Iran warns Saudi to reconsider vow to open oil taps

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Mar 5, 2010
TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday warned Saudi Arabia to reconsider its vow to make up for any shortfall in Iranian oil exports under new sanctions, saying Riyadh's pledge to step into the market was unfriendly.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi issued the warning in an interview with Iran's Arabic language broadcaster Al-Alam.

"We invite Saudi officials to further reflect and consider" their offer to compensate for curbed Iranian oil exports, Salehi said.

He attacked recent comments by Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi saying Saudi oil output could be boosted to by around 2.6 million barrels per day -- the same amount that Iran exports -- and that the world will not permit Iran to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

"These signals are not friendly signals," Salehi said.

He added: "The security of the Persian Gulf is a collective security and Iran is a major player in this regard."

Iran has told Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing Arab neighbours that if they step in to compensate for Iranian oil exports cut under looming EU and US sanctions, it "would not consider these actions to be friendly."