Iran Sees No Need to Boost Oil Output

A009017241.jpg TEHRAN (FNA) Iran believes there is enough oil in global markets and sees no need to increase production, the oil minister of OPEC’s second-largest producer was quoted as saying on Wednesday

“Currently oil prices in global markets have dropped by $5 to $6 and our belief is that there is enough oil in global markets and there is no need to increase … production,” Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari a report by the Guardian Unlimited said.

The White House earlier said US President George W. Bush, wrapping up a Middle-East trip on Wednesday, hopes his talks in Saudi Arabia will help encourage OPEC to raise production and dampen oil prices.

Iran, embroiled in a dispute over its nuclear drives with the West, has frequently said oil markets were not short of crude supply.

Traders have cited the nuclear row as a factor supporting oil price rises and helping them to record levels. Oil hit a lifetime high over $100 a barrel this year.

US is at odds with Iran over Tehran’s independent and self-grown progress in the nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

According to the NPT, Iran is as a signatory entitled to pursue civilian nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment.

Foreign ministers from the permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as Germany are expected to meet in Berlin next Tuesday to iron out differences over new sanctions with most objections coming from Russia and China.

Iran is under two sets of UN Security Council sanctions for its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment even after the peaceful nature of its nuclear programs and activities was proved.

Washington is pushing for additional UN penalties despite a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and a similar report by the IAEA head in November which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities, Russia and China increased resistance to any further punitive measures by the Security Council.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium only to produce fuel for reactors that would generate electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East on Wednesday, has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran, saying that Tehran’s role in “fomenting violence” in Iraq has been exposed.

But hosting officials dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran’s nuclear program has lost steam due to the US intelligence report.

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