Russia: Iran wants to restore oil output before capping it

MOSCOW – Russia’s energy minister says Iran would consider joining a global deal to cap oil production only after it restores its output back to levels it enjoyed before international sanctions.

Alexander Novak made the statement Monday after talks in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart.

Russia has been in talks with OPEC countries on putting a cap on oil output in order to boost global oil prices. Novak said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that a meeting between Russia and OPEC countries on an oil production cap could take place in April, but the date hasn’t been set yet.

Novak said that while Iran generally supports the idea, it believes that it first needs to restore its oil production to 4 million barrels a day, the level it had before it was targeted with international sanctions over its nuclear program.

He said that Iran’s demands were “reasonable,” adding that “doors remain open for Tehran” to join the output cap.

Novak said Iran is also ready to offer new contracts to Russian oil companies.

Sanctions against Iran were lifted in January and Western and Russian gas and oil companies have been keen to close deals with Iran and gain access to the country’s natural resources.