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'Oil is not a political tool to be used against some countries,' Iran's oil minister Zanganeh says

Vienna — 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/doutput rise "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.

"I don't agree with any increase," Zanganeh said.

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.

Zanganeh blamed US President Donald Trump for causing the recent rise inoil prices by withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal and imposingsanctions on 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 asksOPEC and expects OPEC to change something for the better price in themarket," Zanganeh said. "It is not fair. OPEC is not part of theDepartment of Energy of the 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.


--Edited by Derek Sands,