OPEC will welcome the return of Iran to the international oil market once the U.S. lifts sanctions from Tehran, the secretary general of the cartel said.
"We believe that Iran is a responsible player amongst its family members, the countries in the OPEC group. I’m sure there will be good work together, in synchronization, to ensure that the market will remain balanced as OPEC has continued to do over the past many years," Haitham Al Ghais said during a visit to Tehran, as quoted by local media.
The Trump administration reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran in a bid to put an end to its nuclear program back in 2016. The sanctions have specifically targeted, among other things, Iran’s oil and gas industry.
As a result of the U.S. punitive action, Iranian exports of oil and gas have become troubled although they never stopped completely as some U.S. legislators hoped they would because of the sanctions.
Since the sanctions were reimposed, Iran’s biggest oil buyer has been China, as well as some ally countries in the Middle East such as Syria.
In the past couple of years, there have been tentative attempts to get the United States and Iran to resolve their differences and have the sanctions lifted but talks have broken down repeatedly signaling some potentially unresolvable differences.
The strongest impetus for a resolution presented itself last year as oil and gas prices soared in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but even that wasn’t enough to get the U.S. and Iran to agree on a scenario that would see the sanctions lifted.
Meanwhile, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been working to restore their diplomatic relations with the help of mediation from China. The two earlier this year agreed to reopen their respective embassies and forge closer economic ties.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com