Iran does not recognize OPEC's new $29 base price as binding and "will continue its struggle against pressure by the superpowers" on the cartel, Iran's parliamentary speaker said yesterday.
Iran already is selling its oil for as low as $26 on the glutted market, and the latest statement could mean another price-cutting spiral by both members and non-members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The speaker, Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who also acts as a government spokesman, made the remark at prayers at Tehran University, said the official Islamic Republic News Agency, monitored here.
It quoted him as saying that during the recent OPEC meeting in London, Iran reserved the right to ignore the price cut because it was "against the interest of the deprived and lower-income classes." OPEC reached agreement Monday to cut its base price from $34 to $29.
In a move that could help stabilize the price, British Petroleum Chairman Peter Walters said Thursday that the company was taking "into account the political situation" and would settle for 50 to 75 cents below Nigeria's $30 price.
Britain fired the opening round in the price war last month by cutting the price of North Sea oil from $33 to $30. Nigeria quickly followed suit with a $5.50 cut to $30.
Mexico indicated yesterday its intention to hold the line on its price, lowered to match that of OPEC, and its production.