Eurozone crisis, Iran oil halt threaten US economy: Geithner

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the financial crisis in the eurozone plus the Western dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program, which led to the country’s decision to halt crude exports to some European countries, have jeopardized the US economy.

“We still face some risks ahead,” Geithner said to the Portland City Club on Wednesday, saying the risks include a “severe and protracted crisis” in Europe, as well as the West’s “confrontation” with Tehran, “which has added to upward pressure on oil prices,” San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Brent North Sea crude for June delivery rose by 96 cents to $119.12 in London trading late Wednesday.

The US treasury secretary also noted, “Most financial crises are caused by a mix of stupidity and greed and recklessness and risk-taking and hope,” calling for legislation that tames “fraud and abuse.”

The remarks come amid eurozone’s intensifying financial crisis that has been lingering since 2008.

Meanwhile, the EU has postponed an April deadline to review the impacts of the bloc’s embargo on oil imports from Iran due to concerns over future energy crises across its member states.

Global oil prices have climbed in recent months after Iran decided to halt its crude exports to certain European countries as part of its countersanctions policy. In January, EU foreign ministers approved a series of sanctions against Iran, including a ban on Iranian oil imports.

The EU imposed the sanctions against Iran to pressure the country to halt its nuclear energy program, based on the unsubstantiated claim that it may include non-civilian diversions.

Tehran has rejected such allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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