Iran again rejects joining oil freeze plan
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh says the country is still determined to increase its oil production to as high as four million barrels per day (bpd), stressing that Tehran will only negotiate over joining the oil freeze plan when that target has been achieved, Press TV reported.
The oil freeze plan that has been raised by key OPEC and non-OPEC producers requires the global production of oil to remain at January levels.
The plan is meant to boost the prices that have fallen 65 percent since peaking in June 2014 due to oversupply.
Iran had so far rejected the call to freeze its output as unfair and emphasized that it will go ahead with its plans to increase its oil production.
"We will resort to any move to regain Iran's lost share in the oil market and increase the country's production to four million bpd," Zangeneh has been quoted by the media as saying.
He further described joining the oil freeze plan as a voluntary act of self-sanctioning.
Zangeneh elsewhere said Saudi Arabia is largely to blame for the freefall of oil prices from highs of above $100 per barrel to around $40 per barrel today.
He said oil fell as a result of the persistence of the Saudis to keep their oil production at 10 million bpd as well as by underrating the prices that Iran quotes its clients.
Iran's oil minister emphasized that Saudi Arabia is suffering major losses by persisting on keeping its oil production at the current level - a strategy which he had previously said Riyadh is pursuing to bring down oil prices and accordingly harm Iran.
Nevertheless, the Iranian minister emphasized that the country can do with oil prices even at the current level of around $40 per barrel.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zangeneh said that the prospects for Iran's oil industry are promising, adding that many European and Asian companies have already shown a strong interest to take up projects in Iran.
He added that he expects the growing interest of the Europeans and Asians in Iran's oil industry could eventually make the US to move toward the facilitation of the participation of American companies in Iran's oil industry.