Iran is refusing to cut its oil production at the latest OPEC meeting, saying it is a « red line » for the Islamic Republic.
« It’s a red line for Iran to reduce its production, to contribute to a new cut in production. Iran hasn’t produced any more oil in the previous months and it’s not Iran’s responsibility to manage the situation, » Bijan Zanganeh, Iran’s oil minister, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble Thursday.
« It’s the responsibility of the countries that have produced more and more and have collapsed the market with more oil and extra oil and Iran has no responsibility for this situation, » he added.
He repeated, « It’s a red line for Iran not to cut one barrel … Iran should be excluded from any decision. »
Saudi Arabia and Russia increased output in the summer in a bid to prevent prices rising too high ahead of a re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran, which came into effect in November.
Zanganeh’s comments come as OPEC producers meet in Vienna, Austria, to decide their strategy on oil production amid a renewed slump in oil prices. Non-OPEC producers including Russia will join them on Friday for talks on whether to cut oil output or maintain levels amid the lower price period.
Oil prices fell around 4 percent Thursday morning after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said that a cut of 1 million barrels per day would be enough for OPEC and its allied oil producers. Markets were expecting a deeper cut but Russia has signaled it’s not keen on reducing output.
Iran has repeatedly opposed Saudi Arabia’s strategy on cutting production given the pressures its oil industry has been facing in recent years, and with the latest sanctions.