Iran and Venezuela vowed Saturday to work together to stabilize falling global oil prices as Iran’s supreme leader accused “enemies” of using crude prices as a political weapon.
With President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela by his side, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran urged members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, to “neutralize schemes by some powers against OPEC and help stabilize an acceptable oil price in 2015.” Mr. Maduro also called for OPEC’s cooperation in stabilizing oil prices.
Both Iran and Venezuela rely on oil prices to drive their respective economies. Oil prices have plunged more than 55% since June to less than $50 a barrel, placing a severe strain on the two countries.
Mr. Maduro is touring several OPEC nations to drum up support for a production cut to increase prices. He is to visit Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, to discuss the oil market slump.
“We are making efforts to create a consensus among OPEC members and other oil-producing states, including Russia, to cooperate and use novel mechanisms to reverse the oil price to an acceptable level,” Mr. Maduro was quoted by Iranian state television as saying.
He later met with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who blamed their “enemies” for the declining oil prices.
“Our common enemies are using oil as a political weapon, and they definitely have a role in the sharp fall in oil price,” Iran’s state television quoted Ayatollah Khamenei as saying.
He did not elaborate, but Iran, a Shiite power, indirectly has blamed the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a regional rival, for pushing down the prices by refusing to cut its oil production. OPEC as a whole has yet to agree to curb production.
Source: New York Times