The European Union "definitely" will not impose sanctions on Iran's oil exports because it cannot tolerate its repercussions including the consequent hike in global crude prices.
EU leaders called on Friday for more sanctions against Iran by the end of January, in an effort to increase pressure on Tehran over its disputed nuclear program, after they failed to reach a consensus over such an oil ban two weeks ago.
"Our policy is sustainable supply of oil to Europe ... Iran is a major oil producer and any sanctions on our oil export would harm the global market," Qassemi told a news conference.
"We (would) have no problem to find a replacement for the EU oil market," Qassemi said.
Analysts in the West warned that EU sanctions on Iran's oil exports will hurt European refiners which rely on crude from the Islamic Republic to help power ailing economies such as Greece, Italy and Spain.
The European Union has warned to beef up sanctions over Iran's nuclear program by threatening to hit its oil and finance sectors.
But, analysts said they believe unilateral boycotts and embargoes against Iran will no doubt harm foreign companies and leave Iranian oil industry and economy unaffected.
Iran, the second-biggest OPEC player after kingpin Saudi Arabia, produces about 2.3 million barrels of oil per day - 450,000 barrels of which is exported to the European Union, according to the US Department of Energy.
Manouchehr Takin, an analyst at the Center for Global Energy Studies ( CGES) research group, said a removal of Iranian oil exports would hurt Europe more than Tehran.
"The Europeans are importing nearly half a million barrels per day ... Refineries in Greece, Italy and Spain are the main customers. They would suffer very much immediately financial loss (in event of sanctions) because they cannot easily replace that Iranian crude with other crude," he told AFP.
"Financially, I think these refineries in Europe - specially those three countries that are having financial problems - would lose and suffer more than Iran would lose in finding other customers," Takin added.
Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg agreed that sanctions would most affect the three eurozone nations which are in the grip of severe debt problems.
Weinberg wrote in a research note "it remains to be seen whether this step (EU sanctions on Iranian oil supplies) is actually taken" as it would strike a heavy blow to the EU members.
"After all, crisis-ridden Italy, Spain and Greece rely on oil from Iran; an embargo would force them to source their oil requirements elsewhere at considerably higher prices."
On Wednesday, the head of OPEC said he hoped that the EU would not press for sanctions on Iran's precious oil exports.
"I really hope there will not be an EU embargo on Iranian oil," Secretary General Abdullah El-Badri told the World Petroleum Congress in Doha.
"It will be very, very difficult to replace" the Iranian exports.
"Europe now is facing some difficulties... so to cut these 865,000 barrels a day immediately, I think it will be a problem," he said, referring to the size of Iran's oil exports to all of Europe, not just EU members.
Takin added that, in the event of EU sanctions, Tehran could find customers elsewhere for its oil.
A last Thursday meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels failed to reach an agreement on such oil embargos against Iran.
Despite long hues and cries about new sanctions against Iran, the EU and the US could only enlist some more Iranian officials in their sanctions list last Thursday.
Several members of the European bloc voiced opposition to any sanction on Iranian oil, pushing France, the most hawkish EU member, back.
Crisis-hit Greece has said 'No' to an EU oil ban on Iran, causing relief among other member states. Britain and France, the most hawkish EU countries, failed to convince other member states to impose oil embargos on Iran.