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Iran not sending representative to OPEC meet: minister

TEHRAN: Iran will not be sending any representative to a key oil summit in Doha aimed at negotiating a production freeze, Tehran’s petroleum minister said on Sunday.

“The Doha meeting is for people who want to participate in the production freeze plan… but since Iran isn’t expected to sign up to the plan the presence of an Iranian representative isn’t necessary,” Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by the Shana news agency.

Tehran, which is aiming to increase crude output after the lifting of nuclear-related Western sanctions, had said Friday it would send its OPEC representative to the talks in Qatar that were due to start on Sunday.

“Iran will in no way give up its historic production quota,” Zanganeh said.

Oil prices, which hit a 13-year low earlier this year, have rebounded sharply in recent weeks partly on expectation that a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Qatar could help to reduce a global crude supply glut.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter, has vowed not to join an output freeze unless regional adversary Iran does likewise.

OPEC said this week that Iranian oil production in March was 3.3 million barrels per day, up from 2.9 million in January, but still short of its pre-embargo level of around 4.0 million.

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