Iran oil minister says oil price drop a political plot

DUBAI: Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said the continuing slide in the price of oil is a political plot, the ministry’s news agency Shana reported late on Wednesday.

“The prolongation of the downward trend of the oil price in world markets is a political conspiracy going to extremes,” Shana cited Zangeneh as saying.

He said that the fall in the price, which dipped this week to its lowest since May 2009 at $58.50 a barrel, down almost 50 percent since June, initially stemmed from oversupply in markets.

Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused unnamed countries of plotting to bring down crude prices and said the recent price slump was not based solely on economic factors. Oil prices were trading then below $66 a barrel.

On Thursday, Brent crude edged above $61 a barrel, after sharply lower prices forced companies to cut upstream investments around the world.

While some countries such as Iran and Venezuela have urged an output cut to support prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided against reducing production at a meeting last month. The decision sent prices plunging further.

“In that meeting, I noted that Iran, whose oil exports have declined in recent years due to sanctions, will by no means agree to scale back on its share in the oil market,” Zangeneh said.

“We have to make efforts to overcome the sanctions by resistance and force,” the minister said.

Iran exports around 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil. It has said it would will double its oil exports within two months if sanctions against it were lifted.

By The Daily Star


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