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Iran's Ahmadinejad says oil price artificial

world Updated: Jun 17, 2008 17:03 IST

AFP
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The current high price of oil is artificial and the market is well supplied with crude, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.

"The rise in consumption is lower than the rise in production," Ahmadinejad told a meeting in the city of Isfahan of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fund for international development.

"The market is well supplied but prices are rising and this situation is artificial and imposed" by world powers.

Ahmadinejad, who is president of OPEC's number two producer, has repeatedly said that the current high price of oil is not based on fundamentals and is driven largely by the weakness of the dollar.

"Certain hands, for political and economic ends, are controlling the price in an artificial manner," he said.

Ahmadinejad also said "certain powers" were keeping an artificial oil price to "fund the costs of their wars and occupations and to justify investments to exploit new sources of energy at the bottom of the oceans, at the poles and elsewhere."

Oil prices have hit record highs of close to 140 dollars a barrel.

In Asian trade on Tuesday, the main New York futures contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, dropped 15 cents to 134.46 dollars per barrel after striking an intraday record of 139.89 dollars on the New York Mercantile Exchange.