BAGHDAD, IRAQ, OCT. 18 -- Iraq, its oil exports frozen by a United Nations trade embargo, tried to woo customers today by offering oil at bargain prices, but traders greeted Baghdad's offer with skepticism.

Oil Minister Issam Abdul-Rahim Chalabi, in a statement carried by the official news agency INA, said Iraq would sell its oil to any buyer at $21 a barrel and pledged not to touch the money until the Persian Gulf crisis is over.

"Iraq is fully prepared to sell its oil to states and companies who want to buy, including the United States . . . and the selling price will be on the basis of $21 in line with OPEC's decision," he added.

Meeting in Vienna today, French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, said sanctions imposed against Iraq following its Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait should be given more time to take effect and that a peaceful solution to the gulf crisis could still be found.

"We affirm that the embargo remains the only possible way and that it is necessary to wait for some time more to gauge its effects," Dumas told reporters.

Oil traders said Iraq's offer was doomed because of the tight blockade imposed by Western navies.

"There is no way anybody can get a single drop of oil from Iraq," a gulf-based oil trader said. "The {Western} warships will give them no chance." The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries set the $21-a-barrel price at its last meeting before the Iraqi invasion. Since then, oil prices have soared, with crude in New York trading at almost $37 a barrel today.

Iraq is losing about $80 million a day at current market prices.

"They offered crude for free before," a gulf-based oil industry executive said. "Now they are asking for money. Something must have been changed by the embargo." Iraq previously offered free oil to Third World nations, but no country has braved the warships in the area.