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Iran will not accept any OPEC decision to increase production: oil minister

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Iran will not accept any OPEC decision to increase production: oil minister

London — Iran will not accept any proposals for OPEC to raise its quotas, thecountry's oil minister said Tuesday, adding that even a 500,000 b/dincrease "is not necessary."

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"Decisions in OPEC need unanimity," Bijan Zanganeh said on arrival inVienna ahead of OPEC talks this week. "I don't think at this meeting wecan reach an agreement."

He said the oil market was in balance for this year, and that current oilprices were acceptable.

OPEC was overcomplying with its cut commitments by about 1 million b/d,he added, so the organization does not need to institute a formalincrease in quotas to bring that amount of oil back onto the market.

"I don't agree with any increase," Zanganeh said. "We have no difficultywith this level of price."

OPEC will decide on the future of its output cut agreement Friday, withSaudi Arabia and non-OPEC partner Russia pushing for the producer bloc toroll back its quotas by as much as 1.5 million b/d to make up for anysupply gap caused by Venezuela's continued decline and the potentialimpact of US sanctions on Iran.

The agreement calls on OPEC and 10 non-OPEC allies to cut 1.8 million b/dthrough the end of the year.

Iran, Venezuela and Iraq have said they are vehemently opposed to anydecision to raise production limits.

Iranian government spokesman Mohammad-Bagher Nobakht said earlierWednesday that Iran's priority at the meeting would be to preserve itscurrent quota of 3.797 million b/d, as it seeks to prepare itself againsttough US economic sanctions.

"When it comes to oil, each country considers its own national interest,"the spokesman said, as quoted in the oil ministry news service Shana,"our efforts are to preserve our quota in OPEC despite the enemy's plot,"he added, referring to the US' withdrawal from the nuclear deal byPresident Donald Trump.

Iran has been hit by renewed US sanctions that are due to come into forcein November, which could potentially reduce output by up to 1 million b/dif tightly enforced.

Iran produced 3.83 million b/d in May, according to the latest S&P GlobalPlatts OPEC survey.

OPEC as a whole produced 31.90 million b/d in May, according to thesurvey, 840,000 b/d below its ceiling under the deal, when every member'squota is added up.


Zanganeh said he was not concerned if non-OPEC partners, particularlyRussia, would walk away from the deal.

"We don't deal with non-OPEC," he said. "They can do whatever they want."

Zanganeh blamed Trump for causing the recent rise in oil prices throughsanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

Trump has tweeted at OPEC to moderate oil prices, and US officials havereached out to Saudi Arabia to loosen its taps.

"President Trump has created a difficulty for the oil market by imposingsanctions against two important founder members of OPEC, and now expectsOPEC to change something for the better price in the market," Zanganehsaid. "It is not fair. OPEC is not part of the Department of Energy ofthe United States."

He added that oil "is not a political tool to be used against somecountries," and that OPEC should remain apolitical in its pursuit ofstable oil markets.

--Staff, by Valarie Jackson,