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OPEC’s Head In Tehran: Organization Tries To Depoliticize Oil

OPEC is trying not to mix politics with oil policy, the cartel’s Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said on Thursday in Iran, after the Islamic Republic has stepped up rhetoric against the U.S. sanctions in recent days.

“OPEC tries to depoliticize oil,” Iran’s oil ministry quoted Barkindo as saying on the sidelines of an event in Tehran.

The U.S. is ending sanction waivers for all Iranian oil buyers and both the U.S. Department of State and President Donald Trump have expressed confidence that the U.S. allies within OPEC—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—will step in to fill the gap that the U.S. sanctions on Iran would leave in the global oil market.

While the Saudis and the UAE have said that they would meet market requirements, none of them has announced yet any imminent production increase to offset Iranian losses.

Iran, however, is accusing the U.S. and its allies of using oil as a political tool and has repeatedly said that American sanctions can’t and won’t bring Iranian oil exports to zero.

According to the news service of Iran’s oil ministry, Shana, OPEC’s Barkindo told reporters today that “Eliminating Iran from the oil market is impossible.”

“Over the 60 years since establishment of OPEC, we have faced many challenges, but what has always helped us is the unity ... If we can preserve this unity, we can overcome the problems again,” Barkindo was quoted as saying.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said “Using oil as a weapon against two founding member of OPEC (Iran and Venezuela) will transform the unity in this organization into division and spell the demise and collapse of OPEC. They have to accept responsibility for such thing.”

Days before that, Amirhossein Zamaninia, Iranian deputy oil minister for international affairs and trading, said:

“The idea that some countries can offset shortages caused by removing Iran’s crude oil from the market is both politically and technically unfitting.”

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“These sanctions are the indication of US’s schoolyard bullying reaction to the changes in global balance of power,” according to Zamaninia.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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