Rouhani warns US boycott of Iran oil will lead to shortage

Iran’s president is warning that regional oil supply could be jeopardized if the US gets its allies to stop buying Tehran’s oil.

By: AP

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is warning that regional oil supply could be jeopardized if the United States manages to get its allies to stop buying Tehran’s oil.

Rouhani spoke to Iranian expatriates in Switzerland during his visit there on Monday. He said the US has threatened not to allow Iran to continue exporting its oil.

“It seems they do not understand what they are saying when they say Iran will not be allowed to export even a single drop of oil,” Rouhani said in remarks aired by Iranian state television. “All right, if you can do such a thing, do it and see the result!”

Rouhani did not elaborate, but Iran long has asserted it could shut down the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow body of water that separates the Persian Gulf from the wider world. A third of all oil traded by sea passes through the strait and the U.S. Navy regularly has direct, tense encounters with Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) there.

Iran is OPEC’s (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) second-largest crude exporter with more than 2 million barrels a day.

After the US pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran, Washington has been pushing allies to cut oil imports from Iran altogether by November.

President Donald Trump has criticized OPEC for not doing enough to lower oil prices. On Saturday, Trump wrote on Twitter that he had received assurances from King Salman of Saudi Arabia that the kingdom will increase oil production, “maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels” in response to turmoil in Iran and Venezuela.