RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's oil chief said in comments published Thursday that there are no links between the kingdom's decision to oppose production cuts and political objectives — an apparent response to accusations last week from Shiite powerhouse Iran.
Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency as saying that there are "incorrect information and analyses ... linking petroleum decisions with political objectives."
"These erroneous analyses will undoubtedly be exposed and proven wrong," he said, adding that eventually "others will see that what we are doing will yield the best results for the kingdom."
Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the sharp fall in global oil prices was the result of "treachery," a remark interpreted as a reference to Saudi Arabia.
The Sunni kingdom's rivals are concerned that Saudi Arabia, which is capable of withstanding revenue losses, is forcing lower oil prices to damage their economies.
Naimi said he was optimistic about the future, but that for now the kingdom would maintain its current output for competitive reasons.
"In a situation like this, it is difficult, if not impossible, that the kingdom or OPEC would carry out any action that may result in a reduction of its share in market and an increase of others' shares, at a market time in which it is difficult to control prices," he said. "Thus, we lose the market and lose the prices together."