Iran will not back down over top OPEC post, oil minister says

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Iran will not back down in its quest for an Iranian head of OPEC, the country’s new oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, was quoted by Mehr news agency as saying on Tuesday.

The long deadlock over who should be the next secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has highlighted political tensions within the 12-country group that have increased due to Western sanctions on Iran.

Saudi’s willingness to raise exports to make up for a reduction in supplies from Iran and rising competition from Iraq has intensified the rivalries between the Gulf neighbors, with each having put forward a candidate for the job and none willing to back down.

“Certainly we will not let those countries that are oppressive against Iran to take the role of the secretary general,” Zanganeh said.

“If a number of OPEC members do not alter their position towards Iran, like before, Iran will not back down either.”

The three candidates that OPEC ministers have to choose from when they next meet in Vienna in December are Saudi OPEC governor Majid Al-Moneef; Thamir Ghadhban, energy adviser to Iraq’s prime minister; and former Iranian oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari.

The impasse over who will be the next figure head for the group led to the Abdullah al-Badri, a Libyan, being re-appointed for a third term in December 2012.

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