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Oil may hit $150 on EU ban: Tehran

By Agencies | Tehran | 29 Jan 2012

Oil prices could rise as high as $150 a barrel because of the European Union ban on imports of Iranian crude, the country’s deputy oil minister said on Sunday.

“Although a precise prediction cannot be made on oil prices, it seems we will witness a $120 to $150 oil price per barrel in future,” Deputy Oil Ministry Ahmad Qalebani was quoted by IRNA as saying.

Iran’s Parliament, meanwhile, postponed a vote on a bill requiring the government to immediately halt crude oil sales to Europe.

A senior lawmaker said Iran is considering banning all oil exports to the EU for five to 15 years. Emad Hosseini said no draft bill had been drawn up but lawmakers were considering a preemptive ban on oil exports to the EU.

A member of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said any ban would last at least five years. “We will change the threat into an opportunity for Iran and cut Iran’s oil supplies to the Europeans for five to 15 years,” Mohammad Karim Abedi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Iran on Sunday declared itself optimistic about a UN experts’ visit aimed at probing suspected military aspects of its nuclear work and lawmakers postponed debate on a proposed halt to oil flows to the European Union watched closely in energy markets.

A team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors began a three-day visit to try to advance efforts to resolve a row about nuclear work.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said: “We are very optimistic about the outcome of the IAEA delegation’s visit to Iran ... Their questions will be answered during this visit. We have nothing to hide and Iran has no clandestine (nuclear) activities.” 



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