LONDON - Iran criticized a US request that Saudi Arabia pump more oil to cover a drop in Iranian exports and predicted OPEC would not heed the appeal, setting the stage for a tough meeting of the producer group later this month.
Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, was responding to news that the US government had unofficially asked Saudi Arabia and some other OPEC producers to raise output.
“It’s crazy and astonishing to see instruction coming from Washington to Saudi to act and replace a shortfall of Iran’s export due to their Illegal sanction on Iran and Venezuela,” Kazempour said in comments to Reuters.
He predicted OPEC would not heed the US request and said oil prices would jump in response to Washington's sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, as they did during a previous round of US sanctions against Iran.
“No one in OPEC will act against two of its founder members,” he said. “The US tried it last time against Iran, but oil prices got to $140 a barrel.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets to review its oil output policy on June 22 in Vienna.
OPEC, founded in 1960, has a history of collaboration over oil policy despite differences of opinion and even wars between some members over the years.
Kazempour said the group would unite in opposition to the US request.
“OPEC will not accept such a humiliation. How arrogant and ignorant one could be (to) underestimate the history of 60 years' cooperation among competitors,” he said.
“We have to live together - we cannot change geography but we must build better history,” he said.