Iran has no plans to freeze its oil production levels at January rates, its oil minister said Sunday, putting a dent in a Russian-Saudi plan announced last month that was designed to slow down the freefall in world oil prices.
"Our position on freezing is clear and nothing has changed," Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told the Fars news agency Sunday. He said he planned to make the stance clear during a Monday visit by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.
Iran's goal is to get production up to 4 million barrels a day, the level it saw before international sanctions were imposed due to concerns about its nuclear programme. After a deal reached last year that sees Iran agree to controls that would make it harder to make nuclear weapons, many of those sanctions are being lifted.
"Cooperation (once we reach that level) would be possible then, but they should let the topic be until then," he said.
According to OPEC data, Iran's current production is between 2.8 million and 3.5 million barrels a day.
The Russian-Saudi deal - to which Venezuela and Qatar also signed on - is designed to stabilize oil prices, which have fallen by up to 70 per cent since their peak in mid-2014.
Although the low oil price has been a boon for many importing nations, it is causing widespread problems for exporting countries, which need an oil price higher than the current rate of about 35 dollars per barrel.