Iran not to freeze oil output (UPDATE)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 2

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said that Tehran will not join the oil output freeze plan.

The announcement comes as Saudi Arabia has said it would freeze its oil output only if Iran and other major producers follow the suit.

Zanganeh said he may participate in the talks with fellow OPEC members and Russia in Qatar April 17 without joining their proposal to freeze crude oil production, Mehr news agency reported Apr. 2.

The minister was quoted as saying that he will participate in the Doha meeting if he "has time."

The upcoming meeting of oil producers in Doha follows a gathering in February between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela, during which the countries agreed to freeze their oil production at the January level.

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince, said April 1 that "if all countries agree to freeze production, we are ready", in reference to other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Meanwhile, Zanganeh said Iran will continue to increase its oil output and export to the pre-sanctions level.

He also referred to the oil freeze plan as a positive step, but not enough one.

The price stability can return to the oil market by managing supply and production, added the Iranian oil minister.

Zanganeh earlier said Iran is ready to join other oil producers on the output freeze issue after its own production reaches the level of 4 million barrels per day.

Iranian officials claim that the oil freeze agreement is a measure against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian government's spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said earlier that "the move means that they don't want to recognize Iran's right to revive its pre-sanctions output".

The OPEC members should open space for the Islamic Republic's output, he added.

The National Iranian Oil Company's CEO Roknoddin Javadi said in March that Iran's oil export has reached 1.8 million barrels per day.

The country's daily output should reach 4 million barrels the next Iranian year (to start March 20), he said, stressing that Iran will continue to increase the export.

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