Iran: Current Oil Prices No Threat to World Economy
Iran's Governor at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Mohammad Ali Khatibi said current oil prices are no threat to the world economy.
Khatibi told the oil ministry's website that most oil consuming countries and even those countries that traditionally look for "conservative prices" consider 100-dollar prices fair, therefore current oil prices that are just a few dollars above the figure hardly can affect large economies of the US and Europe.
He continued that at the time being the US and European countries' economies are facing fundamental problems, including huge budget deficits.
If we take into account that the total oil revenue of OPEC members is less than the US budget deficit then rising oil prices by a few dollars cannot harm their economies and they should try to solve their structural problems in lieu of blaming others.
"Current oil prices represent nominal prices of the commodity and by considering inflation rate and other economic issues, it could be argued that real oil prices are between 70 to 80 dollars or 10 to 15 dollars respectively when we consider the year 2000 or the 1970s as the reference," Khatibi noted.
Calling the current upward trend of oil prices natural, the official said, "Current oil prices are the result of natural developments in the world oil markets and fixing oil prices based on "command economy" is not possible.
Referring to some who express concern on high oil prices and find it a threat to the world economy, Khatibi said that those views are related to presidential elections in the United States.
He added that on the verge of the presidential elections in the country, Americans are trying to bring down prices artificially either through their agents or by encouraging some oil producing countries to raise their oil production.
In reaction to some secondary sources' figures on the level of Iran's oil production, Khatibi said, "The Oil Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the only source of official figures and it is not responsible for those figures released by secondary sources.
"We are responsible towards those figures we present directly to OPEC Secretariat, the figures that show Islamic Republic of Iran maintain its position as the second biggest oil producer in OPEC.
He added that Oil Ministry sends monthly reports on its oil production to OPEC Secretariat and is responsible for the figures it sends.
Elsewhere in his remarks he said an especial committee that had been set up to evaluate four OPEC Secretary General nominees' qualifications, is going to hold a session in OPEC Secretariat in 22nd and 23rd October with the presence of candidates from Ecuador, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
According to Khatibi, the candidates will express their capabilities and the committee will evaluate their qualifications by holding interviews.
"Under the ratifications of OPEC ministerial meeting, the committee has been set up just to evaluate candidates' capabilities and has nothing to do with choosing new OPEC's Secretary General," said Khatibi, who is also the National Iranian Oil Company's director for international affairs.
The committee just gives advice to the ministers on the candidates and finally the ministerial meeting should reach consensus on choosing one of the candidates as secretary general.
Asked about the latest developments of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), Khatibi noted that the forum would hold a meeting under the chairmanship of Equatorial Guinea in November, adding that the exact date of the meeting is yet to be fixed.