TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ International markets are not facing an oil shortage and there is no need to raise production to bring prices down, Iran's oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, was quoted Monday as saying.

Iran has been siding with Libya and Algeria in opposing any move by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase production to ease soaring gasoline and fuel oil prices.

``All market parameters have failed to prove a crude shortfall in the second quarter of 2000 due to a seasonal drop in demand,'' the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Zanganeh as saying.

Zanganeh said prices, which have topped $30 a barrel recently, will experience a downward trend in coming months.

He said Iran was looking for market stability and wants to safeguard the long-run interests of both oil producers and consumers.

Western consuming countries, primarily the United States, have urged oil-exporting countries to raise production in the second quarter, which begins in April.

OPEC members including Iran are to discuss whether to maintain their reduced quotas at a meeting March 27 in Vienna.