Blocking oil exports would 'double prices'

Iran warned the West yesterday that any move to block its oil exports would more than double crude prices with devastating consequences on a fragile global economy.

"As soon as such an issue is raised seriously the oil price would soar to above $250 a barrel," a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said.

Iran is striving to contain international reaction to the storming of the British embassy last week, a move that drew immediate condemnation from around the world and may galvanise support for tougher action against Tehran.

Washington and EU countries were already discussing restricting oil exports after the United Nations nuclear watchdog issued a report in November with what it said was evidence that Tehran had worked on designing a nuclear bomb. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.

The US Senate voted on Thursday to penalise foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank – which takes payment for the 2.6 million barrels Iran exports a day. The EU is considering a ban – already in place in the US – on Iranian oil imports.

Neither Washington nor Brussels has finalised its move against the oil trade or the central bank amid fears of the possible impact on the global economy. Reuters

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