Iran's oil minister has hit back at Trump over production demands

He has repeatedly urged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) - which includes key U.S. ally Saudi Arabia - to raise its production.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other countries agreed earlier this month to a modest increase in output to dampen a rally in oil prices, which recently hit a 3-1/2 year high.

The president of OPEC defended the oil producer group on Monday against U.S. President Donald Trump's recent demands for higher oil output, saying OPEC does not shoulder the blame.

Zanganeh added the USA president's order is an insult to the national sovereignty of these independent governments and nations.

On Wednesday, Trump said in a tweet the "OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up and they are doing little to help".

OPEC and Russian Federation and other producers last month agreed to add 1 million barrels to the market.

Iran, the fourth-largest oil producer, accounts for five per cent of global oil supply and cutting its exports to zero could push oil up by $50 barrels per day (bpd) if Saudi cannot keep up, said analysts at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. Find us on Facebook too! "Some of the companies are trying to find other options other than Iran, be it the kingdom (Saudi Arabia), Emirates, Iraq or Kuwait", he said.

Another option President Trump has for increasing the supply of oil is tapping into the strategic petroleum reserve to reduce pressure on oil prices.

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

This has had traders anxious that the market is in for a shortage, which will cause prices to jump even higher, with some forecasting Brent at over US$100 a barrel.

Now, President Trump is threatening sanctions against any country that continues to do business with Iran.

The South Korean embassy said in a message on Twitter that "the embassy of the Republic of Korea denies any claims that it would not lift any Iranian crude and condensate in July".

Mazrouei said OPEC was willing to listen to major oil-producing countries, including the United States.

South Korea has bought almost 296,000 barrels of oil from Iran in the first five months of the year, and is the biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China and India.

Vanessa Coleman

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