Iran says U.S. pressures on Iran, Venezuela making oil market fragile

Iran says U.S. pressures on Iran, Venezuela making oil market fragile
Iran says U.S. pressures on Iran, Venezuela making oil market fragile

Iran's oil minister said on Sunday that U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and tensions in Libya have made the supply-demand balance in the global oil market fragile, and warned of consequences for increasing pressures on Tehran.

Oil prices have risen more than 30 percent this year on the back of supplycuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and U.S.sanctions on oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, plus escalating conflict in OPECmember Libya.

"Oil prices are increasing every day. That shows the market isworried," Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

"Venezuela is in trouble. Russia is also under sanctions. Libya isin turmoil. Part of U.S. oil production has stopped. These show thesupply-demand balance is very fragile," Zanganeh said.

"If they (the Americans) decide to increase pressures on Iran, thefragility will increase in an unpredictable way," he added.

Zanganeh said one of the consequences of pressure on Iran was a rise infuel prices in the United States.

"Mr. Trump should choose whether to add more pressure on Iran orkeep fuel prices low at gas stations in America," Zanganeh was quoted assaying by the oil ministry's news agency SHANA.

The U.S. reimposed sanctions on Iran in November after pulling out of a2015 nuclear accord between it and six world powers. The sanctions have alreadyhalved Iranian oil exports.

U.S. President Donald Trump eventually aims to halt Iranian oil exports,choking off Tehran's main source of revenue. Washington is pressuring Iran tocurtail its nuclear programme and stop backing militant proxies across theMiddle East.

OPEC and its allies meet in June to decide whether to continue withholdingsupply. Though OPEC's memeber, Saudi Arabia, is considered keen to keepcutting, sources within the group said it could raise output from July ifdisruptions continue elsewhere.

The producer group's supply cuts have been aimed largely at offsettingrecord crude production in the United States.

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