Iran's oil minister was quoted yesterday as saying his country thwarted a Saudi-led push to hike output tied to US interference, as political overtones started tainting the narrative of a clash between oil producers.
The remarks come after Iran presided over a meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), where it and five other members successfully opposed a Saudi push to collectively increase production.
In statements reported by Iran's Moj news agency, Iran's oil minister Mohammad Aliabadi said the US had lobbied Saudi Arabia and others before the gathering with the aim of interfering in Opec and increasing oil production.
"Apparently, two or three weeks ahead of the Opec meeting, [US President] Mr [Barack] Obama asked oil industry insiders to help lower oil prices," Aliabadi was quoted as saying by Iran's Fars news agency.
Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi, the key proponent for a collective output hike, was asked by US officials during a May visit to make sure more oil would flow on the market, according to people familiar with the matter.
But he gave no such commitment at the time, they said.
Fars quoted Aliabadi as saying Iran managed to block a Saudi proposal to hike output, which he said was made under Western influence. He noted in the Moj agency report that other members had also opposed the move.
The caretaker oil minister had downplayed the rift between oil producers when speaking to reporters in Vienna immediately after the meeting.
From / Gulf News