Neither Saudi Arabia, nor other producers can replace Iranian oil: Zangeneh

Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh dismisses the rhetoric by the Saudi crown prince about Riyadh’s capability to replace sanctions-hit Iranian oil, saying that the global market will never believe such claims.

“It seems that such remarks [by Saudi crown prince] have been made under [US President Donald] Trump’s pressure,” Zangeneh said on Monday.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg in an interview on Friday that his country had met its promise to the United States to make up for Iranian oil supplies lost through US sanctions re-imposed after Washington’s withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries.

In reaction to bin Salman’s claims, the Iranian minister of petroleum said “neither Saudi Arabia nor any other [oil] producer” have such a production capacity.

“The market and the increase of prices are the best evidence that the market faces a shortage and it is worried about a severe shortage of oil supply,” Zangeneh added.

“What Saudi Arabia had been supplying the market with, were not from [its] spare capacity but from tapping its oil stocks,” he pointed out.

Zangeneh further said any country that makes claims about supplying the market with more oil to replace lost Iranian exports had no “determining impact” on the market, but would lead to short-term psychological outcomes.

These claims aim to satisfy the US and express support for Washington’s sanctions against Iran, he added.

Iran has warned that if it were not able to export its crude oil through the Strait of Hormuz, no other country would be able to do so, threatening to block the strategic strait.

In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi warned of the “serious effects” of the upcoming US sanctions against Iran on oil prices and the entire Middle East.

“Obviously, all countries in the Persian Gulf region want to sell their oil, and the world is in need of this region’s oil and other energy resources,” the top Iranian diplomat said.

He emphasized that any arrangement for the sale of oil in the region “should be inclusive” and added, “If you exclude one country [and] make sure that one country’s oil sale comes to zero, as President Trump wants, that would create problems for the whole region. This is an obvious fact.”

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