Trump Blasts OPEC, Warns European Companies Against Business With Iran

(MEE) — US President Donald Trump lashed out at OPEC with a warning to stop manipulating oil markets in an interview that aired on Sunday.

The president, in an interview with Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo also piled pressure on close US allies with a threat to sanction European companies that do business with Iran. Tehran, however, vowed on Sunday to foil any US bid to block its oil exports.

Trump, who is spending the weekend at his golf property in New Jersey, said in a tweet on Saturday that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud had agreed to produce more oil.

The White House later walked back the president’s comments, saying the king said his country can raise oil production if needed.

Oil prices had risen on Friday on worries that US sanctions against Iran would take away significant volumes of crude oil from world markets while oil demand worldwide increases.

Rising gasoline prices could create a political headache for Trump ahead of the November elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and rollbacks of federal regulations have helped boost the economy.

On Fox, Trump directed blame at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Saudi Arabia is a member. Asked if someone was manipulating oil markets, Trump said: “OPEC is and they better stop it because we’re protecting those countries, many of those countries.”

The president also had tough words for other US allies. Earlier this year, to the chagrin of European partners, Trump said he would pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear agreement secured by world powers.

Iran Vows to Defeat US Efforts

He said in the Fox interview that European companies would face sanctions if they traded with Iran now. “Of course. That’s what we’re doing, absolutely,” he said.

Still, Iran vowed on Sunday to defeat US efforts to block its oil exports and warned rival producer Saudi Arabia it would never take Tehran’s “place” on the international oil market.

“We will surely do something to thwart the US rallying cry that Iranian oil must be stemmed,” First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri said in statements broadcast on state television.

“The Iranian government has a plan… and God willing we are certain that we will be able to sell as much oil as we want,” he said.

The United States exited from the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May and said it would reimpose economic sanctions on the Islamic republic and its business partners by 4 November.

Last week, a senior US State Department official described tightening the noose on Tehran as “one of our top national security priorities”.

“We’re not granting waivers,” the official said.

Jahangiri said: “They’re begging the Saudis to raise their output so that if Iran’s quota decreases nothing will happen to the markets.”

“In this battle,” he said, “any country that tries to take Iran’s place on the oil market will be guilty of treason against Iran… and surely one day it will pay the price of this treason.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations in 2016 and are locked in several proxy wars in the Middle East, including in Yemen.

Iran possesses the second-largest gas reserves on the planet after Russia and the fourth-largest oil supply, while Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter.

By MEE and agencies Republished with permission / Middle East Eye / Report a typo

This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.

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