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Iran to respond to threats made by other OPEC members if interests are threatened: Iranian Minister of Petroleum 

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo and Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh head to talks in Tehran, May 2, 2019.

Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh has warned that Iran will reply in kind if its interests in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are threatened.

"Iran is part of OPEC due to its interests and if members of the organization seek to threaten it, Iran will not leave them unanswered," Zangeneh said on Thursday.

The petroleum minister made the comments after a meeting with OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo who had arrived in Tehran on Wednesday to participate in the 24th Iran International Oil, Gas, Refining & Petrochemical Exhibition.

"I told Barkindo that OPEC is threatened by the unilateralism of some of its members and that it's possible that the organization may collapse," said Zangeneh following the meeting.

Barkindo said that the organization seeks to reach decisions collectively.

"We have seen numerous times in the past how one-sided decisions made by state-members have failed to be effectual. The same will happen again this time," said the OPEC chief.

OPEC and its allies are set to meet in June to decide on any supply changes. 

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both OPEC member-states, have however pledged to step up oil production to substitute Iranian barrels in line with the US policy of zeroing out Iran's oil exports. 

The US announced last month that it would not renew waivers that allowed Tehran’s eight largest customers to purchase its oil. The exemptions expired on May 1.

Iran has accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of exaggerating their ability to replace the country's oil.

Countries affected by US sanctions have so far opposed the expected move, citing tight market conditions and high fuel prices that are harming oil-dependent industries.

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US decision to end sanctions waivers had even angered Washington's allies.

"People are not happy. China is not happy, Turkey is not happy, Russia is not happy. France is not happy. US allies are not happy that this is happening and they say that they will find ways of resisting it," said Zarif.

On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned of the repercussions of the American sanctions on Iran, saying they negatively affect the entire region, including his own country.

Regarding the expiration of the waivers, the top Turkish diplomat said his country cannot quickly abandon Iranian oil.

"The refineries in Turkey are not adapted for Iraqi oil," said Cavusoglu.

Last week, China slammed the US sanctions, saying the country's dealings with Tehran were in accordance with international law, "reasonable and legitimate".

Bejing also warned that Washington's decision would “intensify turmoil” in the Middle East and in the international energy market.

On Monday, Chinese tabloid newspaper the Global Times said China and India could work together “to form a buyers' bloc” to counter US sanctions on Iran.

Opposition parties in India have also urged the government to push the US to reconsider the Iranian oil ban, describing the sanctions as a violation of India's sovereignty. 

Earlier this week, India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj accosted her US counterpart Mike Pompeo, saying immediate arrangements for alternative supplies to replace Iranian oil were "not possible,”

South Korea and Japan have also sought negotiations with the US, calling on Washington to backtrack on its decision.

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