Iran Threatens High Oil Prices Over Sanctions

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Iran's oil minister said his country may stop selling oil to some European countries in response to the latest round of sanctions by the U.S. and Europe against the Islamic Republic.

The European Union announced an embargo on Iranian oil last week to pressure Tehran on its controversial nuclear program.

Ahmad Qalehbani, head of the National Iranian Oil Company, said European countries represent only 20 percent of Iran's oil export, and it can easily find other customers.

"The sale of some 18 percent of Iranian oil to a market other than the EU is quite possible. But our long-term idea is to increase refining capacities to produce valuable products," he said.

He also warned of oil reaching $120 to $150 a barrel.

"It seems we will witness prices from $120 to $150 in the future," Iran's state-sponsored IRNA news agency quoted Qalehbani as saying.

The price of benchmark U.S. crude on Friday was around $99.56 per barrel.

Iran is the second largest OPEC producer, with some 80 percent of its foreign revenue coming from exports of around 2.2 million barrels of oil per day.

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