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Iran terms call to freeze oil output ‘unfair’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Valiollah Seif, the head of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), has described as unfair and illogical a call by Saudi Arabia on Iran to freeze its oil output.

As the world’s major oil producers are meeting in Qatar to discuss freezing production to help boost prices, Iran’s top banker described a call on the country to do so as unfair and illogical.

Valiollah Seif, the head of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), told the US media on Sunday that Iran, as a member of OPEC, has a quota of 2.4 million barrels per day. That quota, Seif added, went unfilled under the sanctions. At the same time, other members used their output to fill the gap, he added.

"What Iran is doing right now is trying to get back and secure its share of the market," Seif told CNBC.  “"What Saudi Arabia is asking Iran to do is not a very fair [or] logical request."

"And right now, Iran is trying to just take back the quota it is entitled to get, so we are going to do that and this is the main direction of our economy," Seif added.

He went as far as to say other OPEC members are to blame for the sharp fall in oil prices, which are down more than 37 percent year to date.

"This request is coming from those countries which are responsible for this surplus production in the market, because they have exceeded output beyond their quota, and I think this is not fair," Seif added.

He cautioned that this was his personal viewpoint, and the ultimate decision lies with Iran's oil minister, Bijan Zangeneh.

Amid expectation that OPEC and non-OPEC producers could reach a deal in Qatar to reduce a global crude supply glut, oil prices have rebounded sharply in recent weeks after hitting a 13-year low earlier this year.

The oil producer group said this past Wednesday that Iranian crude production in March was 3.3 million barrels per day (mb/d), up from 2.9 million in January.

Iran has maintained that it is targeting production of 4 mb/d in the new Iranian year (started March 20).

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