TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s oil minister on Saturday called for an emergency OPEC meeting, saying the current market value of oil has become “illogical.”
The semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted the minister, Rostam Ghasemi, as saying that at a recent meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries member states agreed to hold an emergency meeting if oil prices fell below $100 per barrel. Brent crude was trading at $95.51 per barrel in London on Friday.
Ghasemi said that if OPEC members do not observe their quota and the organization’s production ceiling of 30 million barrel per day, the market falls into disorder.
Iran is the second largest producer of OPEC and earns some 80 per cent of its foreign revenue from exporting crude, and has been hit hard by sanctions levied by the U.S. and other Western states over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
Mehr also quoted Iran’s central bank governor, Mahmoud Bahmani, as saying that Iran is “easily” able to sell its oil despite the U.S. sanctions. He said the Islamic Republic is having no trouble doing so because of the countries who have received waivers from the U.S. to import some Iranian oil despite the punitive measures.
The State Department has announced that China, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan have been given waivers from the U.S. in exchange for “significantly reducing” oil imports.
Bahmani’s comments come a day before an EU embargo on imports of Iranian oil goes into effect.
The U.S. and EU measures are intended to pressure Iran over fears that it is developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges.