Iranian Minister of Oil Bijan Namdar Zangeneh slams the US and its allies for using oil as a political “weapon” to put more economic pressure on the Islamic Republic, emphasizing, however, that Washington will never be able to achieve its “dream” of cutting Tehran’s oil exports to “zero.”
Zangeneh told a parliamentary session on Tuesday “Definitely, [the US] dream of bringing Iran’s oil exports to zero will never come true and we will work with full force toward breaking America’s sanctions.”
“The situation of oil supply and demand is very fragile in the current circumstances and statements by the US and its allies expose their concerns over the market’s reaction,” said the minister, a day after Washington said it would be ending waivers that allow eight countries to buy Iranian oil without facing Washington’s sanctions.
The US said in a statement on Monday that buyers of Iranian oil must stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers -- Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan --to continue importing limited volumes.
“The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ... along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied,” the White House statement said, adding, “We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market.”
Zangeneh, however, described the oil market as “unpredictable” and said “it is not possible to rest assured that enough oil will be produced because regional countries announce production capacities beyond the real levels.”
The US and its regional allies “made a big mistake by politicizing oil and using it as a weapon,” the minister said.
He added the US is today waging an “aggressive war” against Iran, the main target of which is the Islamic Republic’s oil sector, calling on all Iranians to join hands and help the country overcome the challenges.
Oil prices on Tuesday hit their highest level since November 2018 in the aftermath of Washington’s decision to end exemptions from sanctions for the countries buying oil from Iran.
Brent crude futures rose as high as $74.70, a level not seen since November 1, 2018, before paring their increase as the market gained confidence that global supply would remain robust. By 13:55 GMT, Brent futures were at $74.28 a barrel, up 24 cents, or 0.32 percent, from their last close, Reuters reported.
Washington’s move will primarily affect China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey.
On Tuesday, China – the largest buyer of Iranian crude -- said it had lodged representations with the US over the move.
Turkey, in turn, reiterated its opposition to “all kind of sanctions.”
In addition, the European Union expressed “regret” over Washington’s decision to end sanctions waivers.
Such a move “risks further undermining” the multilateral nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Maja Kocijancic, the EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Spokeswoman said at a media briefing in Brussels.
She, however, emphasized that the 28-nation bloc would continue to implement the landmark nuclear deal.