In line with the policy of selling crude oil in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar, currently the sale of our country’s oil in U.S. Dollars has been completely eliminated,” ISNA reported.
On Sunday, January 17, 2010, Iran’s representative to OPEC said that Iran receives 90 percent of its petroleum revenues in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. Meanwhile, Islamic Republic of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (سازمان توسعه تجارت) announced in 2009 that it would completely exclude the U.S. Dollar from its foreign revenues and reserves.
Less than four months later, on Monday May 31, 2010, Jam’e Jam Online (جام جم), a news agency affiliated with IRI’s broadcasting system, reported that Islamic Republic of Ian’s Central Bank has begun implementation of measures and means to sell some of its reserves for Dollars in a three-stage program, totaling nearly 45 billion Euros ($55 billion). In the first stage, the bank will sell off 15 billion Euros, which will be completed by September 2010, Jam’e Jam reported. Iran will substantially decrease its oil sales in Euros. The issue has been informed via a letter to Japan and other major petroleum customers. Information from the Central Bank indicates that at this time Euro compromises 55 percent of the country’s reserves, and after the implementation of this program it would be reduced to 20 to 25 percent, Jam’e Jam Online said.
As of Thursday June 3, 2010, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not yet issued any statement regarding this matter, which will cost the country billions of Dollars, unless the Dollar is no longer a “worthless piece of paper”, as it was declared on November 19, 2007. At the same time his counterpart, Venezuelan Hugo Chavez is still waiting for the free-falling Dollar “without a parachute” to hit the ground.
As Khomeini said, economy is for donkeys, not presidents.