Iran wants sanctions considerations at OPEC

The country's oil minister calls OPEC to put relief efforts on the agenda for the group's next meeting.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  May 31, 2018 at 9:29 AM
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May 31 (UPI) -- OPEC members at their next regular meeting in June should prioritize measures aimed at protecting members targeted by sanctions, Iran's oil minister said.

The Iranian government is busy courting European, Russian and Chinese leaders for continued support of the U.N.-backed agreement that offered sanctions relief in exchange for nuclear commitments from Tehran.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the agreement May 8, meaning U.S. sanctions pressures could force the deal to collapse without effective counter measures.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh called on his Emirati counterpart to put a sanctions measure on the agenda for the next regular meeting for members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in June.

The minister pointed to Article 2 of the OPEC statute that states that regard should be given "at all times" to the interests of oil producing nations in terms of steady income and a regular supply of oil for consuming nations.

"Tehran, once the illegal limitations were resolved, reserves the right to return to its oil market share in the shortest possible time and resume its normal production-level and that it would not accept any limitations in that regard," Zangeneh argued, according to a reading of the letter by his ministry's news website, SHANA.

The United Arab Emirates holds the rotating presidency of OPEC.

Iran had relief from an OPEC arrangement to balance an oversupplied market with production cuts so it could regain a market share lost to sanctions in place before the U.N.-backed nuclear agreement. After Trump left the deal, the price of oil reached a four-year high because of the potential for lost Iranian barrels. Since then, parties to the OPEC-led effort have signaled they could put more oil on the market in the second half of the year.

Zangeneh said oil clients in India and China have yet to express reservations, though Iranian ambitions to reach 4.2 million barrels in daily production could be out of reach.

During a May meeting in Tehran, European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said both sides would strengthen ties "at all levels."

Torbjorn Soltvedt, the principal regional political analyst for Verisk Maplecroft, said China, one of Iran's largest oil consumers, may be "well beyond the reach of Washington."

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