Platts: Iran will not back down in its pursuit of the secretary generalship of oil producer group OPEC, which it jointly founded in 1960, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tuesday, quoted by semi-official news agency Mehr.
Platts, McGraw Hill Financial
Tehran (Platts) – Iran will not back down in its pursuit of the secretary generalship of oil producer group OPEC, which it jointly founded in 1960, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tuesday, quoted by semi-official news agency Mehr.
“We will not allow any country to violate Iran’s right in OPEC as [we are] one of the founders and long-standing members of this organization,” Zanganeh said.
“We will definitely not let those countries that are unfair to Iran gain the secretary general job,” he added.
“If some of the OPEC members do not change their stance towards Iran and their policy stays like before, Iran will not back down either,” said Zanganeh, whose nomination as oil minister by moderate President Hassan Rowhani received parliament’s vote of confidence on August 15.
Iran has nominated Gholamhossein Nozari, who served as oil minister for two years from August 2007, as its candidate to replace Abdalla el-Badri, a former Libyan oil minister, whose two three-year terms in the job ended last December but who was asked to stay on for an extra year while the effort to appoint a successor continued. Iraq and Saudi Arabia have also nominated candidates. Iraq has nominated former oil minister Thamer Ghadban, while Saudi Arabia has nominated its former OPEC governor, Majid al-Moneef.
Although the job is an administrative one, the appointment of a secretary general is highly political. Rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia has frequently resulted in a stalemate that has eventually been resolved through negotiation and the appointment of a compromise candidate from a non-Gulf country.
Zanganeh, who served as oil minister between 1997 and 2005 under former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, has said, however, that he will maintain a policy of cooperation with fellow OPEC members.
He acknowledged that the drop in Iran’s surplus crude production capacity had lowered Tehran’s position within OPEC.
“Certainly, an increase in production and exports can improve Iran’s status in OPEC and raise its negotiation power,” he said.
Iran’s crude output and exports have plunged as a result of US and European Union sanctions, in place since the middle of last year, which directly target its oil revenues. The country’s production and exports are estimated to have fallen by around 1 million b/d to 2.7 million b/d and 1 million b/d respectively.
Zanganeh has vowed to boost Iran’s oil production capacity in six months to around 4.2 million b/d, the level he said Iran had achieved when he left the ministry in 2005.