Iran says oil embargo means economic suicide for Europe
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 17 / Trend F.Milad/
Imposing sanctions on Iran's oil industry would be a suicide for the European economy, said Iran's representative to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
"European states are already grappling with an economic crisis," Mohammad-Ali Khatibi said, adding that any kind of sanction against Iran's oil industry will worsen the situation for them, according to the Mehr news agency.
Given the economic crisis in the Eurozone, the imposition of any sanctions on Iran's oil will push the European countries into a deeper crisis," he said, referring to the European debt crisis.
"The U.S. and some European countries must avoid adventurism in the global oil markets," Mr Khatibi warned.
Iran, OPEC's second biggest producer after Saudi Arabia, exports an average 2.2-2.3 million barrels per day, of which roughly 18-20 per cent goes to the European market.
EU member states have agreed in principle to impose an embargo on Iranian oil exports to Europe, but are still working out the details and timing of an embargo, diplomatic sources in Brussels have said.
An embargo is likely to have a much bigger impact on the EU member states that depend most on Iranian oil as a source of their imports and in particular Spain, Italy and Greece.
Some member countries reportedly have been seeking a grace period of around six months for the embargo to give them time to source alternative supplies.
Iran has starkly warned Persian Gulf states not to make up for any shortfall in its oil exports under new U.S. and EU sanctions.
"If Arab neighbours compensate for a looming EU ban on Iranian imports, we would not consider these actions to be friendly," Mr Khatibi was quoted as saying by the Sharq newspaper on Sunday.
"They will be held responsible for what happens in that case," he said, adding ominously: "One cannot predict the consequences."
"If the oil producing Persian Gulf states give the green light to replacing Iran's oil, these countries would be the main culprits for whatever happens in the region, including the Strait of Hormuz," Mr Khatibi told the Sharq daily newspaper.
"Our Arab neighbours should not cooperate with these adventurers. These measures will not be perceived as friendly."
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Saturday the world's biggest oil exporter was ready and able to meet any increase in demand, without making any reference to sanctions on OPEC rival Iran.