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Iran pledges to react fiercely to any attack
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Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari warned on Wednesday that any attack on his country would meet with a fierce reaction and have severe consequences for the already volatile oil markets.

"For Iran, if there would be any kind of activity of any sort, it is not going to be quiet and it is going to react fiercely," Nozari told reporters on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid.

"Nobody can even imagine what would be the reaction of Iran now," he said, without specifying possible actions from his oil-rich country.

World oil prices have been hovering above 140 US dollars per barrel, fluctuating toward new highs amid concern over increasing tension between Iran and the West.

The United States and Israel have never ruled out the possibility of a military attack against Iran.

"We do not think that wise people in the world even think about any action like that," Nozari said, adding any attack at this moment would severely affect the oil markets.

"Can you imagine if any action happens ... what would be the result in the oil market?" he asked.

On the question of whether Iran would stop oil exports if attacked, Nozari said, "Iran has always been a reliable source of supply to the market, and Iran remains a supplier forever."

OPEC President Chakib Khelil said on Tuesday that threat against Iran and a weakening US dollar were the major forces behind the oil price hike.

Nozari apparently agreed with Khelil, blaming the devaluation of the US dollar for the oil price hike.

"(The price of) 140 (US) dollars you have seen nowadays is part of the devaluation trend of the dollar. If this trend is going to continue, it looks as if we have no other choice but to see higher prices," he said through a translator.

Nozari said Iran stands ready to raise supply to the market if there is demand.

"We have some spare capacity for production, but at the same time we have to say that at this moment there is no need for more supply of oil to the market," he said.

"The volatility of the market is not good, neither for the consumers, nor for the producers," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2008)

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