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Ready to deal, Saudi Arabia waits on Iran

The kingdom is ready to ditch its laissez-fair market strategy and cut production. Iran needs to come on board, but an agreement is close

The guts of an Opec deal to remove up to 1m barrels a day of oil from the market are in place. It may take several weeks for the terms to be ironed out but Saudi Arabia has signalled that the period of Opec passivity is over. Russia is on board with the deal and its energy minister Alexander Novak says it will freeze its output, “once Opec agrees”. Iran remains the final obstacle and is sticking to its wish to recover pre-sanctions production levels. But it is understood to be flexible and the mood within Opec is upbeat. Secretary-general Mohammed Barkindo is said to be “cautiously optimistic”. Khalid al-Falih, the Saudi oil minister, says the agreement “will give clarity to the market”. T

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