News ID: 137241
Published: 0657 GMT February 23, 2016

Iran rejects oil freeze call as ‘joke’

Iran rejects oil freeze call as ‘joke’

Iran on Tuesday vehemently rejected any possibility that it will stop increasing its oil production with the country’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh mocking any request on Tehran to that effect as “a joke”, Press TV reported.

“Some countries that are producing above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) have called on Iran to freeze its production at one million bpd,” Zanganeh said in what appears to be a reference to Saudi Arabia, Press TV reported.  

“This is more like a joke that they tell us they would freeze their production above 10 million bpd and that we should also in turn freeze our production at one million bpd,” he said in a speech to an expert energy panel in Tehran. 

The Iranian minister made the comment in reaction to a plan that has reportedly been raised by the Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi. 

Last week, Iran said a quadripartite meeting that it hosted on Wednesday with the visiting oil ministers of Venezuela, Iraq and Qatar over measures to boost oil prices had ended with an agreement for OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers to keep their current output ceiling to help stabilize the market and boost the prices.

“It was decided that OPEC and non-OPEC producers keep their current ceiling to help stabilize the market and improve the prices to the benefit of both the consumers and the producers,” Zanganeh told reporters after the meeting.

“This issue is supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he has been quoted by the media as saying on Thursday.  

The Iranian oil minister said this is the first step and the next steps to improve the current market conditions need to be taken likewise. 

“An agreement for all to cooperate in boosting the prices is something Iran is happy to see happening,” Zanganeh said.  “Iran supports any measure to stabilize the market and improve the prices.”

The Iranian minister also said that he had discussed Iran’s status and the prospects for its return to the market now that the sanctions have been lifted in the meeting. 

“They had a logical attitude toward this issue,” Zanganeh said without providing further explanations.

Oil ministers from Venezuela, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Russia had earlier met in Doha to discuss ways to stabilize the market. They had announced at the end of the meeting that they had agreed to freeze output in a bid to shore up prices after a 70 percent drop due to chronic oversupply.

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