Iran would 'never' use oil as an economic weapon

Iran's oil minister on Wednesday denounced suggestions that his country might use oil as an economic weapon as "baseless," reaffirming Teheran's commitment to supplying crude markets despite its standoff with the West over its suspect nuclear program. Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh told an OPEC conference in Vienna that Iran - the 11-nation cartel's No. 2 producer behind Saudi Arabia - kept its crude exports flowing even during its long war with Iraq in the 1980s and would not use its oil as a political lever now. "OPEC and Iran are committed to ensuring oil supplies," he said during a panel discussion. Iran, the world's fourth-largest producer, pumps roughly 4 million barrels a day.