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Iran Official Accuses Russia Of Moving In On Its Oil Market Share

Iran's envoy to OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili.

Days after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to cooperate with Tehran to “rein in” the United Sates, Iran’s OPEC Governor has accused Moscow and Riyadh of “embracing” Washington’s sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

“Trump's efforts to cut Iran's access to the global crude market has prompted Russia and Saudi Arabia to take the market hostage,” Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said.

In an interview with a news website affiliated with Iranian Oil Ministry, SHANA, Kazempour Ardebili said on Saturday, September 15, “Russia and Saudi Arabia claim to be seeking to balance the global oil market, but they are trying to take over a part of Iran’s share”, adding, “Sadly, Iran’s warnings have fallen on deaf ears.”

By “approaching” Washington, Kazempour Ardebili argued, “Moscow is seeking the utmost gain in the current situation.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s OPEC Governor lambasted Iraq, Kuwait and United Arab Emirate for increasing their oil output.

Admitting that OPEC is losing its power, he lamented, "It is a fact that OPEC is losing its organizational character and is becoming a forum", adding, "Simply said, nobody is afraid of a toothless lion that growls from time to time, and does not harm anyone."

Renewed U.S. oil sanctions on Iran are scheduled to kick in in November and substantially curtail its crude exports as a way to put financial pressure on the Islamic Republic.

Non-OPEC Russia, along with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members have repeatedly insisted that they could easily compensate the drop in the output of other oil producer countries.

Nevertheless, Tehran says that only the countries whose output had been reduced below their quota should be allowed to increase their exports.

Russia has recently increased its oil production by nearly 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), taking it to a total of 11,250,000 barrels and has announced its intention to increase its output to 11,700,000 barrels per day, next year.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Friday, September 14 that the U.S., Russia, and Saudi Arabia can make up for any shortfall in Iranian oil exports.

President Donald Trump’s administration is set to penalize countries who buy Iranian oil by blocking their access to the U.S. market and U.S. financial institutions starting Nov. 4.

Nevertheless, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, earlier in his September 7 meeting with Putin in Tehran, had urged Russian President to cooperate with Iran to restrict U.S. power and freedom of action.

Khamenei told Putin that Syria is a good example of “restraining America”, where he insisted the U.S. has been defeated.

Iran is currently OPEC's third-largest producer, but the US wants to cut its exports down to zero by November as part of sanctions it has re-imposed on the country.

US officials are pressing allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, to adhere to the sanctions, which are aimed at pressuring Iran to negotiate a new agreement to halt its nuclear program.