Iran slams ‘big countries’ use of oil as 'political tool'
KUWAIT CITY - Iran's oil minister Rostam Qasemi on Wednesday slammed the use of the vital commodity as a political tool by "big countries" against producers, warning sanctions will jeopardise supplies.
"Unfortunately, some big countries who are among the major energy consumers, view oil as one of the basic constituents in their military, security and political strategies, and use it as a political tool against oil producing countries," he told the International Energy Forum currently meeting in Kuwait.
"Exerting unilateral economic constraints... is a threat which jeopardises free trade and the continuity of oil supply in the world," he said, in clear reference to Western sanctions on Iranian oil exports over its controversial nuclear programme.
Qasemi's comments came as the International Energy Agency forecast on Wednesday that Iranian oil exports will fall by 800,000 barrels per day after mid 2012.
The IEA said Iranian oil exports would decline to around one million bpd, while global demand for oil grows by 800,000 bpd to 89.9 million bpd.
"Ultimately, all concerned groups in the oil market, including producers and consumers, will face various problems," Qasemi told the forum that groups 88 oil producing and consuming nations.
With fresh EU sanctions on Iran's oil exports to take effect in July, the minister charged that despite "having a history of over one hundred years in the petroleum industry, Iran has never initiated using oil as a political tool."
He lamented that dialogue between producing and consumer countries had failed to avert the enforcement of oil sanctions.
"Unfortunately, the trend of dialogue between producers and consumers has not been successful in establishing an atmosphere of healthy cooperation, depoliticising oil and energy industries, and eliminating sanctions, to the extent that producers and consumers expected," he said.
The United States and the European Union have in the past four months ramped up economic sanctions on Iran in a bid to force it to suspend uranium enrichment, the most sensitive part of its nuclear programme.