oil prices donald trump

Oil prices will top $100 a barrel thanks to Donald Trump, Iran has warned

Mr Trump again accused the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) of driving fuel prices higher on Wednesday, and urged US allies such as Saudi Arabia to pump more if they wanted Washington to continue protecting them against their top foe Iran.

Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, is facing US sanctions on its oil exports that are prompting some buyers to cut purchases.

Iranian OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili told Reuters that Mr Trump “should have expected” when blocking Iran’s access to the global markets that it would end up as “hostage to Saudi Arabia and Russia”, who he said had little vested interest in bringing down prices.

He said: “The responsibility of paying unnecessary prices for oil by all consumers of the whole world, especially in U.S. gas stations, is solely upon Trump’s shoulders and the price of over $100 per barrel is yet to come.”

The Republican president has lashed out at OPEC in recent weeks.

Rising gasoline prices could create a political headache for Mr Trump before November mid-term congressional elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and rollbacks of federal regulations have helped boost the US economy.

In a tweet on Saturday, Mr Trump said Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase oil output by up to 2 million barrels, an assertion the White House rowed back on in a subsequent statement.

The leader of Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest member, has assured Mr Trump that the kingdom can raise oil production if needed, and that the country has 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity that could be deployed to help cool oil prices to compensate for falling output in Venezuela and Iran.

Mr Trump has been complaining about OPEC at the same time that Washington is piling pressure on its European allies to stop buying Iranian oil.

Iran has threatened to block oil exports through a key Gulf waterway in retaliation against any hostile US action.

Mr Kazempour said: “We are neighbours and will remain so, we know we can and we must live together. No one wants you (Trump) to protect anybody… You are fighting with everybody, Sir, since you came to office”.

His comments come as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned they would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.

The US Navy stands ready to ensure free navigation and the flow of commerce, the US military’s Central Command said on Thursday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened in recent days to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to cut Tehran’s exports.

Praising Rouhani’s “firm stance” against the United States, the head of the Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday their forces were ready to block the strait which links the Gulf to the open sea.

In May, US President Donald Trump pulled out of a multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs to its nuclear programme. Washington has since told countries they must stop buying Iranian oil from November 4 or face financial measures.

If Iran cannot sell its oil under US pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to either, said Mohammad Ali Jafari, who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most powerful military force.

“We are hopeful that this plan expressed by our president will be implemented if needed … We will make the enemy understand that either all can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one,” Jafari was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

The Strait of Hormuz is the most important oil transit channel in the world with about one-fifth of global oil consumption passing through each day.

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