Skip to navigationSkip to content
An Iranian oil worker rides his bicycle at the Tehran oil refinery, south of the capital Tehran, Iran.
AP Photo/Vahid Salemi
An oil refinery near Tehran that will likely become a little busier in the next few months.
PIPELINE DREAM DEFERRED

Iran continues to thumb its nose at a global oil freeze

By Melvin Backman

Everything seemed to be in place for a bottom to the slide in oil prices. Major producers were cooperating on output and recruiting other countries to join them. US producers were cutting costs and output. Short-sellers were heading for the exits. The only thing in the way was Iran. Kept to the sidelines by sanctions related to its defunct nuclear program, the country wanted to get back in the game.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak traveled to Tehran partially to arrive at an individual solution with Iran. Markets held out hope even though Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, had called a previous production freeze proposal “ridiculous.”

It looks like Novak came up empty-handed. The individual solution reached, he reportedly said, is that ”we totally understand Iran’s position to increase production and revive its share in the global markets,” per the Shana news service. Zanganeh said Iran doesn’t even want to hear about a freeze until it gets back to pumping 4 million barrels per day, up from about 3 million barrels currently. It doesn’t matter that its efforts to export crude to Europe aren’t exactly going according to plan: This is a country on a mission.