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Iran says OPEC could accept Russia as member

Iran's oil minister suggested OPEC would accept Russia as a member if Moscow wanted to join the 12-member oil producers' group, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported. Gholamhossein Nozari, speaking a few days before the cartel is due to meet in Vienna on March 15, also reiterated a call for more cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries.

Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil producer. Oil prices have plunged about $100 a barrel since a peak of $147 in July as a global economic downturn hit fuel demand, despite a series of production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in the last six months. “The ground is ready in OPEC to accept Russia as a new member, but, of course, countries request membership by evaluating and considering their own interests,” Fars quoted Nozari as saying late on Tuesday. He did not elaborate. (Reuters)