Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Prepared to work with nations that are reducing oil imports from Iran

Cristina Norman | 03 July, 2018, 02:10

Iran has said it will fight back against U.S. efforts to squeeze Iranian oil exports, accusing countries that fill the gap in oil markets of "a big treachery to the Iranian nation and the world community", according to Iran's First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri.

"Such measures are taken as a psychological war against the country", Jahangiri made the remarks at a conference held to mark National Day of Industry and Mine in the capital Tehran.

President Donald Trump lashed out at OPEC with a warning to stop manipulating oil markets and piled pressure on close U.S. allies in an interview that aired on Sunday with a threat to sanction European companies that do business with Iran.

The premium for US crude for the front month compared with the second month CLc1-CLc2 widened to as much as $2.21 a barrel, the most since August 20, 2014.

The U.S. wants to reduce Iran's oil revenue to zero, the State Department director of policy planning said Monday.

It comes as Mr. Trump pulled the USA out of Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers in May.

Brian Hook, the State Department's director of policy planning, told a news conference that the USA goal was to get as many countries as possible down to zero Iranian oil imports.

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had agreed to pump more oil, "maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels".

"Yes, of course. That's what we're doing". Officials say they are determined to keep the oil flowing.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed with Russian Federation and other oil-producing allies on June 23 to raise output from July, with Saudi Arabia pledging a "measurable" supply boost, but giving no specific numbers.

"They're begging the Saudis to raise their output so that if Iran's quota decreases nothing will happen to the markets", said Jahangiri.

An oil tanker is being loaded at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018.

"Our focus is on getting as many countries importing Iranian crude down to zero as soon as possible", Hook said - a slight step back from what a senior State Department official who briefed reporters last week said, that all allies must be at zero imports by November 4.

"Any increase in the production by any member country beyond commitments stipulated in OPEC's decisions ... would constitute a breach of the agreement", Zanganeh wrote in his letter, seen by Reuters and also reported by state media on Sunday.

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