Iran blames high oil prices on US 'meddling' in Mideast

By Ahmet Dursun

ANKARA (AA) – Iran’s petroleum minister on Wednesday responded to U.S. President Donald Trump’s calls to reduce global oil prices, saying prices would stabilize if the U.S. refrained from meddling in the Middle East.

“If he doesn’t want prices to rise, President Trump should stop interfering in the region, which raises tensions and hampers Iranian oil production and export,” Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said.

Speaking in Tehran, Zangeneh blamed oil price volatility on Washington’s "anti-Iran policies".

“It’s impossible to keep oil prices down while simultaneously reducing Iran’s oil exports,” Zangeneh said.

In a Tuesday speech at the UN General Assembly, Trump asked the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase oil output with a view to reducing international prices.

In May, Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from a landmark nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).

He later reinstated U.S. sanctions on Tehran, which had been lifted under the terms of the agreement in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The sanctions are expected to impact Iranian oil exports, which provide Tehran with the revenue needed to finance its national budget.

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