MOSCOW Russia and Iran have pledged to continue efforts to rein in oil production and stabilize markets, the presidents of both countries said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other large producers, led by Russia, had agreed in December to cut their combined output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to reduce bloated oil inventories and support prices.
Iran, however, successfully argued that it should not limit production that was slowly starting to recover after the lifting of international sanctions in January last year.
"Russia and Iran will continue cooperation in this sphere (in oil output cuts) in order to stabilize the global energy market and ensure stable economic growth," the statement from Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani said.
They two presidents met in the Kremlin and also discussed Syrian crisis among other issues.
Russia has pledged to cut oil output by 300,000 bpd in the first half of the year.
On Sunday OPEC and non-OPEC oil ministers, including Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, discussed the implementation of the December deal but stopped short of recommending that cuts be extended into the second half of the year.
Earlier on Tuesday Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters in Moscow that a global deal is likely to be extended, but time was needed to discuss the subject thoroughly.
"It seems that most of the OPEC and non-OPEC (countries) are going to extend the agreement, but time is needed to evaluate the situation and to have face-to-face meetings and discussions with others," Zanganeh said.
Asked whether Iran would be ready to cut its own output under the possible extension, Zanganeh said: "I think it is necessary that all members comply with their commitments."
Iran's oil production stands close to 3.8 million bpd, he said.
(Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by David Goodman)