0850 GMT July 17, 2019
According to IRNA, Bahram Sobhani added, "Today, [unilateral US] sanctions [on Iran] and limitations imposed from outside on the country has made it difficult to export steel products."
On May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reimposed unilateral sanctions in two phases — both already in place — on the Islamic Republic.
Sobhani noted that under the present circumstances, the Central Bank of Iran, those who inject foreign currency resources into the domestic market, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration and other apparatuses are expected to join hands to make steel exports possible.
"Otherwise, either the surplus production should be hoarded or the level of production should be brought down."
Iran has the capacity to produce 25 million tons of steel by March 20, he said, adding up to 16 million tons of this figure will be channeled to the domestic market.
The growth in production will lead to a substantial drop in imports and, thus, domestic consumption could be increased to 16 million tons, ISPA head noted.
"This way it will become possible to replace imports by domestic output."
Sobhani said that during March 21-November 21, Iran produced 14.23 million tons of steel products including round bars and iron girders, indicating a 10-percent growth compared to the figure for the same period last year.
He added in this period, the highest growth was posted in the production of round bars which witnessed a 22-percent rise year-on-year.
In the same time span, production of hot and cold rolled sheets rose nine percent and five percent respectively year-on-year, Sobhani said.
ISPA chief added in this duration, 9.25 million tons of steel billet and blooms were produced in Iran — up 23 percent compared to the figure for the same period of a year ago.
"In the same eight-month period to November 21, Iran produced 7.38 million tons of steel slabs, up 11 percent year-on-year."
He put sponge iron output in the same time span at 17.36 million tons, indicating a 19-percent rise compared to the last year's production of the item.
Sobhani underlined that Iran is region's largest steel producer with an annual production of 25 million tons, adding the country ranks 12th in the world in this regard.
He said during the eight-month time span to November 21, when sanctions had not yet gone into effect, there were no export limitations and Iran exported 5.37 million tons of steel products including round bar, ingot, iron girder, billet and slab.
ISPA chief noted that optimistically speaking, Iran's exports will reach 7.8 million tons by March 2019.
He said that Iran's first national steel festival and exhibition will be held during January 7-10 in Tehran, adding at present, Iran, which was once an importer of such products, has turned into a country capable of producing diverse steel equipment and products and indigenizing the technologies employed in this industry.