World News

Iran says G8 to blame for high oil price

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran’s OPEC governor said on Wednesday the oil market was saturated and blamed policies of the Group of Eight (G8) rich countries for a price surge, the state broadcaster reported on its website.

Oil prices hit a record highs last week above $145 a barrel, although they have since slipped around $10.

This prompted G8 states at a meeting in Japan to call for more output. Iran and other OPEC states have regularly said there is no shortage of crude and instead have blamed other factors, such as tensions in the Middle East.

“He emphasised again that the oil market is saturated,” the website reported, citing Iran’s OPEC governor, Mohammad Ali Khatibi.

“Currently, OPEC supplies about 1.5 million barrels per day more than the market needs,” he was quoted as saying.

Khatibi said G8 countries were pursuing contradictory policies, such as supporting sanctions on Iran which analysts say has deterred foreign investment in its oil industry, while urging oil producers to increase production.

“The G8 is itself the main reason behind the high price of oil in the world, and therefore instability in the crude market,” he said.

G8 states include four of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Russia, France and Britain -- which have backed limited sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

China is the fifth permanent council member, who also backed sanctions, but is not a member of the G8.

Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian