The United States hasn't changed its stance on looming Iranian oil sanctions, said Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, arguing that a new round of sanctions on the Islamic Republic wouldn't affect the "well-supplied and balanced" oil market.
"We are confident that energy markets will remain stable," Hook told reporters in Washington. "We are seeing a well-supplied and balanced oil market right now. We should focus on these fundamentals and not be distracted by the emotional and unbalanced claims coming from Tehran."
Hook added that growing rising US crude sales can compensate for Iranian exports losses.
He also maintained that Iran's ballistic missile activities need to be deterred and that European efforts to develop special payment channels to facilitate trade with Tehran would find no demand as more than 100 foreign companies had indicated they would stop doing business with Iran, fearing US sanctions.
The statement comes on the heels of the EU's recent announcement that five states, which remained in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal following Washington's withdrawal, have agreed to set up a special purpose vehicle to ease legitimate trading of European companies with the Islamic Republic. This has prompted a rebuke from towering figures in the US, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who warned that Washington wouldn't allow "Europe or anybody else" to circumvent its sanctions.
Donald Trump pulled the US out of the landmark 2015 accord, which curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions from the country. He cited flaws in the agreement that allegedly helped Iran reach a nuclear breakout, sidestepping the deal. Trump hit Tehran with sanctions, vowing to drive its oil sales to zero, and threatened with levies on companies doing business with it, prompting foreign investment outflow from the country.
Tehran, in turn, has downplayed the effect of sanctions. On Sunday, Iranian President Rouhani insisted that they "will have no effect" given that "the US has already done whatever it wanted to do," while Vice-President Eshaq Jahangirihas announced that Iran had found new partners ready to buy Iranian crude oil.
On November 4, a new wave of US sanctions will directly hit Iran's oil exports and banking operations and is expected to disconnect the Middle East state from international financial channels.