Saudi Arabia’s energy minister praises Iranian oil minister’s contribution to Opec

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman calls Bijan Zanganeh a 'personal friend'

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Saudi Arabia’s energy minister praised the outgoing Iranian oil minister’s contribution towards achieving agreements within Opec.

Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh is retiring after many years at the organisation.

“I always took his friendship as a meaningful way to enable us to navigate within the corridors of the art of the possible of how to achieve agreements, yet confine ourselves in the so called Opec silo,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Thursday.

“This way we can deliver joint achievements regardless of the politics of the day,” said the kingdom’s minister, describing Mr Zanganeh as a personal friend.

Mr Zanganeh will be stepping down as Iran’s oil minister as the new government under Ebrahim Raisi takes over the reins of power in the country next month.

“If it wasn’t for his Excellency’s demeanour … of understanding of separating issues, it would have been quite a harsh time for all of us and specifically Opec,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

Saudi Arabia, along with Iran and other member countries of the Opec group, are cutting production to support oil markets.

Brent, the international benchmark for more than half of the world’s crude, was trading close to $76 per barrel at 3:48pm UAE time on Friday.

Mr Zanganeh said Iran maintained a healthy oil production and exported reasonably despite nuclear sanctions.

“Our oil industry suffered greatly from and was prevented from realising its home ground potential but we Iranians survive and will not bow to bullying,” he said.

Iran is holding talks to re-establish or renegotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was struck in 2015 and lifted some economic sanctions in return for limits on the country's nuclear programme.

The US withdrew from the pact in 2018 under the Trump administration.

Updated: July 02, 2021, 4:11 PM