Zanganeh: Freeze Deal Means New Oil Sanctions

Zanganeh: Freeze Deal Means New Oil SanctionsZanganeh: Freeze Deal Means New Oil Sanctions

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Monday a plan to freeze oil production, which fell through in a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday, is tantamount to new sanctions against Iran's oil industry.

"Once sanctions against Iran were lifted [in January], some states launched a propaganda campaign [against Iran], but taking such measures was simply an 'illusion'," Zanganeh said in a not-so-subtle jibe at Saudi Arabia, Mehr News Agency reported.

Most members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and major outsiders, such as Russia, discussed freezing oil output at January levels to prop up sluggish prices in a meeting in Doha last week.

But the parties failed to reach an agreement after 12 hours of heated talks because Saudi Arabia insisted that Iran, who was absent in the meeting, must be part of the deal.

"Some states were against the termination of Iran's sanctions from the beginning, so they adopted whatever measures they could to lower oil prices as much as possible to heap pressure on Iran," Zanganeh said.

He added that the global oil glut is a direct consequence of those extreme measures that led to oil demand exceeding supply by two million barrels a day.

"These states are making a desperate attempt to accuse Iran of creating imbalance in the international oil market, whereas the fact of the matter is that Iran has not played the slightest role in this tragedy," he said.

According to the minister, major oil producers have planned to "freeze" Iran's oil production at sanctions level that stood at around 2.5 million bpd, which can be interpreted as a new round of sanctions against Iran's oil industry that "is no more than an illusion".

Zanganeh believes that stability of oil market cannot be restored unless OPEC and non-OPEC members show solidarity and Iranian oil officials will do their best to fulfill the immediate goal.