October 16, 2018 / 8:07 AM / a month ago

Iran says Trump cannot bring oil prices down by 'bullying'

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh arrives for an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump cannot bring oil prices down by “bullying” other nations, Iran’s oil minister said on Tuesday, adding that the market was suffering from short supply.

U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports are due to kick in on Nov. 4. The U.S. administration has been pushing its allies to cut Iranian oil imports and encouraging Saudi Arabia, other OPEC states and Russia to pump more oil to meet any shortfall.

“The oil market is suffering from short supply and this cannot be resolved by words. Trump thinks he can bring the oil prices down by bullying,” Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said, according to the semi-official news agency ILNA.

Benchmark Brent crude has been trading above $80 a barrel LCOc1.

Zanganeh said the rise of oil prices was a “self-inflicted pain” caused by U.S. sanctions against Iranian energy exports, and could be resolved by lifting the measures.

“Everyone is worried and Trump has failed to reassure them. That’s why the market is in turmoil,” he said.

Zanganeh also said the United States “has done most of the things it could do, and there is not much left to do against Iran,” according to comments reported by Iran’s ISNA agency.

Washington said this month it would consider waivers for Iranian oil buyers such as India, although it said they would eventually have to halt imports from Iran, the third biggest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The United States announced new sanctions after withdrawing from a nuclear deal with Iran in May. Under the 2015 nuclear pact, most international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in 2016 in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Edmund Blair

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