A report that Iran may support joint action to prop up oil prices caused a jump in crude prices on August 23.
Reuters reported that OPEC officials who have talked with Iranian authorities said Tehran would be willing to go along with a joint production freeze at an OPEC summit next month, now that it is near achieving its presanctions level of oil output of 4 million barrels a day.
"If this freezing issue helps prices to improve, Iran by positive words of support will help," an official from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries told Reuters.
Tehran's refusal to go along led to the collapse in April of previous talks between OPEC and Russia on freezing production.
Since that time, premium crude prices have risen above the below-$30 a barrel levels they touched in January, but they have remained stubbornly below the $50 threshold sought by many oil producers.
The report of Iranian cooperation sent prices up 80 cents to $49.96 a barrel in London trading on August 23.
Freed by the lifting of international sanctions in January, Iran currently pumps 3.6 million barrels a day and expects to attain presanctions output levels soon.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP