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Relations between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran have been stressful ever since the latter’s 1979 revolution.
The tension extends into the pair’s working relationship within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, with Iran frequently arguing for production quota increases to increase its earning from oil exports, while Saudi Arabia often intervenes, raising or lowering its own production in an attempt to stabilize prices for the cartel.
Now the contradictory policies have once more emerged into the open, with Iranian OPEC representative Mohammad Ali Khatibi complaining that Saudi Arabia's unilateral decision to boost its oil production will lead to a price war on the oil market, the Fars News Agency reported. In unusually blunt criticism of Riyadh’s policies Khatibi said, "Moves undertaken by Saudi Arabia now demonstrate that there is no demand for (additional) oil. They are after securing other producers' (market) shares. It seems that Saudi Arabia's actions in the oil market have the smell of competition."
At OPEC’s last meeting in Vienna on 8 June, Iran opposed Saudi Arabia's efforts to secure agreement with fellow OPEC members to increase oil production.
Besides Iran, Venezuela and Algeria also opposed the Saudi initiative, after which Riyadh announced that it would increase its production and sell as much oil as requested.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com