ISLAMABAD, Apr 30 (Reuters) A senior Iranian oil official said today the United Nations was unlikely to impose sanctions on Iran's oil industry over its nuclear programme, because any such action would send world oil prices soaring.
Iran may face a new resolution from the UN Security Council after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Friday that the country hampered its checks and rebuffed requests to stop making nuclear fuel.
Western powers led by the United States support limited sanctions if Iran fails to back down. Russia and China, two veto-wielding members of the Security Council, have been more guarded on this issue.
Iran's deputy oil minister, Mohammad Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian, said any curbs on its oil and gas industry were unlikely.
''I don't think anybody could put any sanction on the oil and gas industry,'' he told a news conference following talks with Pakistani oil officials on a gas pipeline project.
''Due to the sensitivity of the oil market, any action like that will increase oil prices very high. I believe not the UN, not other bodies will put any sanction on oil or the oil industry.'' The United States and other western countries suspect that Iran is using its nuclear programme as a smokescreen to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear activities are for energy production.
REUTERS CH PM1743