The growing gas prices in the US indicate that Washington is facing a hard decision on the extension of waivers on Iran oil sanctions, an Iranian official said on Sunday.
Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International and Commercial Affairs Amir Hossein Zamaninia made the remarks in Tehran on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting between Iran and Iraq's oil ministers.
Asked if the US would extend waivers on oil sanctions against Iran, he said, "I do not opine on this issue now but everyone knows that the oil market is not stable and static but it is very turbulent."
"It is the prices at US gas pumps that decide about extension or non-extension of these waivers," Zamaninia underlined.
The deadline for the US administration to decide whether to extend sanctions waivers granted to buyers of Iranian oil is now less than a month away, and President Donald Trump faces a tricky decision.
He undoubtedly wants to increase pressure on the Persian Gulf nation, but in doing so he risks stoking oil prices and with them those all-important gas prices in swing states back home.
Crude prices have risen nearly 50 percent since Christmas, with WTI popping above $62.50 a barrel last week for the first time in almost five months. Retail gasoline prices are on a tear, too. The latest data from the Department of Energy show gas prices up by 18 percent since late February, bringing them back to where they were this time last year.
The US squeeze on Iran nevertheless allowed some nations to purchase its oil, under a series of six-month-long waivers. These were granted to eight countries, including China, South Korea, Iran, Japan and Turkey, as the restrictions were imposed in November. An estimated 1.76 million barrels a day of crude and condensate left Iran for those five countries in March, up from 1.42 million in February.