ANKARA (Reuters) - Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should prepare for extra Iranian crude production when Western sanctions on Tehran are lifted, Iran's oil minister was quoted on Tuesday by state news agency IRNA as saying.
"We expect the members of OPEC to pave the ground for (an) increase of Iran's oil production that will reach global markets when sanctions are lifted," Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said during a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Asdrubal Chavez in Tehran, the agency reported.
Iran, once OPEC's second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia, hopes to boost crude exports by as much as 1 million barrels per day (bpd) if Tehran and six major powers finalize a nuclear agreement by a June 30 deadline.
Sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States have halved Iran's oil exports to just over 1 million barrels per day since 2012. Lower oil prices have also caused pain for OPEC's less wealthy producers like Iran, which has repeatedly called for an output cut of OPEC's target daily production.
But Gulf OPEC members, including Saudi Arabia, have refused to cut output that is currently at 30 million bpd.
Iran says an increase of its oil production will not cause a price crash. However, so far there is no sign of any willingness of other OPEC members to cut supply. OPEC's next meeting is on June 5.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by David Holmes