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Leaving OPEC against Iran’s national interests: Governor

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)
This file photo shows an OPEC sign displayed on a mobile phone as Iranian Oil Ministry officials attend an OPEC meeting held via video conference in Tehran on May 6, 2020.

Iran’s OPEC governor says the country is not mulling any departure from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries some sixty years after it helped found the key global energy cartel.

“Iran and OPEC are not separate from each other and expressing some thoughts or statements on departure from the OPEC is favorable to the enemies and is against the national interests of the country,” said Amir Hossein Zamaninia on Monday.

The comments, made on the day the OPEC celebrates its 60th anniversary, comes against the backdrop of reports suggesting that Iran may decide to leave the OPEC mainly because the body has been increasingly influenced by producers with larger share of the global market.

Iran, the second largest country in the world in terms of the size of oil reserves and a major crude exporter, has been exempt from rounds of cuts to global supplies agreed between OPEC members and allies as the body seeks to help boost depressed prices on the international markets.

The exemptions are granted mainly because Iran’s direct sale of crude has been hampered by American sanctions imposed since November 2018 and toughened in May 2019.

Zamaninia said, however, that Iran’s membership of the OPEC will continue to hinge on the organization’s level of respect for the country’s interests.

“We support OPEC as far as the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran is protected in a balanced from along with that of other members,” he told the Iranian Oil ministry’s news service Shana.

“Otherwise, there is no compulsory membership in any international organization,” said the official.

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