Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has warned of the "serious effects" of upcoming US sanctions against Iran on oil prices and the entire Middle East.
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"I am not an expert on this. But I think it is obvious and everybody is predicting that if Iran is out of the market it would have serious effects on the market, including on oil prices," Araqchi said in an interview with Russia's Sputnik news agency.
US President Donald Trump announced in May that Washington was pulling out of the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program.
The deal had been signed between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- plus Germany in 2015.
The US administration reintroduced the previous sanctions while imposing new ones on the Islamic Republic. It also introduced punitive measures — known as secondary sanctions — against third countries doing business with Iran.
A first round of American sanctions took effect in August, targeting Iran's access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector. A second round, forthcoming on November 4, will be targeting Iran’s oil sales and its Central Bank.
In response to a question about the likelihood of Iran's closure of the Strait of Hormuz in case of Iran deprived of oil sales, as reiterated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Araqchi said it was "not a threat" but "a reality."
"Obviously, all countries in the Persian Gulf region want to sell their oil, and the world is in need of this region's oil and other energy resources," the top Iranian diplomat added.
He emphasized that any arrangement for the sale of oil in the region "should be inclusive" and added, "If you exclude one country [and] make sure that one country's oil sale comes to zero, as President Trump wants, that would create problems for the whole region. This is an obvious fact."