Iranian oil irreplaceable, Zanganeh says

July 22, 2019 - 17:26

TEHRAN – Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said no country can replace Iranian oil in the global market, Mehr news agency reported on Sunday.

“They have their own production, but they can’t replace our oil,” Zanganeh told reporters who asked whether Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or Iraq could replace Iran’s oil in the market.

Speaking to the press after a meeting with his predecessors, the minister mentioned recent vessel-related tensions in the region saying “the tension has not affected our oil exports and the oil price in the market, but we must consider the development carefully, because one of our tankers is involved and we have restrictions in this regard. The U.S. and allies are creating restrictions for us with this thought in mind, and we have to be careful.”

He was referring to the illegal seizure of an Iran-operated oil tanker, Grace 1, in Gibraltar by British Royal Marines on July 4, and Iran's seizure of a trespassing British tanker 'Stena Impero' on Friday as it was passing through a prohibited maritime passage in the Strait of Hormuz, in breach of international regulations.

He also mentioned EU’s trade mechanism for Iran, formally known as INSTEX, and noted that the mechanism will only be useful to Iran if it covers the country’s oil revenues. “Otherwise, INSTEX is of no use to us,” he said.

In late June, Zanganeh had said the U.S. won’t be able to realize the goals it’s pursuing by sanctioning Iran’s oil industry.
The minister, however, had emphasized the need for boosting exports of non-oil commodities, including petrochemicals, as the country’s most important economic strategy in countering the U.S. sanctions.

“We must take all necessary measures to pass through sanctions as we have done successfully so far,” he said.

The oil market is under strain from an escalation of U.S.’ pressure policy on Iran, which is a key OPEC producer with more than 2 million bpd.
In May last year, the U.S. brought back sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which was struck in 2015. 

The United States told buyers of Iranian oil to stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers that had allowed Iran’s biggest customers to import limited volumes.

EF/MA

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