Sep 26, 2018 13:35 UTC
  • Trump behind oil price rally: Oil Minister

Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says President Donald Trump is behind the current oil price spike, dismissing the US president’s attack on OPEC in his controversial address to the UN on Tuesday.

“The main culprit behind the rise in oil prices and instability in the market is Trump and his disruptive and illegal policies,” Zangeneh told reporters in Tehran after a cabinet meeting Wednesday.

“The president of the United States, who is himself the main driver of rising oil prices and instability in the market, points the finger at OPEC, while OPEC has used all its capacity for production,” Zangeneh said.

Oil prices have been on an upswing since May when Trump decided to leave a nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on the country which is OPEC’s third largest producer. 

"Trump tries to reduce Iranian oil exports and wants prices not to go up at the same time. This is while if he wants a stable market, he must stop unwarranted meddling and creating tensions in  the Middle East and not block Iran's production and exports," Zangeneh said.  

"Last night, the French president also clearly touched on this issue in his address to the United Nations," he added.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron blamed Trump for the surge in oil prices, saying his sanctions on Iran have led to the current situation.

Crude prices have risen to the highest levels since 2014, with global traders saying it is conceivable to see oil north of $100 a barrel soon.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Macron challenged Trump’s plan to zero Iran’s oil exports, saying Tehran should be able to sell oil to bring down prices.  

“If he goes to the end of his logic, he’ll see that it’s good for the oil price that Iran can sell it,” Macron said.

“It’s good for peace and global oil prices. Otherwise there is an impasse in the rationale for which I don’t have the answer. It’s an economic reality ... supply and demand,” the French leader added.

On Saturday, the 15-nation OPEC, Russia and several other producers rebuffed Trump's demand to hike output and opted instead to stick to their earlier decision to only gradually increase supply.

Zangeneh said, "OPEC's current production capacity is not more than what it produces today, and if a country says anything contrary to this is only bragging."

Iran’s OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said last month that Trump had apparently been duped by Saudi Arabia into believing that the kingdom could replace Iranian barrels cut from the market.