Iran Oil Minister Hints at Price War to Win Back Market Share

Iran’s new oil minister, Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh, has released plans to raise oil production 70 percent to 4.2 million barrels a day to try to win back old customers, even if it means starting a price war.

Iran, historically the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, has slipped to sixth place, producing 2.56 million barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies against Iran over the past year to curb its nuclear program have restricted the country’s oil exports.

“Revival of Iran’s lost oil markets is among my top priorities,” Zanganeh said in an interview, Fars News agency reported. “We only ask those who have replaced us in the world’s oil markets to know that when we are re-entering these markets they will have to accept that the oil prices decline or they should reduce their production to create enough space for Iran’s oil.”

American and European Union sanctions cut Iran’s exports by about a million barrels a day as part of a broader effort to press the country to halt its uranium enrichment activities. Western powers suspect the enrichment is part of a plan to produce nuclear weapons, something Iran denies.

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