Iran will allow private companies to export crude oil, part of a strategy to counter U.S. sanctions, and is urging fellow OPEC members, including regional rival Saudi Arabia, not to break output agreements, state media and officials said on Sunday.

The Iranian warning, in a letter to the United Arab Emirates' energy minister, comes as Tehran faces a US push to get its allies to stop buying its oil as part of Trump's decision to pull America from the nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran possesses the second-largest gas reserves on the planet after Russian Federation and the fourth-largest oil supply, while Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest oil exporter.

"Any unilateral production increase beyond member countries' commitments under the OPEC's decisions would prompt U.S.to take actions against Iran", he wrote. Iran also urged fellow OPEC nations, including rival Saudi Arabia, to stick toan agreement made last month to collectively boost output.

Iran reacted to that tweet moments later saying Trump's request was no different to asking the Kingdom to leave the oil cartel. The White House later walked back on the comments. That would be roughly 1 million barrels per day of crude oil output increase according to OPEC officials.

"King Salman affirmed that the kingdom maintains a 2-million-barrel-per-day spare capacity, which it will prudently use if and when necessary to ensure market balance and stability, and in coordination with its producer partners, to respond to any eventuality", the statement said.

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"We will surely do something to thwart the USA rallying cry that Iranian oil [exports] must be stemmed", First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri said in statements during an economic event broadcast on state television.

Oil prices have edged higher as the Trump administration has pushed allies to end all purchases of oil from Iran following the US pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

"Iranian crude oil will be offered on the bourse and the private sector can export it in a transparent way", Jahangiri said at the event.

Referring to reports that Saudi Arabia may increase its oil exports to replace Iranian oil in world markets, Jahangiri said: "Anyone trying to take away Iran's oil market (share) would be committing great treachery against Iran and will one day pay for it".

"The [Iranian] government has a plan. and God willing we are certain that we will be able to sell as much oil as we want", Jahangiri said. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.


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