Iran can evade US sanctions targeting oil sector: minister

Iran can evade US sanctions targeting oil sector: minister
Oil exports were up 10 percent month-over-month in the first two weeks of October, despite looming US sanctions.
2 min read
23 October, 2018
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh speaking in Tehran [Getty]
Tehran said on Tuesday that Washington would fail in trying to halt Iran's crude exports and that such moves would destabilise the global oil market. 

"As long as America targets Iran, one of the biggest crude producers, with sanctions, the volatility in the oil market will continue," said Bijan Zanganeh, Iran's oil minister. 

"Iranian oil exports cannot be stopped," Zanganeh said, according to the pro-government Tasneem news agency.

US sanctions targeting the country's oil sector take effect on 4 November and Trump administration officials have said they intend to reduce the country's exports to zero.

Zanganeh's Tuesday remarks come one day after he said Iran's share of global oil production could not be filled by other countries. 

They also come one day after Saudi Arabia's oil minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom would increase its oil output slightly to 11 million, shy of its 12 million barrel per day production capacity.

Al-Falih added that higher brent crude prices would trigger a global recession, and cautioned prices could rise as sanctions come into force next month.

"I cannot give you a guarantee, because I cannot predict what will happen to other suppliers," Falih said, when discussing Iran and if prices could rise again above $100 a barrel over the current price of around $80. 

The oil cartel OPEC previously agreed in June to boost supply to offset the expected drop in Iranian oil on the global market.

But the Trump administration's reliance on Saudi to pump more oil as sanctions bite into Iran's production come at an awkward time as international outrage over Riyadh's murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi mounts.

Iran exported 2.2 million barrels in the first two weeks of October, up 10 percent from last month, despite looming US sanctions.

Both China and Russia as well as other countries are expected to continue purchasing Iranian oil, and US officials worry that Moscow will help Tehran evade sanctions. 

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