VIENNA, March 16 (UPI) -- As nuclear negotiations enter the home stretch, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Iran's oil production is close to a historic high.
Iranian oil production of 2.78 million barrels per day in February was higher than January's by a fraction of a percent and close to the recent record established in December, OPEC said in its monthly market report for March. Iranian oil production for full-year 2013, the year in which the current round of multilateral negotiations began, was 2.6 million bpd.
OPEC in a readout of the Iranian economy said gross domestic product during third quarter 2014 grew by 4.6 percent, accelerating from the 2.2 percent decline in the first quarter and the 3.8 percent recovery for the second quarter.
Since March 2014, the start of the Iranian calendar year, the Iranian economy added nearly 400,000 new jobs, OPEC said in its report.
Iran under the terms of a November 2013 agreement is allowed some oil exports in exchange for commitments to curb some of its nuclear research activity.
U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen testified before members of the Senate Banking Committee on the effectiveness of existing sanctions in January, saying Iran is exporting less than half of the oil it was in 2012 and only to six countries.
The budget for the current Iranian year, which ends later this week, relies on oil for 39.3 percent of government revenues. Drafts for next year call for a 6 percent decline in oil dependency.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said Monday he was confident the oil and natural gas sector would experience a period of prosperity in the coming calendar year.