In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, center, is welcomed by his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, left, during his official arrival ceremony at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno)
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran and Venezuela vowed Saturday to work together to stabilize falling global oil prices as Iran's supreme leader accused "enemies" of using crude prices as a political weapon.
With Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro by his side, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged OPEC members to "neutralize schemes by some powers against OPEC and help stabilize an acceptable oil price in 2015." Maduro also called for OPEC's cooperation in stabilizing oil prices.
Both Iran and Venezuela rely on oil prices to boost their respective economies. Oil prices have plunged more than 55 percent since June to less than $50 a barrel, placing a severe strain on the two countries.
Maduro is touring several OPEC nations to drum up support for a production cut to boost prices. He is to visit Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, to discuss the oil market slump.
"We are making efforts to create a consensus among OPEC members and other oil-producing states, including Russia, to cooperate and use novel mechanisms to reverse the oil price to an acceptable level," Maduro was quoted by Iranian state television as saying.
Maduro later met with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who blamed the freefall in oil prices on "enemies."
"Our common enemies are using oil as a political weapon and they definitely have a role in the sharp fall in oil price," state television quoted Khamenei as saying.
Khamenei did not elaborate, but Shiite power Iran indirectly has blamed the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a regional rival, for pushing down the prices over refusing to cut its production. OPEC as a whole has yet to agree to curb production.