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Iran Asks OPEC For Support Against U.S. Sanctions

Iran is seeking support from fellow OPEC members against the returning U.S. sanctions and wants the issue on the agenda at the Vienna meeting in June, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh wrote in a letter to Suhail Al Mazrouei, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who holds the OPEC presidency this year and will be chairing the meeting.

Iran’s oil minister is also suggesting in the letter that his country does not agree with “recent remarks by certain OPEC members, noting that the Organization adopted decisions by consensus and no single member spoke for the body.”

This comment could be setting the stage for a difficult OPEC meeting next month, all the more so that it was Iran’s archrival Saudi Arabia that hinted that the cartel and allies may discuss easing the production cuts in June.

In the letter, Iran’s Zangeneh “underlined imposition of unlawful, unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions by the US government on the Islamic Republic of Iran which clearly violate the international agreement that had been endorsed by the UN Security Council,” the Iranian oil ministry’s news service Shana reported.

“By referring to Article 2 of the Statute of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which emphasizes safeguarding the interests of Member Countries individually and collectively, Mr. Zangeneh asked Al Mazrouei to instruct the Secretariat to include a separate agenda item under the title “OPEC Ministerial Conference support to the Member Countries that are under illegal, unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions,” Zangeneh writes in his letter. Related: The World’s Emerging Oil Storage Hub

“The Iranian Minister of Petroleum further stressed that should the sanctions lead to any reduction in the oil market share of the I.R. Iran, Tehran, once the illegal limitations were resolved, reserves the right to return to its oil market share in the shortest possible time and resume its normal production-level and that it would not accept any limitations in that regard,” Shana reports.

According to a separate letter seen by Reuters, UAE’s Mazrouei replied that there were two options to approach Iran’s request. The first would be having the OPEC governors review the Iranian appeal and include it on the agenda for the OPEC meeting in November. The alternative would be to include Iran’s request in the June meeting under “any other business” as a “Request from the Islamic Republic of Iran”, Mazrouei replied, which suggests that Iran’s plea will not be on the ministers’ main agenda.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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