Oil market held ‘hostage’ by Saudi Arabia, Russia: Iran

Tehran: Saudi Arabia and Russia have held “hostage” the oil market as US President Donald Trump seeks to impose new sanctions on Iranian oil sales, a senior Iranian energy official has said.

“Russia and Saudi Arabia claim they seek to balance the global oil market, but they are trying to take over a part of Iran’s share,” Iran’s governor of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency on Saturday.

“Trump’s efforts to cut Iran’s access to the global crude market has prompted Russia and Saudi Arabia to take hostage the oil market,” Kazempour Ardebili said.

On Saturday, he accused Moscow and Riyadh of welcoming sanctions against Iran for their own gain, and warned that such actions would damage the credibility of OPEC, according to Tasnim, Xinhua reported.

Ardebili also said “Saudi Arabia and UAE are turning the OPEC into a US tool”.

US sanctions on Iran snapped back on August 6, a move after US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8. The sanctions would include targeting Iran’s automotive sector, trade in gold, and other key metals.

The remaining sanctions will snap back on November 4. These sanctions will include targeting Iran’s energy sector and petroleum-related transactions, and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

Washington’s withdrawal from the landmark Iran nuclear deal was criticised across the world. Some of its major European allies have been working to prevent the 2015 deal from falling apart.