According to a report from the semi-official Fars news agency, Iran stated on Thursday that an increase in the prices of oil to more than $55 per barrel was not in the interest of OPEC as it would lead to an increase in production of oil by non-OPEC producers.
"If oil prices specifically surge over $55 or $60 per barrel, non-OPEC producers will increase their crude production to benefit the most from the price hike," said Iranian Oil Minister BijanZanganeh as quoted by Fars.
"OPEC is determined to reduce its production to help manage the market."
Brent crude oil, the benchmark price for oil, traded up $1.18 per barrel at $57.02.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil went down 0.26 percent or 14 cents to $54.31 per barrel.
On November 30, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries came to an agreement to reduce oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day for the first six month of this year, in addition to 558,000 barrels per day of cuts pledged by independent producers of oil such as Russia and Oman.
OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo stated that January data showed compliance from participating OPEC nations with output curbs had been above 90 percent and oil inventories would be reduced further into the year.
Iran was excluded from the production cut as Tehran explained its output should be allowed to recover after the lifting of international sanctions in January last year.