Min. regrets certain OPEC members' alignment with US policies

Tehran, Dec 6, IRNA – Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh regretted alignment of certain OPEC members with the US policies.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Zangeneh said, 'We were also threatened by certain US officials in the past; but that's the first time that the US president orders OPEC how to work. That's a new precedence and I think OPEC will not agree to such a behavior.'

Also asked whether other countries are like Iran unhappy with orders to OPEC by countries outside the Organization, Zangeneh said, 'Yes. As pointed well, they dictate their policies and order OPEC how to act. However, they should know that OPEC is not part of their energy department. OPEC is an independent organization and strives for maximizing benefits of its members. I think, majority of the members feel so. However, unfortunately, certain OPEC members are in alignment with the US policies.'

Asked whether Iranian government will be capable of adjusting next year budget given the ongoing sanctions, he said the bill of budget for the next Iranian calendar year pegs oil price at around 50 dollars a barrel.

Also to a question whether Iran was satisfied with Europe progress in establishing a channel for financial exchanges, he said, 'I will be satisfied when the channel is put into force. Our people and European experts are busy in talks (on the time of the execution). I believe that final agreement will be achieved when the goal is operational.'

'We are negotiating with European countries on a way to receive revenues gained out of oil exports, medicine purchase and other required goods. That's something pending on finalization of rules in the EU which has not yet been finalized. All lies in hands of the European party and we are receiving positive signals from them.'

On Qatar's exit from OPEC, he said, 'I am unhappy with Qatar's OPEC leaving because historically, Qatar is closest OPEC member and is one of the closest friends of Iran. I told Qatari energy minister you leave OPEC but do not leave the region.'

He said Iran has not held any negotiation with Qatar on joint development of fields but they should get converged on transfer of data and management of fields with more comprehensive information, benefiting both countries.

Asked whether Iran will remain in OPEC, Zangeneh said, 'We are one of the founding members of OPEC and want to protect OPEC. This is the only third world organization that a little a bit influences world economy.'

To a question whether Iran is satisfied with exemptions given to countries for oil purchase from Iran, he said, 'No. We believe that global market should be non-political so that it will act in favor of the consumer and the producer. We should not see only six months and a one year, we should have a long-term outlook. Several OPEC founding members being forced by sanctions, will absolutely cause acute supply shortcomings in the world markets in the coming years.'

Asked again whether Iran is happy with the amount of oil sold through exemptions, he said, 'No. We will be satisfied when exporting oil without any pressure.'

He predicted that OPEC will reach agreement with Russia. 'I think Russia will cooperate with OPEC eventually.'

He said he believed OPEC is close to reaching agreement. 'I cannot comment before reaching final decision . However, I think we are close to agreement. Of course, the time scheduled might be discussed.'

1420**2050

Follow us on Twitter @IrnaEnglish