Press TV – Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh has accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of exaggerating their ability to replace the country’s oil in the wake of a renewed push by Washington to zero Tehran’s exports by implementing “brutal” economic sanctions.
“I believe they are overstating their oil capacities,” Zangeneh said on Friday, after Saudi and Emirati officials pledged to make up for any potential oil supply shortages that may result in the absence of Iranian oil in the global market.
“Saudi Arabia will coordinate with fellow oil producers to ensure adequate supplies are available to consumers while ensuring the global oil market does not go out of balance,” said Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih earlier this week.
The ambitious pledges by Washington’s staunch Arab allies came shortly after the White House announced that it would no longer renew waivers that allowed Tehran’s eight largest customers purchase Iranian oil. The exemptions will expire on May 1.
The measure threatens buyers of Iranian oil with sanctions and other punishments if they fail to stop their purchases beyond May 1. The move quickly sent global crude prices to their highest levels since last November.
Zangeneh on Friday addressed concerns about the seriousness of United States President Donald Trump’s recent drive “to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero”, stressing that US sanctions-related measures were “no bluff”.
“[These measures] are very brutal provocations against the Iranian nation,” he added.
Iranian officials have, however, said that the US will fail in curbing Iran’s oil experts.
Speaking on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: “The Islamic Republic of Iran will not allow any country to replace Iran in the oil market.”
“The United States and those countries will be responsible for any consequences,” he added.
Mounting Opposition to US Sanctions
Countries affected by US sanctions have so-far opposed the declared plan, citing tight market conditions and high fuel prices that are harming oil-dependent industries.
China warned on Tuesday that the US decision to impose sanctions on buyers of Iranian oil will “intensify turmoil” in the Middle East and in the international energy market.
Opposition parties in India have urged the government to push the Trump administration to reconsider the Iranian oil ban due to its negative impact on the Indian economy.
Speaking on Friday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said that Ankara was negotiating with Washington to allow Turkey’s biggest oil importer Turpas to continue buying oil from Iran.
The US president withdrew Washington in May 2018 from a multilateral nuclear accord that was signed between Iran and six world powers — the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany– in 2015. Officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) the deal put limitations on parts of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program in exchange for removing all nuclear-related sanctions.
Washington, however, has re-imposed the unilateral sanctions and introduced new ones since abandoning the accord.
Last years, the US enforced several rounds of sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s banking and energy sector. However, it granted waivers to eight major importers of Iran’s oil, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, fearing market instability.