Iran sends out feelers for any return to oil markets

By REUTERS
October 22, 2013 21:16

LONDON - Iran is reaching out to its old oil buyers and is ready to cut prices if Western sanctions against it are eased, promising a battle for market share in a world less hungry for oil than when sanctions were imposed.

New Iranian President Hassam Rouhani's "charm offensive" at the United Nations last month, coupled with a historic phone call with US President Barack Obama, revived market hopes that Iranian barrels could return with a vengeance if the diplomatic mood music translates into a breakthrough in the stand-off over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

The Islamic republic's crude exports more than halved after the European Union and United States, which accuse Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons, tightened sanctions in mid-2012, cutting its budget revenues by at least $35 billion a year.

"The Iranians are calling around already saying let's talk ... You have to be careful, of course, but there is no law against talking," said a high-level oil trader, whose company is among many that stopped buying Iran's oil because of sanctions.


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