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US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry harm global markets’ stability: Official

A senior Iranian official says US sanctions against Iran’s oil industry will harm the stability of global markets, adding that the three European sides to a 2015 landmark nuclear agreement should live up to their promises to make up for Washington’s restrictions.

“These sanctions are an example of the US bullying reaction to the changing balance of power in the world,” Iranian Deputy Minister of Petroleum for International and Commercial Affairs Amir Hossein Zamaninia told a session of Expert Workshops of the World Petroleum Council (WPC) in Tehran on Monday.

He added that although Washington’s sanctions make life more difficult for ordinary Iranians, the Islamic Republic will get through them even under the current difficult circumstances.

Oil prices hit their highest level since November after the administration of US President Donald Trump said in a statement on April 22 that, in a bid to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, buyers of Iranian oil must stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions. The move ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers — Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — to continue importing limited volumes.

PressTV-US ends sanctions waivers for Iran oil imports

“The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates … along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied,” the White House statement said, adding, “We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market.”

The US president withdrew Washington in May 2018 from the multilateral nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached between Iran and six world powers in July 2015.

Afterwards, Washington re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the deal.

Last November, the US enforced sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s banking and energy sector. However, it granted waivers to the eight major importers of Iran’s oil, fearing market instability.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian oil official dismissed claims by certain countries that they can fill Iran’s void in the oil market.

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

He emphasized that the Persian Gulf can be regarded as an international route for transferring oil only if all countries, and not just a few, are able to use it.

Speaking at a meeting with a large group of Iranian workers on Wednesday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the US administration’s hostile attempts to block Iran’s oil sales will lead nowhere, and that the country will export “as much crude as it needs and wishes” in defiance of American sanctions.

PressTV-‘Iran to export as much oil as it wishes despite US bans’

“In the first place, such attempts will lead nowhere, and we are capable of exporting as much oil as we need and want,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

Later on Friday, Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh accused Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of exaggerating their ability to replace the country’s oil in the wake of Washington’s push to zero Tehran’s exports by implementing “brutal” economic sanctions.

PressTV-Saudi Arabia, UAE exaggerate oil production capacity: Iran

“I believe they are overstating their oil capacities,” Zangeneh said.

Iran sanctions, oil price volatility dragging regional economic growth: IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also said on Monday that the US sanctions on Iran have a negative impact on economic growth in the Middle East.

In a bi-annual economic outlook report, the IMF warned that prospects for the Middle East are “clouded by elevated levels of uncertainty.”

“Such uncertainty may increase investors’ perception of risk for the whole region, leading to capital outflows and exchange rate pressure,” the international lender said.

It added that rising unrest in the Mideast and North Africa as well as oil price volatility are other reasons that could drag the regional economic growth.

The organization noted that Iran’s economic problems could have a knock-on effect on the regional figures.

It said rising conflict, corruption, slow reforms, high levels of debt and continued oil price fluctuations have negative impacts on economic growth in the broader region.

“Social tensions are rising in the context of lower growth and reform fatigue, threatening macroeconomic stability,” the IMF added.

Overall regional economic growth is expected to remain subdued at 1.3 percent this year from 1.4 percent in 2018.

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