TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The US is bullying OPEC into lowering oil prices while its very own sanctions against Iran have upset the global oil market, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference in Tehran, Zanganeh said the US is wrongly urging OPEC to lower oil prices, because the rising crude price and market turbulence are caused by the US sanctions against Iran.
The US president is bullying others into cutting oil prices, while the world market is facing a shortage of crude supplies, the Iranian minister noted, adding, “One cannot keep the (oil) price low with slogans and bullying.”
Saudi Arabia is now using its strategic oil reserves to compensate for the lack of Iranian oil, but is unable to increase crude production much more and may stop releasing crude from its strategic reserves in the wake of the controversy over Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s case, Zanganeh added.
Asked about Iran’s negotiations with Europe on the US sanctions, the minister said Tehran is pursuing oil negotiations with Europe, but refused to give more details, saying the US would misuse the information.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), and announced plans for new sanctions against Tehran.
The White House has also announced plans to get as many countries as possible down to zero Iranian oil imports and launch a campaign of “maximum economic and diplomatic pressure” on Iran.
In September, the European Union said its members would set up a payment system to allow oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran in a bid to evade US sanctions.
With the United States and the dollar dominating so much of global trade, the statement said the new mechanism would "facilitate payments related to Iran's exports (including oil) and imports, which will assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran."