Washington’s comments on oil prices are to blame for problems in the oil market, the chief Iranian energy official has said, warning that the situation could become even worse if the US fails to hold its tongue.
“Americans talk a lot and I advise them to talk less. They have caused tensions in the oil market for over a year now and they are responsible for it; and if this trend continues, the market will be more tense,” Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh said late Saturday as cited by the ministry-affiliated Petroenergy Information Network (SHANA).
Iran is one of the biggest producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has frequently met with fierce criticism from US President Donald Trump. The cartel and its allied major oil producers, including Russia, tried to stabilize the oil market by cutting their output after crude prices fell. However, the US leader accused the organization of price manipulation while the US was boosting its own production and exports.
Tehran has been at loggerheads with Washington since President Trump targeted the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal and subsequently withdrew from it. The sanctions on Iran, reintroduced by the Trump administration after the pullout, have taken a toll on the Iranian energy sector, with the aim of cutting imports of Iranian crude to zero.
Several countries were granted waivers so they could continue purchasing oil from Iran at reduced rates, but they will expire in early May and new exemptions are not expected.
“We do not know whether US waivers would be extended or not, we will do our job but they [the US] say something new every single day,” the Iranian minister added.
In January, Tehran said it found new potential buyers for its crude despite US sanctions and pressure on partners. However, some countries, such as Italy and Greece, shun imports from the Islamic Republic, despite having the waivers.