Oil prices will soar to US$250 a barrel if new US and EU sanctions being threatened against Iran are applied, the head of Iran's parliamentary economic commission predicted, Keyhan newspaper reported Sunday.
"Should America and some European countries impose sanctions on our oil and gas, then global oil prices will hit $250 per barrel," Arsalan Fathipour was quoted as saying.
The European Union on Thursday expanded a sanctions blacklist against Iranian firms and individuals and warned it was considering extra measures against Iran's financial and oil sectors.
At the same time, the US Congress is considering legislation targeting Iran's central bank -- the nexus for receiving payment for oil exports -- despite White House concerns that Iran could benefit if oil prices shoot up.
The mooted sanctions, coming on top of others announced on 14 November by the United States, Britain and Canada, seek to pressure Iran to halt its controversial nuclear activities.
Oil prices on Friday closed at $100.96 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude, and $109.94 per barrel for Brent North Sea crude.
The market is being influenced by the rising tensions over Iran -- OPEC's second largest producer after Saudi Arabia -- and the economic situation in the United States and Europe.
"America and some European states are seeking to put sanctions against our oil and gas industry on their agenda," Fathipour said.
"But even mentioning such a thing will excite the global oil market and hike its global price," he said.
China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey are the main customers for Iran's oil exports.