Oil minister: Iran, Iraq main rivals for OPEC presidency

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and Iraq are in tight rivalry over the post of the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after speculations about Saudi Arabia’s retreat, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi announced on Saturday.

“Saudi Arabia’s firm decision to retreat its candidacy for the post of OPEC Secretary-General has not yet been announced, but it seems that Iran and Iraq are stronger candidates for the post than Saudi Arabia,” Qassemi said in a press conference in Tehran today.

“I have heard some news that Saudi Arabia wants to retreat his nominee from the upcoming Secretary-General election in a bid to introduce him as its candidate for the post of the head of OPEC Research Institute,” he added.

Qassemi underlined Iran’s resolve to introduce a candidate, possibly Former Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari, for the OPEC Secretary-General post, and said the country is having strenuous consultations with other members of the oil cartel in a bid to increase Nozari’s chance.

Iran and Iraq have both nominated former oil ministers, Gholam Hossein Nozari and Thamer Ghadban for the post. Saudi Arabia’s candidate is reportedly Majid Moneef, the country’s former representative on OPEC’s governing board.

Iran has always been a price hawk, seeking to keep prices as high as the market will entertain, while the Saudis and the other Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf have generally sought to lower prices to support the western powers that are their main customers.

The recovery of Iraq’s badly rundown oil industry since Saddam’s downfall has thrust it back into the major producers’ league and it needs high prices to generate the funds for its post-Saddam reconstruction.

So it has moved from its alignment with Saudi Arabia to stand alongside Iran within OPEC, adding significant weight to the price hawks.

By Fars News


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