Tehran: Iran''s Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) governor warned on Monday that heightened Middle East tension would push oil prices further up, an Iranian news agency reported.
"The increase in tension in the Middle East will prompt the oil price to experience levels higher than the ones already experienced," Mohammad Ali Khatibi was quoted as saying by the Isna news agency.
A long-running standoff between the West and Iran over Tehran''s nuclear programme has sparked speculation of possible military confrontation and has contributed to sending world oil prices to record highs.
"The oil industry is a peace industry. It cannot grow in tension and instability," Khatibi said. "In order to establish stability in the market, tension in key oil production spots should be reduced."
The Islamic Republic insists its nuclear programme is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.
But the West and Israel fear Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs. Israel is believed to be the only Middle East state with nuclear arms.
Speculation about a possible attack on Iran because of its disputed nuclear ambitions has risen since a report last month said Israel had practised such a strike, prompting increasingly tough talk of retaliation, if pushed, from Tehran.
Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Saturday any military attack aimed at curbing Tehran''s nuclear work would push crude prices to "unpredictable" highs.
Iran''s elite Revolutionary Guards has warned Tehran would impose controls on shipping in the vital Gulf oil route if Iran was attacked.