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Monday, November 19, 2007
Iran does not want to use oil as a weapon: Ahmadinejad
RIYADH (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Iran never wanted to use oil as a weapon, but if the U.S. attacked the country it would ""know how to react.""
""We would never want to use oil as a weapon or take any illegal actions ... but if America takes any action against us we will know how to reply,"" he said at a press conference on the sidelines of an OPEC summit here.
Fears that a U.S. attack on Iran could lead the country to stop its exports or block key shipping channels for oil tankers is one of the factors that has driven oil prices to record highs in recent years. He predicted however that conflict would not break out.
""My prediction is that no war will break out in the region,"" he said.
Ahmadinejad also talked of his plan for oil exporters to abandon the U.S. dollar as the currency they use to price and sell their crude.
""The meeting decided to direct our ministers of finance and foreign affairs to talk about this and later produce their finings,"" he said.
------------OPEC agrees to study dollar concern: Iran
""It is great that the finance ministers will study the subject more... and get a consensus,"" Iran’s Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari told reporters.
The OPEC statement said simply that the cartel would ""study ways to increase financial cooperation between OPEC member countries, including a proposal by some heads of state"" without giving more details.
Iran had pushed for OPEC to take collective action to price oil in other currencies such as the euro, instead of the U.S. currency, which is used across the world at present.
The fall of the dollar, which has weakened considerably against the euro and other currencies in the past 12 months, has affected the revenues of OPEC members because most of them price and sell their oil exports in the U.S. currency.