Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi on Friday downplayed the effects of sanctions on the country's oil industry, saying the embargos imposed by European states on Tehran are responsible for the soaring hike in oil prices.
“The European Union set a deadline for imposing sanctions on Iranian oil and ultimately these sanctions led to a sudden increase in the price of black gold in world markets,” Qassemi said, according to the Fars news agency.
He added that Iran will be the winner of the economic war waged against Iran by Western countries, and urged Westerners to learn from this price increase and behave logically.
“Iran without a doubt will be the winner of the economic war with the West,” said Qassemi. “Despite sanctions (against Iran), the development of the oil industry has not been stopped and there is no lack of goods and equipment (in the country).”
In January, the European Union agreed to slap an embargo on Iran's oil exports. The sanctions go into effect on July 1, but oil prices have shot up in recent months in the wake of Iran's decision to halt its crude exports to certain European countries, in response to the EU oil embargo.
On Thursday, Iran and six world powers meeting in Baghdad found they were still far apart over how to oversee Tehran's atomic program, but scheduled more talks in Moscow next month, as an alternative to possible military action.
Meanwhile, it was reported on Friday that inspectors have found in Iran traces of uranium enriched to a level that is slightly closer to the threshold needed to arm nuclear missiles. The announcement was made by the UN’s nuclear agency.
According to the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran said the find was a technical glitch. The agency said it was assessing that explanation and has asked for more details, but analysts and diplomats said Iran's version sounded plausible.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)