Publishe Date: 11:56 AM - 2/17/2015 | Print

Drop in oil prices political plot: Iran’s first VP

Politics - Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri says Tehran regards the recent reductions in oil prices as a “political plot” against independent nations, expressing hope that crude oil would soon find its true value.

“The recent developments in the region show that reliance on oil is a serious challenge to Iran and Iraq, and that is the reason why the two countries should take steps to develop their industries and economies without depending on oil,” Jahangiri said in a meeting with Iranian tradesmen and businessmen in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Tuesday.

The international prices of oil have plunged by some 50% since June 2014, when it was traded at a fairly stable $100 per barrel. Experts blame a saturated market as well as the weak global demand for sliding oil prices.

This has already taken a toll on the economies of producing countries. The drops in prices have also affected the oil industry, with project delays, layoffs and cancelled spending.

In its last meeting, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refused to lower its output, mainly due to opposition by Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has said that the OPEC will not cut oil production even if the price falls to USD 20 a barrel.

"Whether it goes down to $20 a barrel, $40, $50, $60, it is irrelevant," Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told weekly magazine the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) on December 24.

The minister defended a decision made last month by OPEC, whose lead producer is Saudi Arabia, to continue a daily production cap of 30 million barrels.

The Iranian vice president further said Iran and Iraq are determined to boost their relations, stressing that investors, entrepreneurs and private sectors from both sides have a key role in achieving the objective.

Jahangiri further emphasized that Iranian and Iraqi authorities should lay the ground for the expansion of relations and removal of existing obstacles.

He said Iran has the resolve to bolster cooperation with Iraq, particularly in trade, economy and commerce.

Heading a politico-economic delegation, the Iranian first vice president arrived in Baghdad on Monday for talks with the country’s senior officials.

Earlier on Tuesday, Jahangiri and his entourage visited an exhibition of Iranian products in Baghdad.

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