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Iran has warned its Persian Gulf neighbors not to raise their oil exports if the West imposes an embargo on Iranian oil supplies.

In an interview published today in Qatar's "Sharq" newspaper, Iran's OPEC representative, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, said Tehran would not see such actions as "friendly" and that those countries "will be held responsible for what happens."

European Union nations have tentatively agreed to embargo imports of Iranian oil as part of Western efforts to pressure Tehran over what the West says is its program to develop nuclear weapons.

Saudi Arabia, the region's biggest oil producer, has already said it is ready to meet an increase in consumer demand.

Meanwhile, China has criticized the United States for imposing sanctions on a state-run oil firm for exporting petroleum products to Iran.

The United States on January 12 imposed sanctions on China's Zhuhai Zhenrong, barring it from doing business in the United States, saying it brokered delivery of more than $500 million worth of gasoline to Iran from July 2010-January 2011.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency that China expresses “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this."

Chinese officials have warned against making links between China’s trade relations with Iran and the issue of Tehran's nuclear program.

compiled from agency reports

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