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Iran Criticizes Saudi Comments on Oil Exports


Industrial plant strips natural gas from crude oil at Saudi Aramco's Shaybah oil field, Shaybah, Saudi Arabia (file photo).

Industrial plant strips natural gas from crude oil at Saudi Aramco's Shaybah oil field, Shaybah, Saudi Arabia (file photo).

Iran has criticized Saudi Arabia for saying it could increase its oil output if Western sanctions cut oil exports from Iran.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday in an interview with Iran's Arabic language al-Alam television channel that such signals are "not friendly."

He was responding to comments by Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, who said Saudi Arabia could "easily" boost its oil production by 2 million barrels per day in response to "emergencies worldwide."

Later this month, the European Union is due to discuss a possible embargo on oil imports from Iran, in a move to pressure Tehran over its controversial nuclear program.

Iran's representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said such an embargo would be "economic suicide" for the EU.

Western diplomats have expressed concern over Iran's move to enrich uranium to a higher level, saying it violates United Nations sanctions concerning Tehran's nuclear program.

Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop a nuclear weapon. Tehran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

Iran has threatened to respond to an embargo by closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway for the global oil trade. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Iran's threat "provocative and dangerous."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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