The vice President of Russian energy giant Lukoil said that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, played an active part in bringing about the OPEC deal to cut oil production. Earlier, Reuters reported that Putin helped OPEC rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia set aside differences. Citing its sources, the news agency reported that Putin’s actions helped smooth the way for the deal as he acted “as intermediary” between Riyadh and Tehran. The Saudis had long insisted that Iran comply with the demand to cut production along with other exporters, while Tehran had continued to insist it should be allowed to restore output, as much of it had been lost during the years the country had spent under Western sanctions. Conflicts in Syria and Yemen have not helped relations between the Sunni kingdom and the Shiite Islamic Republic, and reports state that Saudi and Iranian OPEC negotiators had argued all through the run-up to Wednesday’s meeting. Two days prior to the Vienna gathering, Riyadh warned it would back out of the deal, threatening to boost production if Iran failed to contribute cuts. But according to Reuters, this is where the Russian leader stepped in. Citing a source close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the outlet reports that Putin discussed the deal in a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. After the call, Rouhani and Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh turned to the Ayatollah to explain their strategy, and subsequently received approval.