OREANDA-NEWS. Iranian oil output will return to pre-sanctions levels of "above 4mn b/d" within two months, state-owned NIOC managing director Rokneddin Javadi said, in comments that suggest Iran could soon be willing to join a multi-nation initiative to freeze oil production to support oil prices.

Iran has stated many times that it would be willing to participate in such an initiative only after it raises production back to pre-sanctions levels. Javadi said today that mark will be reached by the end of the Iranian month of Khordad, or 20 June, as NIOC's biggest producing subsidiary National Iranian South Oil (NISOC) continues to ramp up production.

With all nuclear sanctions on Iran lifted in January, the oil ministry and NIOC have been working to raise production and exports to win back the market share it lost while it was under sanctions. Javadi said on 16 April that Iran's oil output had already surpassed 3.5mn b/d.

Javadi's comments come two days after 18 Opec and non-Opec producers failed to agree on a long-mooted deal to freeze production in an effort to stabilize prices. Several delegations at the 17 April meeting in Doha insisted at the eleventh hour that Iran be part of the deal. Iran did not send a representative to the meeting.

Also today, Iran's oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Iran holds no responsibility for the current slump in oil prices, laying the blame firmly at the door of those countries that "flooded the market."

"Today there is more than 2mn b/d oversupply in the oil market, which is behind the fall in the oil prices," Zanganeh said. "Iran had no part to play in the current instability in the market, [but] those who are responsible and who flooded the market are running away [from the responsibility]."