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Sat 23 Feb 2008 04:30 PM

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Iran calls for March production cut

Tehran says it expects Opec to cut oil output when it next meets, citing spring drop in demand.

Iran will back a cut in production by Opec when it meets in March and expects the group to take such action, the country's oil minister said in remarks published on Saturday.

Oil prices surged to a record high above $100 a barrel this week. Iranian officials have said factors such as speculation are behind the price hike, not a shortage of crude supply.

"Iran will support the policy of cutting output in Opec's next meeting... It is expected that Opec will [decide to] cut its production at the upcoming meeting," Gholamhossein Nozari was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry's news website Shana.

The minister said it was normal for production to be cut in spring when demand usually drops.

An Iranian oil official said this week that temperatures in the northern hemisphere, where many big consumers are, were not as cold as normal, which would dampen demand.

Some other Opec members, speaking before their next meeting on March 5, have also said they would not back adding crude to the market, as some consumers want. Some Opec states have also suggested output should be cut. (Reuters)

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