EghtesadOnline: Unilateral sanctions against Iran's oil sector are yet another example of the belligerent US President Donald Trump’s economic terrorism against the Iranian people.
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh made the charge on Wednesday in Moscow Russia adding that the energy industry should remain apolitical to prevent unwanted and unhelpful interference by hostile regimes like the present administration in Washington.
“The energy market must be apolitical to prevent unilateral and illegal interference,” Zanganeh said upon arrival in the Russian capital for the 21st Ministerial Meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), IRNA reported.
“We believe unilateralism will not deliver and putting pressure on Iran is not the way to restore stability and calm in the region and the world, and for the security of energy supply.”
Trump's policies have largely undermined major energy development projects and endangered the world's energy security. All countries should stand up to the dangerous US measures that in breach of international norms and agreements, Financial Tribune quoted the minister as saying.
He said he would be willing to meet the oil minister of Saudi Arabia while in Moscow. Trying to defuse tensions with the Saudis, Zanganeh called Prince Abdulaziz, a senior member of the Saudi royal family who was appointed to the energy portfolio last month, a friend.
“Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has been a friend for over 22 years,” the state news agency quoted Zanganeh as saying.
The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia have blamed an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities on Sept. 14 on Iran, a charge rejected by Tehran as “political stunt.”
Yemen’s Houthi movement has claimed responsibility for the attack that knocked out more than 5% of global oil production and sent petroleum prices spiking higher.
Saudi Arabia overstated the damage done by the drone and missile attacks, Zanganeh said.
“I never believed that with this attack half of the oil production of Saudi Arabia would be cut off. Their reaction was a political tactic.”
The oil kingdom has resorted to political exaggeration about the Aramco attack to convey that global energy security had been jeopardized, the oil minister said.
Saudi Arabia, together with several other Arab regimes and western backing, launched a military campaign in 2015 that aimed at rolling back advances made by Houthi fighters after they overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.
The US-backed Saudi-led intervention initially started with a desperate bombing campaign and later saw a naval blockade and deployment of ground forces into the impoverished Arab country. At least 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the brutal Saudi air strikes and devastated the country’s economic structure.
Referring to the country's current gas output at 750 million cubic meters, Zanganeh said natural gas accounts for 70% of Iran's fuel basket and the trend will continue to rise.
Global demand for natural gas surged by 4.6% in 2018, driven by strong economic growth, the transition away from coal-fired electric power and weather-related demand.
Gas accounted for nearly half of the world’s growth in energy demand, with most of the higher consumption coming from China and the United States.
The three-day 21st Ministerial Meeting of Gas Exporting Countries Forum will open today (October 3).
With the current number of members, GECF has a strong position in the world gas market and among international energy organizations. Its potential rests on the enormous natural gas reserves of member countries jointly accounting for over 70% of the world proven reserves.
Members are Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Azerbaijan, Iraq, Norway, Kazakhstan, Oman, Peru and Angola have observer status.