Speaking at the 2012 Boao Forum in China, Zhang Guobao said recent US and European Union sanctions against importing crude from Iran don\'t include \"halting normal trade\". A US appeal earlier this year for countries to reduce crude imports from Iran has pushed up global crude prices, which has been harmful to the global economy, Zhang added. Higher oil prices combined with slower economic growth will also hurt oil demand, he said. Still, global oil prices probably won\'t rise much, he added. Zhang said the release of strategic oil reserves by countries such as the US wouldn\'t help keep crude prices in check because \"releasing inventory only can affect prices for a short time.\" Separately, Fu Chengyu, chairman of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec Corp., said oil sanctions against Iran will push prices higher, which is bad for the global economic recovery. Fu added that US President Barack Obama has asked the world to release their strategic oil stockpiles, which has clearly showed the impact and pressures caused by the sanctions. The Obama administration said last week that it would initiate tougher sanctions against Iran, alleging that a cutoff of Iranian oil wouldn\'t significantly harm world markets. The move follows tighter sanctions it signed into law earlier this year targeting financial institutions doing business with Iran\'s central bank. Tehran says sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians\' national resolve and determination.