Oil Report

UPDATE 2-Military move would push oil price sharply up-Iran

(Adds more quotes, background)

TEHRAN, July 5 (Reuters) - Iran’s oil minister said any military attack aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear work will push crude prices to “unpredictable” highs, the website of the country’s Oil Ministry reported on Saturday.

“When oil prices change by $10 to $15 by official comments (about the market), oil prices will be pushed to unpredictable highs if some take an unwise decision to attack Iran,” it quoted Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari as saying.

The Islamic Republic insists its nuclear programme is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity. But the West and Israel fear Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs. Israel is believed to be the only Middle East state with nuclear arms.

Speculation about a possible attack on Iran because of its disputed nuclear ambitions has risen since a report this month said Israel had practised such a strike, prompting increasingly tough talk of retaliation, if pushed, from Tehran.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards warned last week Tehran would impose controls on shipping in the vital Gulf oil route if Iran was attacked.

Nozari likened talks on attacking Iran to a “joke”.

“Any military attack on Iran will have a strong and unimaginable response from the country,” Nozari said.

Crude prices fell on Friday more than a dollar when Iran said it would respond to an incentives package offered by six world powers to try to resolve a long-running dispute over its nuclear development programme.

However Iranian government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said on Saturday Iran had no intention to halt its uranium enrichment work, as demanded by major powers in order to start formal talks on the incentives offer.