Iran to confront any move to affect crude market prices: official

11:03, June 23, 2011      

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Iran's caretaker oil minister warned Wednesday that Tehran would "strongly confront" any possible move by the oil producing countries to affect the market prices, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Mohammad Aliabadi made the remarks referring to Saudi Arabia's moves of surplus production which failed to receive agreement from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members in the last ministerial meeting of the cartel in Vienna, said the report.

"Iran will stop any move designed to play with oil prices through production hike," Aliabadi was quoted as saying.

The maintenance of the current production level by the OPEC members is the bloc's only weapon to control the prices, he said, adding that "We do not allow anyone to play with our national interests."

Saudi Arabia sought in vain to convince the member states for a boost in production during the OPEC's ministerial meeting in Vienna on June 8. It and its allies threatened to unilaterally increase their quota.

Following the ministerial meeting, Aliabadi told Fars that Iran managed to thwart the efforts made by Saudi Arabia to increase the OPEC oil output during the meeting.

Iran currently holds the one-year rotating presidency of the OPEC, which provides some 40 percent of the world's crude oil.

Source: Xinhua
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