x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Iran warns Saudi Arabia to reconsider 'unfriendly' vow to open oil taps

Iran has warned Saudi Arabia to reconsider its vow to make up for any shortfall in Iranian oil exports under new sanctions.

TEHRAN // Iran has warned Saudi Arabia to reconsider its vow to make up for any shortfall in Iranian oil exports under new sanctions, saying Riyadh's pledge to step into the market was unfriendly.

The foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, issued the warning in an interview with Iran's broadcaster Al Alam.

"We invite Saudi officials to further reflect and consider" their offer to compensate for curbed Iranian oil exports, he said.

He attacked recent comments by the Saudi oil minister, Ali Al Naimi, saying Saudi oil output could be boosted to about 2.6 million barrels per day - the same amount that Iran exports - and that the world will not permit Iran to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

"These signals are not friendly signals," Mr Salehi said.

He said the security of the Arabian Gulf was "a collective security and Iran is a major player in this regard".

Meanwhile, South Korea said it would continue bilateral discussions with the US to find an acceptable compromise on sanctions against Iran's crude-oil exports, as the resource-poor country attempts to safeguard its energy security without alienating its key ally and trade partner.

A delegation of US officials met South Korean officials throughout yesterday to solicit Seoul's cooperation on US-led efforts to curtail Iran's oil revenues to pressure Iran into giving up its nuclear programme.

* With additional reporting by Bloomberg