Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said the crude oil market will become "unpredictably more fragile" if the U.S. decides to put further pressure on Iran, local media reported on Sunday.
The Oil Ministry's official news outlet Shana reported Zangeneh as saying in a live radio interview with local media that the global oil market is already in a fragile state with insufficient supply to meet the demand.
"The price of oil is rising day by day, reflecting growing concerns in the market," he said, adding “Mr. [Donald] Trump should choose whether to add more pressure on Iran or keep fuel prices low in gas stations in the U.S."
Last Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would put more pressure on the Islamic republic. "I can assure the rest of the world that President Trump will continue to ratchet up the pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran so that their behavior will change," he said.
The minister, likely in reference to Pompeo's remarks, said such statements are "mostly propaganda-oriented" rather than aimed at calming the market.
"Venezuela is now in difficulty; Russia has been banned; Libya is in a state of unrest and the U.S. has lost a part of its oil output.
"These indicate that the state of production, supply and demand are fragile. If they want to add pressure on Iran, this fragility will be unpredictably exacerbated," he said.
Crude prices have been on the rise since the beginning of 2019 with falling global oil supply. Brent crude increased more than 30 percent and WTI rose around 40 percent after OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries agreed on Dec. 7, 2018 to trim their output by 1.2 million barrels a day for the first six months of 2019.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $71.49 a barrel at 0610GMT on Monday while American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) registered at $63.58 to still sustain five-month highs. Prices have also been supported by the tightening of supply from U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, and by high conformity to OPEC and non-OPEC's supply cuts.
By Hale Turkes