Iran Says Oil Could Hit $200 a Barrel Under New Sanctions
World oil prices could soar to $200 per barrel if Iran's petroleum sector is hit with new Western sanctions, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi told Saturday's edition of news weekly, Aseman.
"There is no doubt that the price of oil will increase drastically and the international markets will have to pay a heavy price," Qasemi was quoted as saying.
"One can't give accurate predictions, but sanctions on Iran's oil will drive up the price of oil to at least 200 dollar" per barrel, he said.
Qasemi comments come as the European Union was considering a possible EU embargo on Iranian oil imports. EU foreign ministers are to meet on the issue in a month's time.
U.S. President Barack Obama is also expected to soon sign into law additional restrictions on Iran's central bank, which acts as the main conduit for Iranian oil sales.
The United States and its allies have already imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran's economy.
World oil prices slipped slightly in end-of-year trading, but still remained generally high because of the heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.
Brent North Sea crude was at $107.02 per barrel in London, while New York's main contract, light sweet West Texas Intermediate crude, was at $98.99 a barrel.
Iran on Saturday kept concern alive over its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers by readying war game missile tests near the entrance to the Gulf.
Twenty percent of the world's oil moves through the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance of the Gulf, making it the "most important chokepoint" globally, according to information released Friday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Iran is subject to four rounds of U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, which many Western countries allege is being used to develop atomic weapons. Tehran denies the allegation.