Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh arrives at the OPEC headquarters in September 2005. Iran has again brandished oil as a weapon in a dispute over its nuclear programme, with the Islamic republic continuing to resist international demands to freeze sensitive uranium enrichment work.
Iran on Sunday repeated threats that it was ready to use its massive oil exports as a weapon to defend itself if it felt in danger in an international dispute over its atomic program.
But Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said international sanctions on 2.5 million barrels per day of Iranian crude exports would be impractical and would send oil prices over $100 a barrel, up from around $70 now.
Iran has been hauled before the U.N. Security Council over suspicions it is seeking nuclear missiles, a charge it denies. It could face economic sanctions and the United States has consistently declined to rule out military action.
Vaziri-Hamaneh said earlier this month the world’s fourth biggest crude producer would prefer not to play the oil card and would only do so to defend its rights.
He struck a similar tone on Sunday, telling state television: “I think using the oil weapon would be advantageous to Iran in times of threats.”
“But using such a weapon in the normal situation in the country and oil markets would mean confronting the world and we do not have such a policy,” he added.
Iran is blustering again because they have not arrived at a diplomatic solution to Condoleezza Rice’s gambit with the Big 6 Proposal.
Anything short of a cessation of uranium enrichment will be a non-starter and a referral to the United Nations Security Council for trade/economic sanctions. Flap outlined a possible compromise solution with a prolonged cessation of enrichment so that Iran could “save face.” However, time is running out and further bluster and attempted manipulation of the Western media cycle is now becoming redundant and pathetic.
On the notion that Iran would use 80 per cent of their export receipts as a weapon is ridiculous. As previously stated by United States Energy Secretary Bodman, the United States would be in “good shape” even if Iran did close the spigots, owing to healthy stockpiles.
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The Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Natanz is pictured in this January 2, 2006 satellite image.
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