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Khatami says Iran deserves a more equitable share in OPEC output

Tehran, March 17, IRNA-President Mohammad Khatami continued here Wednesday night with his press conference with a large contingent of domestic and foreign reporters.

On Iran's share in the Organization of Oil Producing Countries' (OPEC) output, he said that OPEC agrees with us that Iran's share of oil production should be increased.

"Our policies will be determined on the basis of garnering a more equitable share in OPEC," the president added.

OPEC has not politicized the oil issue and if the oil has been politically-charged is because of people who believe that oil is a political issue.

"We are in favor of stability in the oil market and adequate revenues, while at the same time believe in incorporating the views of the oil consumers." The US sanctions and imposed Iraqi war in the past years are reasons for insufficient investments in Iran's oil facilities, Khatami underscored.

"Iran wants an equitable share in OPEC and we are in consort with OPEC on this issue." On US pressure on OPEC for raising oil output, he said OPEC is under pressure from the market and world powers, "but OPEC in the recent years has witnessed a stronger and firmer period in its history while taking into account the needs of the consumers." On the oil revenues, he added that the government has, during the recent years, in addition to increasing productivity in the oil and gas sector, established the Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund to boost private sector investment.

He also chided what he said were imprudent withdrawals from the fund for general expenditures outlined the budget.

Presently there are inequitable distribution of wealth. The are over rls 200,000 billion of subsidies earmarked for fuel which could be channeled to strengthen the social welfare program.

He further highlighted the need for delineating a targeted- subsidies policy as the most important challenges for the past and present governments.

"Achieving such a goal needs strong national determination," the president underlined.

On another issue, he said called on the local officials to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Isfahan.

OPEC decided to increase the production ceiling to 27.5 mb/d, effective immediately, in view of the expectation of another year of strong global oil demand.

In a statement in conclusion of its Wednesday meeting, OPEC said it had also raised the ceiling to ensure comfortable levels of stocks in the second half as well as halt to and reverse in the price escalation.

The statement said the Conference further authorized its president, after consultations with fellow heads of delegation, to announce an additional 500,000 bpd increase in the ceiling, until its next Meeting, should oil prices remain at current levels or continue to further rise.

In taking this decision, the Conference once again confirmed the Organization's commitment to maintaining stability and ensuring that global markets remain adequately supplied at all times, read the statement.

It said that to that end, member countries have already accelerated existing capacity expansion plans and are making timely investments to expand capacity in the longer term.

Moreover, the statement said, this decision is a reaffirmation of OPEC's commitment to ensuring adequate supplies consistent with robust economic growth, in particular in the emerging economies of the developing world.

The statement continued that the Conference also agreed to continue to closely monitor market developments and to take appropriate and prompt action, as and when the need arises.

It said with this in mind, the Conference decided to convene an Extraordinary Meeting at Headquarters, Vienna, on Tuesday, June 7, 2005.

... Payvand News - 3/17/05 ... --

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