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New Oil Minister Owji vows to consolidate Iran’s position in OPEC

Iran’s new Oil Minister Javad Owji

Iran’s new Oil Minister Javad Owji says the country would move to regain its position as an influential member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Owji said on Thursday on his first day of work in the Oil Ministry that Iran would seek to increase its crude exports amid a recovery in international demand for oil that has been caused by accelerating vaccinations against the coronavirus.

He said that Iran will not hesitate to retake its share of the global oil markets some three years after the country’s crude exports came under extensive US sanctions.

“Demand for oil is rebounding due to vaccination(s) and undoubtedly one of our plans is to consolidate Iran’s position in OPEC and to retake our market shares,” said Owji in remarks covered by the Oil Ministry’s news service Shana.

Owji said that an upcoming meeting of OPEC and allied producers, a grouping known as the OPEC+, will discuss Iran’s return to the oil markets.

He said the ministry under his watch would also seek to find new markets for Iranian oil.

“Identifying new markets will also be top on our agenda and we will regain whatever is deemed as a right for the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said the new minister.

Speculators expect an imminent return for the Iranian oil to the global markets if the country reaches an agreement with world powers to revive a 2015 international nuclear deal.

Owji has replaced former Oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh after being approved by the Iranian parliament. He gained the confidence of 198 out of 286 lawmakers in the legislature during a vote held on Wednesday where 70 lawmakers voted against his appointment to the post and 18 lawmakers abstained.

Owji’s notable positions in oil industry management in Iran include serving as deputy oil minister and head of the National Iranian Gas Company.

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