Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Monday ridiculed the Trump administration's plan for strict U.S. sanctions against his country set to start in November, calling the threat nothing more than an "empty promise" that won't work.
"The United States is not capable of bringing our oil exports to zero," Rouhani told NBC News' Lester Holt in an exclusive interview set to air in full Monday evening."This is an empty promise, and it's a threat that is empty of credibility. Perhaps on this path we will sustain certain pressures, but certainly the United States will not reach its objective."
Rouhani's comments come a day after Saudi Arabia and its biggest oil-producer ally outside the group, Russia, ruled an immediate hike in crude output, pushing back on President Donald Trump's call to cool the oil market.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters in Algiers that he does not influence prices. On Thursday, Trump called on OPEC to lower prices, after benchmark Brent oil reached $80 a barrel, mainly stemming from a decline in exports from Iran, because of fresh U.S. sanctions.
Falih said Saudi Arabia could increase output, but the move is not needed at this time because the markets are already adequately supplied.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak also said no increase was needed, but he does believe a trade war between the United States and China, and the United States' sanctions on Iran are creating new challenges.
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