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Iran: If we were Russians, we'd be OK

Iranian executive makes the case if world markets had more of its oil and gas, it wouldn't be a sanctions target.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Iran: If we were Russians, we'd be OK
An Iranian gas director said if its reserves were flowing in the global market as much as Russia's, it wouldn't be facing as much sanctions pressure File Photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI | License Photo

May 1 (UPI) -- If Iranian oil and gas resources were flowing more extensively through the global market, it wouldn't be the target of Western ire, an Iranian director said.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said Russia has so far been able to get some concessions given it's one of the largest oil and gas exporters in the world. If Iranian reserves were flowing to that extent, it wouldn't be facing isolation.

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"If Iran's gas ties were extensive, the country could not have been placed under pressure so easily and relations would not be tarnished," Mehran Amin Moeini, the head of Iran's national gas export country, told the Energy Ministry's news website SHANA. "The case of Russia is a very successful one."

Broader commodity markets in late April breathed a sigh of relief when the U.S. Treasury Department offered some sanctions relief to Russian aluminum producer United Co. RUSAL, the second-largest company of its kind outside of China.

RELATED Russian Central Bank sees little risk from oil price volatility

U.S. President Donald Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to extend sanctions relief to Iran. If he doesn't, it would likely spell the end to the U.N.-backed nuclear agreement that lets some Iranian oil move through the market. Trump has said the agreement is deeply flawed.

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On Monday, and after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin said Iran has a secret weapons program, though the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday there's "no credible indications" that Iran tried to produce a weapon after 2009.

The Central Bank of Iran opened its first line of credit with Turkey last month. The mechanism could give Iran a way to continue trading should it face renewed sanctions pressures.

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Sanctions on Iranian oil exports in the European market would come at a time when traders are watching a shrinking gap between supply and demand. When the balance was tilted heavily toward the supply side two years ago, markets had a lot of breathing room for unrest. With the gap indicating a market in balance, there's no room for geopolitical risk.

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