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Iran seeks OPEC condemnation of US sanctions in exchange for lifting quotas: source

Vienna — Iran may agree to an increase in OPEC quotas if the organizationofficially condemns US sanctions that target oil production, a sourcefamiliar with the country's position said Thursday.

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Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih had said earlier Thursday that OPECwould not be discussing sanctions Friday, when it meets to decide on thefuture of its 1.8 million b/d production cut agreement with 10 non-OPECallies led by Russia.

Falih declined to comment when asked about Iran's request for a publicOPEC condemnation of the sanctions.

Joe McMonigle, an analyst with Hedgeye who is in Vienna to observe theOPEC proceedings, said he doubts the producer group would approve anylanguage on sanctions. The US is a key Saudi ally.

"I would think the Saudis would be strongly opposed to it," McMoniglesaid. "Iran's request to add a sanctions discussion to the agenda hadalready been rejected."

Saudi Arabia and Russia are pushing the coalition to ease quotas to fillany supply gap left by Venezuela's continued decline and the potentialimpact of US sanctions on Iran, which snap back on November 5 and couldshut in as much as 1 million b/d.

Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh on Tuesday said these sanctions,along with those imposed on Venezuela, were to blame for recently risingoil prices, and urged OPEC not to cave in to US President Donald Trump'slobbying for more supplies to cool the market.

"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."

Venezuela likewise has railed against US sanctions that have hamperedstate oil company PDVSA's ability to finance its operations.

Oil minister Manuel Quevedo said Thursday the sanctions were "practicallyimmobilizing PDVSA," and he, too, asked OPEC to condemn the measures.

"It affects not just the Venezuelan oil sector but the consumersworldwide," he said. "It's an attack on the oil market. Oil is aninstrument for development, not an instrument for a political attack." --Staff, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Alisdair Bowles, newsdesk@spglobal.com