Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, Iran's petroleum minister, speaks to Rudaw at the OPEC conference in Vienna, Austria, on June 22, 2018.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The United States disputed the "report" of Kirkuk oil being transferred to Iran, despite the country's oil minister confirming receipt of "Kirkuk oil to Iran" in June.
"I want to make this clear, we can't confirm that
report. We've seen that report. We just can't confirm," State Department
spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday.
The US government was asked the question in light of
sanctions against entities dealing with the Iranian regime. Iraq's oil sector
"We have started to receive the Kirkuk oil to Iran. I
hope to be able to continue it as the program we have agreed to with the oil
ministry of Iraq," Iranian Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh told Rudaw correspondent Zinar Shino at the OPEC conference in Vienna on June 22.
The deal between Baghdad and Tehran sends 30,000 bpd of
Kirkuk's oil to Iran by tanker truck to a refinery in Kermanshah. In return,
Iran sends the same amount of oil to southern Iraq — again putting the Iraqi
government in violation of US sanctions.
Zangeneh added that Iran's exports of Kirkuk crude could
"But for continuation of this swap, and to we need to
increase the level of this swap, we need to build a pipeline between Kirkuk and
Iran," emphasized Zangeneh. "Currently it's at 30,000 bpd, could be
increased it to more than 300."
The initial talks between Iraq's State Organization for
Marketing of Oil (SOMO) and Tehran began in November. Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar
al-Luaibi confirmed the deal to Reuters in January.
The United States would like to see Iranian oil exports at
"Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and
explained to him that, because of the turmoil & dysfunction in Iran and
Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to
2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference...Prices to high! He has
agreed!" tweeted US President Trump on Saturday.
"These are exaggerated statements that can never be
implemented," President Rouhani told reporters in response to Trump in
Bern, AFP reported on Tuesday.
At the forefront of talks was the nuclear deal.
"Such a scenario would mean the US was imposing its
imperialist policy in flagrant violation of international law," added
"This is really a baseless fantasy," he said,
condemning an "unjust" scenario where Iran is not allowed to export
crude, but other OPEC countries are.
The oil-rich Kirkuk province came under Iraqi federal
control in October 2017 when Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitaries in
Iraq and the Iraqi army gained control of the city and its oil fields.