Iran's representative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is warning his country's Arab neighbors against raising their crude output to replace Iranian oil in the event of Western sanctions.
A Sunday report by the Sharq newspaper quotes Mohammad Ali Khatibi as saying Tehran would view any increase of crude production as an "unfriendly act." He also said that if the other OPEC nations did so, the consequences would be “unpredictable.”
Last week, Western diplomats expressed concern over Iran's move to enrich uranium to a higher level, saying it violates United Nations sanctions resolutions concerning Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
The Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop enrichment work, which has civilian and military uses. Later this month, the European Union will discuss a possible embargo on oil imports from Iran to further increase the pressure.
So far, Iran has threatened in response to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway for the global oil trade. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Iran’s threat is "provocative and dangerous." She urged Iran to end its “provocative behavior” and its search for nuclear weapons.
Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop a nuclear weapon. Tehran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.