Caracas (Venezuela), May 12: Oil prices will jump if the United States government moves against Iran, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said today.
''If the United States attacks Iran openly, militarily, the price (of oil) will shoot up much more,'' Chavez told reporters in Vienna, comments that were broadcast over Venezuela's state television station.
He said threats against Iran had ''made consumers nervous,'' which has pushed up the price of oil.
US light crude dropped 1.32 dollars to 72.00 dollars a barrel today on signs that high oil prices were hurting the economy.
The United States has threatened to sanction Iran if it does not suspend its nuclear enrichment program.
Chavez, a harsh critic of US President George W. Bush, was speaking at the sidelines of a summit of Latin American and European leaders in Austria.
OPEC member Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, has consistently supported higher oil prices. Chavez has also led an aggressive campaign to increase government revenues from oil operations by private companies in Venezuela.
The nation will host the upcoming OPEC meeting on June 1.