Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has told the OPEC+ alliance of oil producing nations that Iran will not hesitate to return to the oil markets once US sanctions on the country are lifted.
Zanganeh said on Saturday that Iran’s return to the oil market won’t wait for a consensus among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, a grouping which has been committed to cuts to global supplies to protect the prices.
The remarks were made just following the inconclusive meeting of OPEC+ as the grouping failed to reach an agreement to gradually ease supply cuts amid a recovery in international demand for crude.
“I announced Iran’s position in this meeting and insisted that whatever decision is adopted in this meeting won’t impact our resolve,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Oil Ministry’s news service Shana.
“This is our official decision that whenever the sanctions are lifted, we will return to the oil market in the shortest time possible and beginning with an output at least on par with pre-sanctions levels,” he added.
Iran, along Libya and Venezuela, have been exempt from supply cut agreements reached and renewed by OPEC and allies in recent years.
Reports on Thursday had suggested that OPEC members were concerned about the impact of Iran’s return to oil markets as the supplies could cause the prices to drop.
Zanganeh’s remarks on Saturday suggested that Iranian crude production could exceed the 3.8 million barrels per day (bpd) seen before the US sanctions were imposed in 2018.
Unconfirmed estimates say that Iran’s exports has already reached an average of more than 1 million bpd as the country is finding more practical solutions to circumvent the US sanctions and sell its oil to major customers in Asia and elsewhere.
OPEC figures show that Iran has had the highest amount of increase in crude production among its members in recent months as output by the country reached an average of nearly 2.6 million bpd in May.
Iran and global powers have been engaged in talks in Austria since April to revive a 2015 nuclear deal that has suffered since the US left the agreement in 2018 and imposed sanctions on Tehran.