Iran Blames Weak Dollar for Surge in Oil Prices

AS2342147.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Thirty percent of the increase in the price of oil is because of the decrease in the value of the dollar, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said.

“Thirty percent of the increase (in the price) of oil is because of the decrease in the value of the dollar”, he said on the sidelines of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in the Sri Lankin capital Colombo.

He did not say what time period he was referring to. The dollar has dropped 33.8 percent against a basket of six currencies since US President George W. Bush took office on January 20, 2001, according to the New York Board of Trade’s dollar index.

Mottaki also said unspecified behind-the-scenes actions had played a role in the oil price increase, and that Iran supported “the stability of the oil price in the market”.

Iran, the number two oil producer in OPEC, expects the grouping to discuss ways of controlling the quotas of member countries at its next meeting in September.

“In case of the continuation of a downward trend in oil prices, one of the serious discussions in the next OPEC meeting will be definitely the quotas” Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is scheduled to hold its next regular meeting on September 9 in Vienna.

“OPEC, as the responsible body to control the market, should be more meticulous for the control of quotas”, the oil minister said according to a report by the Islamic republic news agency. “The (member) countries that have increased their capacity should control it… The issue is that some countries have been supplying more than their quota.”

Nozari said in July that Iran was against any increase in OPEC’s output quota despite continued high crude prices.

Iran is the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer and tension over its nuclear program helped push crude prices to record highs above 147 dollars a barrel on July 11.

Analysts view US-led sanctions against Iran and geopolitical factors as among the main causes of recent hike in oil prices, saying that fears of a new Middle East conflict are behind the new high for oil prices.

Market analysts, specially those from consumer nations, take Bush administration responsible for the price hikes during the last year, saying that these are frequent sanctions and the “rumors of US and Israeli action against Iran circulating in the markets” that affected oil and the dollar.

Prices dropped by around 20 dollars last month after West softened rhetoric in the dispute with Iran.

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