TEHRAN, June 20 (UPI) -- The international community can't ensure basic energy security by shoving Iran out of the market, the country's deputy oil minister said.
Iran has some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. Concerns about its nuclear ambitions, however, have left the country sidelined.
Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Mohsen Khojasteh-Mehr told the Iranian Students' News Agency that natural gas reserves in Iran should put it at the center of the international market.
"The world has come to the conclusion that if it removes Iran from the global gas market, it will create critical conditions," he said.
The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration says Iran has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world. At least 60 percent of its proven reserves haven't been developed.
Iran has touted itself as a potential supplier to the Nabucco pipeline. It also aims to build a natural gas pipeline to Pakistan, though that project is up against a Western-backed option from Turkmenistan.
Sanctions, supported by the United States and European Union, against Iran's oil sector go into force in a matter of weeks.