News ID: 232868
Published: 0221 GMT October 16, 2018

Iran: Trump cannot bring oil prices down by 'bullying'

Iran: Trump cannot bring oil prices down by 'bullying'

US President Donald Trump cannot bring oil prices down by “bullying” other nations, Iran’s oil minister said on Tuesday, adding that the market was suffering from short supply.

“The oil market is suffering from short supply and this cannot be resolved by words. Trump thinks he can bring the oil prices down by bullying,” Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.

The minister added the rise of oil prices was a “self-inflicted pain” caused by US sanctions against Iranian energy exports, and could be resolved by lifting the measures.

“The United States imposes its own conditions on the oil market. They actually stick a needle in their body and then say ‘ouch’, asking others to fix their problems,” he said.

“One has to tell them, ‘You don’t need to stick needles in yourselves.’ Remove sanctions and let prices settle down and the market move out of imbalance,” he added.    

“Everyone is worried and Trump has failed to reassure them. That’s why the market is in turmoil,” Zanganeh added.

US sanctions on Iranian oil exports are due to kick in on Nov. 4. The US administration has been pushing its allies to cut Iranian oil imports and encouraging Saudi Arabia, other OPEC states and Russia to pump more oil to meet any shortfall.

Benchmark Brent crude has been trading above $80 a barrel <LCOc1>.

“None of the producers is capable of producing more. Saudi Arabia is using its reserves,” Zanganeh added.

He also said the United States “has done most of the things it could do, and there is not much left to do against Iran”.

Washington said this month it would consider waivers for Iranian oil buyers such as India, although it said they would eventually have to halt imports from Iran, the third biggest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The United States announced new sanctions after withdrawing from a nuclear deal with Iran in May. Under the 2015 nuclear pact, most international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in 2016 in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

Zanganeh's remarks came after he met Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak late Monday in Moscow where the two discussed the market situation and US sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.


US plan

On Monday, US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said the United States still aims to cut Iran’s oil sales to zero.

Hook was in Luxembourg to meet European officials, saying he had told them the US goal was for countries to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero as quickly as possible.

"We are working with countries that are reducing their imports to ensure that this happens,” he said. 

Iran has said its oil exports cannot be halted because of high demand in the market.

"Stopping Iran’s oil export is impractical,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told a weekly news conference on Monday. "Certainly, America will not achieve its goal ... our oil exports will continue.”

Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri on Sunday dismissed the impact of looming US sanctions on its economy, saying the current high oil prices should make up for any fall in oil sales.

"One of the things that the US didn't want to happen but did was increase in oil prices. The US president thinks that Saudi Arabia and other countries are capable of preventing oil prices from going up by replacing Iran's oil," he said.

"But you see that even without the sanctions having started, Iran's oil has reached over $80 per barrel. It means that if we export half of what we used to in the past, we will earn as much," Jahangiri said in a speech.

IRNA quoted Central Bank data as saying that Iran's income from selling crude and oil products in the five months between March 22 and August 22 reached 538.8 trillion rials ($12.89 billion), up 62.4% on the year, even though the country sold lower volumes than the preceding one.

Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.




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