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Amid Tensions, Iran's Oil Minister Calls Saudi Counterpart 'A Friend'

FILE - Bijan Zanganeh, Iran's Petroleum Minister.
MOSCOW, Oct 2 (Reuters) -

Iran's oil minister sought to defuse tensions with Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, calling his counterpart in Riyadh 'a friend' and saying Tehran was committed to stability in the region.

Iran and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly clashed at OPEC meetings over output policies, and tensions between the two countries have flared as Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14., a charge Tehran denies.

The attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities remains in the spotlight as it sent OPEC's oil output to an eight-year low in September, deepening the impact of a supply pact and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, speaking at an energy conference in Moscow, denied Tehran was trying to raise tensions in the region and spoke warmly of Prince Abdulaziz, a senior member of Saudi royal family who became energy minister last month.

"Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has been a friend for over 22 years," Zanganeh said.

Commenting on the attack on Saudi oil facilities, which sent oil prices soaring, Zanganeh said the issue should not be addressed by raising political pressure on Tehran.

When asked how would markets react if Iran was attacked, Zanganeh said: "I hope I will never be a witness to this."

"We believe unilateralism doesn't work and the increase of pressure on Iran is not the solution for the stable situation and the peaceful environment in the region and for the world and for the security of supply of oil and gas."

Zanganeh said no extraordinary meeting of the world's leading oil suppliers was needed for now as Saudi Arabia had restored output and the global oil market was in a normal condition following the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure.

Looking ahead to 2020, Zaganeh said there were risks of excessive oil supply on the market.

Speaking to reporters earlier on Wednesday, Zanganeh said that Iran always tries "to keep the security of the Persian Gulf and stability and peace in the region."