Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The Iranian government said in a letter to OPEC that it was against protocol for other member states to take over export or production quotas of another.
Iran has faced mounting U.S. sanctions and political pressure since President Donald Trump in May pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a U.N.-backed nuclear agreement that lets Iranian oil flow in exchange for peaceful nuclear commitments. Some U.S. sanctions were renewed earlier this month as a result of that decision. By November, the Trump administration said it wanted to see Iran isolated from the oil market.
Iran is a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and one of its largest oil producers. Collectively, member states, with support from Russia, are adhering to voluntary production restraints to keep the market at an even keel. An oversupply situation helped push the price of oil below $30 per barrel in early 2016.
Compliance with the deal, meanwhile, has been over 100 percent because some member states like Libya and Venezuela were well below their target because of national security and political issues. According to commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts, Saudi Arabia in July was producing close to an all-time high, balancing the declines from other OPEC members.
Speaking Sunday, Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran's envoy to international organizations that are based in Vienna, told OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo that other producers shouldn't take on the market share of others.
"No country can overtake the production and export quotas of other member states under any circumstances," he was quoted by the Iranian Oil Ministry's news website SHANA as saying. "Iran believes that OPEC should support its members firmly under the current conditions and prevent other countries that are seeking to politicize the organization."
Iran has been working to protect its oil interests since Trump left the JCPOA unilaterally. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh in late May pressed for close consideration of 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.
European parties to the agreement have been working on measures that could protect their countries working in the Iranian energy sector. Currency swaps and a China undeterred by U.S. sanctions could offer additional buffers.
Zanganeh is scheduled to attend a Sept. 23 meeting in Algeria of a committee monitoring compliance with the OPEC production arrangement as an observer. The meeting takes place about six weeks before U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil sector enter into force.