US Says Global Oil Surplus Aiding Its Plan to Cut Iranian Exports

Iran to give crushing response to measures against its oil export Hatami

Iran to give crushing response to measures against its oil export Hatami

If the Israeli Navy attempts to hamper Iran's oil sales, Tehran "will firmly respond", the Iranian Minister of Defence Amir Hatami stated Wednesday.

Iran is running short of options to replace its ageing fleet of tankers and keep oil exports flowing because renewed US sanctions are making potential sellers and flag registries wary of doing business with Tehran, Western and Iranian sources said.

Iran reached an agreement with world powers in 2015 over its nuclear program which led to the lifting of sanctions in 2016 but U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in May past year and reimposed restrictions in November.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told naval officers last week that Iran was still resorting to clandestine measures to ship fuel, the Reuters news agency reported. Those sanctions have already halved Iranian oil exports.

Peyman offered to "continue to closely consult on the extension of sanctions exemption and Korean companies' technical issues regarding trade with Iran", Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Hatami said any confrontation would be considered "piracy", warning that "the Iranian armed forces have the necessary capability to protect the country's shipping lines in the best way against any possible threat".

Iran's navy has extended its reach in recent years, dispatching vessels to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

He claimed that Iran is trying to "covertly" ship fuel over maritime routes to "circumvent" the USA sanctions.

"Oil spills and accidents involving tankers are extremely costly".

Iran was the eighth biggest oil supplier to India in February compared with seventh in January, and slipped from third position it held a year ago, the data showed.

"Zeroing out could prove difficult" one of the sources said, adding a price of around $65 a barrel for global benchmark Brent crude was "the high end of Trump's crude price comfort zone".

"Countries, ports, and canal operators, and private firms should know they will be likely responsible for the cost of an accident involving a self-insured Iranian tanker", he added.

Concerns about the lack of supply were part of the U.S. giving waivers to several countries to keep buying Iranian oil, but those expire in May, and Hook's comments suggest the USA wants to renew less of them, to further damage Iran.

In November, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook called Iranian vessels a "floating liability", saying the US sanctions would bar them from worldwide insurance markets, making them a risk for ports and canals which allow them access.