Iran has no intention of leaving OPEC despite its being treated like an enemy by some members, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told a parliamentary news site as quoted by Reuters. Zanganeh did, however, note that the organization was being turned into a political forum.
“Iran has no plans to leave OPEC…and regrets that some members of OPEC have turned this organization into a political forum for confronting two founding members of OPEC, meaning Iran and Venezuela,” he said, adding “And two regional countries are showing enmity toward us in this organization. We are not their enemy but they are showing enmity toward us…and (they) use oil as a weapon against us in the global market and world.”
Although the official did not name the two countries, these are most likely Saudi Arabia and its sidekick the UAE. Both countries were quick to assure markets they would step in to fill the oil production gap that the U.S. sanctions against Iran would leave after the end of the waivers in May. This has further increased tensions with Iran, already running high as Tehran and Riyadh wrestle for more influence in the Middle East.
Iran’s oil exports, according to data cited by Reuters, may have fallen to just 400,000 bpd last month, less than half of exports in April. The United States had given eight countries six-month waivers to continue buying oil from Iran after it re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian oil industry in November. The United States, however, pursued a maximum pressure campaign against Iran last month and put an end to all sanction waivers for all Iranian oil buyers, beginning in May.