Iran aims for better oil days

Aug. 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM

TEHRAN, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said he was shouldering the heavy responsibility of boosting oil production as he gets to work on his inaugural term.

Zanganeh, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's pick to head the Oil Ministry of Iran, returns to a position he held from 1997 to 2005. He told the Oil Ministry's website Shana he met Sunday with industry leaders to stress the importance of enhancing oil exports.

The Iranian currency, the rial, collapsed last year under sanctions pressure. Western sanctions are designed to rob Iran of oil revenue it could use to finance a controversial nuclear program, which Iran says is for peaceful purposes.

Zanganeh said he would work to bring Iran's oil sector back to levels witnessed during his previous term in office.

"I'm shouldering a responsibility and I hope that I will be able to work in a way to satisfy all those who trusted me," he said.

Iran was once the No. 2 oil producer among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It's fallen to the No. 6 spot based on its 2.56 million barrels produced in July.

A five-year development plan adopted in 2010 calls for an increase in oil production to 5 million bpd by 2015.

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