Regional

Oil sanctions will hit market stability, Iran official warns

The U.S. has demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.

GENEVA: U.S. sanctions against Iran’s oil industry will damage the stability of global oil markets, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying Monday. “These sanctions are an example of America’s bullying reaction to the change of the balance of power in the world,” Amir Hossein Zamaninia, a deputy oil minister, said in a report carried by the Oil Ministry’s news website SHANA.

U.S. sanctions make life more difficult for ordinary Iranians but the Islamic Republic will get through them, Zamaninia said.

Oil prices hit their highest level since November last week after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end this week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply.

The U.S. demanded last Monday that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers that allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers, most of them in Asia, to continue importing limited volumes.

The White House said after its Iran move that it was working with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure oil markets were “adequately supplied,” but traders worried about tight supplies.

Other countries can not fill Iran’s place in the oil market, Zamaninia said, according to SHANA.

“This idea that some countries can fill the empty place of Iran’s oil in the market is incorrect from different aspects, including a technical and political view,” Zamaninia said.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said last week Saudi Arabia and the UAE overstated capacity.

Separately, Zamaninia said the Gulf could only remain an international route for transferring oil if all countries were able to use it.

The commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s navy said last week that Iran would close the strategic Strait of Hormuz if Tehran was barred from using it.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 30, 2019, on page 4.

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