Monday, March 13, 2006

Iran sends mixed messages over oil exports

TODAY online:

March 12, 2006

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki insisted Iran would remain a reliable energy supplier, a day after the interior minister issued a new warning on Iranian oil exports.

"The Islamic republic of Iran is determined to be a reliable and effective energy supplier for Asian countries and not to use oil to implement its foreign policy," Mottaki told an international conference in Tehran on energy and security in Asia.

Iranian media however reported apparently contradictory remarks from Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi that suggested Iran could use oil as a weapon if it was hit by economic sanctions over its nuclear programme.

"We have energy, we have both our big consumer market and that of the region, and we have control over the biggest and the most sensitive energy route in the world," said Pour-Mohammadi Saturday, in response to a question on Tehran's response in case of UN Security Council action.

This is not the first time that Iranian officials have denied that they intend to use oil as weapon.

Iran, OPEC's second biggest producer, said on March 6 that it was committed to remaining a stable oil supplier despite mounting international tensions surrounding its nuclear program.

"The Islamic republic has always stressed it is a stable source of providing energy to the world," Iran's representative to OPEC Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said.

But on March 5, Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani issued a veiled warning that the Islamic republic could use oil as a weapon if the nuclear crisis escalated, while signaling Iran would not initiate bringing oil into the dispute.

Four days ago, Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said that his country would not halt its oil exports, even if hit by economic sanctions over its disputed nuclear program.

"(Economic sanctions) could affect the (oil) market and prices could go up but it will not affect our decision to continue our supply," Vaziri-Hamaneh told reporters in OPEC meeting. AFP


Post a Comment

<< Home