“In the past they used to rattle sabers against us
that they would block our gasoline imports to paralyze Iran; however, such
threats are history now and our gasoline production is at a very good state
despite 8 to 9 percent rise in its annual consumption. They cannot pressure us this
way anymore,” the official said in a televised interview on Thursday evening.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United
Nations Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus
Germany signed the JCPOA on July 14, 2015, and started implementing it on
January 16, 2016.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on
its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions
imposed against it.
Trump has described the deal, which was
negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama, as “the worst and most
one-sided transaction Washington has ever entered into,” a characterization he
often used during his presidential campaign, and threatened to tear it up.
On Tuesday, May 8, President Donald Trump
announced the United States would exit the nuclear pact with Iran and re-impose
sanctions on Tehran, saying the Obama-era deal failed to contain Tehran’s nuclear
ambitions and regional meddling.
Zangeneh added that the second phase of Persian
Gulf Star Refinery was about to come on-line adding 12 million liters per day
to the country’s Euro-5 petrol output.
Iran can now supply 87 ml/d of gasoline, up 25
ml/d from last year’s 62 ml/d, he added.
He went on to add that 4 onshore refineries with
the capacity of processing over 100 million cubic meters per day of gas
recovered from South Pars gas field would come on-stream this calendar year
which began on March 21.
This year, 150 mcm/day of sour gas would be made
available to refineries for sweetening, he added.
Referring to Trump’s duplicity in the oil market,
Zangeneh said: “I believe that Mr. Trump is practicing duplicity in the oil market
as he seeks higher prices and therefore has cut an agreement with certain OPEC
members to keep their output low so that prices would increase and shale oil production
becomes economical. Today, the US is producing over 6 million barrels per day
of shale oil which is a very big figure.”
By keeping the prices high, oil production rises
in the US, resulting in generation of more jobs and levying more taxes which
would benefit the US government, Mr. Zangeneh argued.
“On the other hand, in order to keep consumers in
their country quiet, they keep telling them that OPEC is responsible for the
rising prices,” Zangeneh further added.
“I believe that too expensive oil is not suitable
because it unleashes shale oil production, leading to another glut in the
market and a subsequent drop in prices which would again force OPEC to cap its
output to prevent price hikes,” the official said.
“We [OPEC members] argue that the price of oil at
the $60/b range would be better in the long-run, but there are some OPEC
members that are acting as tools for carrying out US policies.”