January 10, 2019 / 11:28 AM / 4 months ago

Iran will not comply with 'illegal' U.S. sanctions: oil minister

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh and Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer al-Ghadhban attend a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Thursday U.S. sanctions against his country were “fully illegal” and Tehran would not comply with them.

“We believe that we should not comply with the illegal sanctions against Iran,” Zanganeh told a joint news conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart, Thamer al-Ghadhban.

Zanganeh also said Iran would not discuss the volume or destination of its oil exports while it remained under U.S. sanctions.

“We have discussed today how to improve cooperation with Iraq on different aspects, especially on oil issues,” Zanganeh said.

Ghadhban, who also said the discussions had touched on energy issues, added that Iraq had not yet reached an agreement with Iran to develop joint oilfields.

He said a decline in global oil prices had stopped and that he expected them to rise gradually.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Iran and Iraq are members, and its Russia-led allies agreed on Dec. 7 to cut output by more than expected, despite pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to reduce oil prices.

The OPEC deal had hung in the balance on concerns that Iran, whose crude exports have been depleted by U.S. sanctions, would receive no exemption and block the agreement.

Ghadhban said any decision relating to future OPEC cuts would depend on monitoring price developments.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Raya Jalabi; Editing by Dale Hudson and Gareth Jones

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