Continued from page 1

“It seems we will witness prices from $120 to $150 in the future,” Ahmad Qalehbani was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency. He did not give a time frame for the prediction or any other details.

The price of benchmark U.S. crude on Friday was around $99.56 per barrel. About 80 percent of Iran‘s foreign revenue comes from exporting around 2.2 million barrels of oil per day.

Oil prices have been driven higher in recent weeks by Iran‘s warnings that it could block the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, the route for about one-fifth of the world’s oil. Last week, the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, joined by French and British warships, entered the Gulf in a show of strength against any attempts to disrupt oil tanker traffic.

Associated Press writer George Jahn in Vienna contributed to this report.