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Iran denies oil export threat

  |   Dec. 7, 2009 at 1:10 PM
TEHRAN, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Iranian officials denied they would cut crude oil exports as retaliation for expanded economic sanctions on the Islamic republic

Mohammad Ali Khatibi, the Iranian representative to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said several Western media outlets mistakenly reported the Iranian oil minister warned that Tehran would cut oil exports in response to sanctions.

The Wall Street Journal last week said energy traders had dismissed comments from the Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mir Kazemi on sanctions. The Journal reported that Kazemi had threatened to halt oil exports if sanctions are enforced on Iran.

"The Iranian oil minister denied this news when I asked him about it," Khatibi told the state Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting network.

Iran is second in terms of Middle East oil production behind Saudi Arabia. U.S. lawmakers, however, have backed tightened sanctions on companies involved in the Iranian energy sector as punishment for a controversial nuclear program.

Tehran insists its nuclear work is for civilian use.

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