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October 23, 2018 10:58 am

Iran’s Oil Minister Says US Sanctions Cannot Stop Crude Exports

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Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh arrives for an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Heinz-Peter Bader / File.

The United States cannot stop Iranian oil exports by imposing sanctions on Tehran, Iran’s oil minister said on Tuesday, warning that such restrictions will ensure the market remains volatile.

Washington plans new sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector from Nov. 4 with the aim of stopping the country’s involvement in conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and bringing Tehran to the negotiating table over its ballistic missile program.

“As long as America targets Iran, one of the biggest crude producers, with sanctions, the volatility in the oil market will continue,” Tasnim news agency quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying.

“Iranian oil exports cannot be stopped,” Zanganeh said.

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Zanganeh reiterated his Monday remarks that Iranian oil output cannot be replaced by that of other oil-producing countries if Tehran is hit by US sanctions.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an interview with Reuters on Sunday, dismissed concerns that oil prices could rise, saying the market had already factored in the supply losses.

Iran’s regional rival, US ally Saudi Arabia, says Riyadh has the capacity to increase output to 12 million barrels per day (bpd) from the current 10.7 million bpd.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Saudi Arabia and Iran are members, agreed in June to boost supply to make up for the expected disruption to Iranian exports.

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