(Reuters) – The United States has made a bad mistake by politicizing oil and using it as a weapon, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said in a parliamentary session on Tuesday, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.
Oil prices on Tuesday hit their highest level since November after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end next week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply.
Zanganeh added that the United States will not be able to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero.
“With all our power, we will work toward breaking America’s sanctions,” Zanganeh said in parliament, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).
The United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers, most of them in Asia, to continue importing limited volumes.
The White House said after its Iran move it was working with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure oil markets were “adequately supplied” but traders worried about tight supplies.
Zanganeh said that “America has made a bad mistake by politicizing oil and using it as a weapon in the fragile state of the market.”
He added that the oil market is unpredictable and the announcement by the United States and its regional supporters intended to keep oil prices stable is a sign of their concern, ISNA reported.
“You can’t be assured that enough oil can be produced to meet demand,” Zanganeh said, according to IRNA. “Because some regional countries announce production capacities higher than their real levels.”
Separately, Zanganeh said during the parliamentary session that Iran’s daily gas production has grown 30 percent in the past six years, according to IRNA.
Iran produced a daily average of 620 million cubic meters of gas in the Iranian calendar year which ended in March 2013 and that grew to 850 million cubic meters per day in the year ending in March 2019, he said.
The average daily gas production at South Pars, the world’s largest gas field, was 240 million cubic meters in the Iranian calendar year which ended in March 2013 and grew to 532 million cubic meters in the year ending in March 2019, Zanganeh said.
Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh in Geneva; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens