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'Consequences': Iran warns Gulf countries not to replace its oil

TEHRAN - An Iranian pro-reform newspaper says the country's OPEC governor has warned the country's Arab neighbors that Tehran will view any increase in crude production to counterbalance a potential embargo on Iranian oil as an unfriendly act.

A Sunday report by Shargh daily quotes Mohammad Ali Khatibi as saying that Arab nations will be an "accomplice in the consequences," if they raise output to offset any potential loss of Iranian crude exports due to an embargo.


New U.S. sanctions against Iran approved last month target the country's central bank and, by extension, its ability to sell petroleum abroad. The U.S. has delayed implementing the sanctions for at least six months. The EU is also contemplating an embargo.

Iran is OPEC's second-largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia with output of about 3.5 million barrels per day. It is facing trade hurdles over its nuclear program, which the United States and its allies say is aimed at building bombs.

Iran says it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

EU countries have proposed "grace periods" on existing contracts of one to 12 months to allow companies to find alternative suppliers before implementing an embargo.

Iran has threatened to block the vital oil shipping route of the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if sanctions imposed on its oil exports.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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