Iran urges Saudi Arabia help to stop oil price slump
Tehran, Jan 17 (IANS) Iran has urged Saudi Arabia to help stop the continuous slump in oil prices in order to protect the economies of the region’s oil producing countries, media reports said.
“We have told Saudi Arabian officials through diplomatic channels that they should prevent the enemies of the region from harming the growing economies of the regional countries,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, reported Xinhua citing the Tasnim News agency.
Talks were held between the officials of the two countries on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
They urged all concerned nations in the area to adopt an oil policy that benefitted the whole region, Abdollahian said.
“We expect Saudi Arabia to play a major role in (controlling) crude prices to help the regional countries,” he said.
He also said the decline in oil prices was a product of “intentional or unintentional” schemes by some countries to undermine the growing economies in the region.
On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said some major oil producing countries, including Saudi Arabia, would suffer more than Iran in the face of declining crude prices.
According to Iran’s budget for the next year, one third of government revenues is dependant on oil sales, while more than 80 percent of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait’s annual budget rely on oil exports, Rouhani said.
Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil exporter within the OPEC, has ignored Iran’s call to cut oil output.
Oil prices have tumbled almost 50 percent to below $50 per barrel.
Iran’s economy is heavily reliant on oil exports. Besides the losses from declining oil prices, Iran’s crude exports have fallen 60 percent to one million barrels a day due to Western sanctions on its energy and financial sectors.
Tehran is planning to lower the crude oil price in the next year’s budget to $40 a barrel, Iran’s Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia was quoted as saying Saturday by the Tehran Times, reported Xinhua.