Official confirms Iran ready to use oil leverage

Iran Materials 27 June 2006 12:07 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - Tehran is ready to use oil as a weapon to defend its national interests, an official spokesman for the Iranian government said Monday.

"Iran has never said it would restrict itself in the choice of tools to protect its national interests," Gholam Hossein Elkham said, although he ruled out that oil could be used as an illegal way to exert pressure, reports Trend.

Iran has come under tough international pressure since it lifted moratorium on nuclear research in January, as many countries suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a covert weapons program under the pretext of civilian research, despite its claims to the contrary. The United States, France, and Britain have been pushing in the UN Security Council for action to be taken, which could include sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Petroleum Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said Sunday that Iran would take advantage of all possibilities in the oil sector if sanctions were imposed against the country, and that prices could jump to $100 per barrel in the event of sanctions.

But he added that such sanctions against Iran were likely to prove impossible, because it was difficult to find an alternative to the 2.5 million barrels of oil produced by Iran daily.