Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh said the country has no plans to leave the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
In an interview with ICANA, Zangeneh said that “Iran has no plans to leave the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC),” expressing regret that some OPEC members had turned the organization into a political hub against two founding members of OPEC, namely, Iran and Venezuela.
He also said that two regional countries had shown hostilities toward Iran, adding, “We are not their enemy, but they are hostile to us and make OPEC a political organization and use oil as a weapon in the world and global markets against us.”
“Oil is not a weapon and it should not be politicized; we have always said that the oil market should be apolitical and oil should not be used as a weapon, because it would hurt OPEC and its members, and I believe that these countries are driving OPEC towards collapse, but we want OPEC to be preserved; these two countries will undermine this organization by instigating infighting in the bloc.”
Asked whether a country like Saudi Arabia would pull out of OPEC, he said Saudi Arabia would not go out either.
“We remain in OPEC, but the issues I mentioned above hurt the dignity, integrity, steadfastness and stability of OPEC and the blame falls on the countries that do this.”
Asked whether Saudi Arabia and the UAE were able to offset the shortage caused by eliminating Iran's oil in the market, Zangeneh said that “No one can compensate for this vacuum.”
“The market is fragile and unstable, and these countries are doing everything they can to prevent oil prices from rising by propaganda and downplaying the events, for the benefit of the United States and the Zionist regime,” he said.
“All these are to the detriment of the people, OPEC members and oil producers, and even the consumers, because they would create instability in an already fragile market. The price fluctuations that drop in $5-6 a barrel within 24 hours are beneficial to no one; do not think that this would be in the interests of the consumers, because in this situation no one knows what they should do, and a producing country would not know whether to keep its supplies or sell them; so price fluctuations would not benefit anyone in the market.”
Asked about steps that should be taken to ensure stability in the market, Zangeneh said, “oil should no longer be treated as a political tool… Oil is not a weapon; rather it is a commodity needed in the global economy.”
The Iranian Minister of Petroleum also confirmed he would attend the upcoming OPEC meeting in Vienna later in June.