DUBAI Iran's oil minister said on Friday any emergency meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would hurt the crude oil market if it made no decision to shore up falling prices.
Venezuela has been calling for an emergency meeting to discuss steps to prop up prices, which are at their lowest since 2003. But Iran and Gulf members of the OPEC have been rebuffing Venezuela's push for a special meeting.
"There should be an intention to make a firm decision in such a meeting; otherwise, the meeting will have a negative impacts on world oil markets," Iran's Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by the news agency SHANA.
"The important thing is that there must be an intention for change, but we have not yet received such a signal," he said.
Iran ordered an increase in crude output of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) last week, to take advantage of the lifting of international sanctions imposed to halt Iran's nuclear research. The sanctions had cut its oil exports by about 2 million bpd.
OPEC was already pumping oil at close to record levels, before any extra Iranian crude reached the market.
The next scheduled OPEC meeting is not until June. The last extraordinary meeting to discuss a price slump, in 2008, led to OPEC's largest-ever production cut. Prices doubled within a year after that cut.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, editing by Larry King)
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