Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has warned that the ongoing embargo on the Islamic Republic’s oil exports will drive up global oil prices in international markets.
"If [the oil] producing countries are confronted with difficulties and restrictions, the market will react to the situation accordingly, which will cause an increase in prices," RIA Novosti quoted Qasemi as saying on Monday.
Qasemi further said Iran is to tap the National Development Fund, formerly known as Oil Stabilization Fund, to finance oil and gas projects.
"[During] this [Iranian calendar] year [March 2012-March 2013] we are planning to use USD 14 billion for the development of the oil and gas industry from the fund alone," he said, adding that Iran also enjoys other reserves in foreign currencies both at home and abroad.
"So there will be no particular difficulties this year with financing the country's oil and gas industry [projects]," noted the minister.
Under pressure from the United States, the EU foreign ministers approved new sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors last January.
The sanctions, which prevent EU member states from purchasing Iran's oil or extending insurance coverage for tankers carrying Iranian crude, came into effect on July 1.
On August 1, the US Congress approved more illegal embargoes against Tehran, which seek to punish banks, insurance companies and shippers that help Tehran sell its oil.
Iran's OPEC governor, Mohammad-Ali Khatibi, said last month that the Islamic Republic keeps supplying crude oil to its customers regardless of the US and European-imposed embargos.
“Iran's crude sale is going ahead as usual and we continue to sell oil to our traditional buyers in the remote places of the world,” he said.