Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Saudi Arabia ready to ease oil concerns

Saudi Arabia ready to ease oil concerns

President donaldtrump's withdrawal against the Iran nuclear deal is probably going to exacerbate tensions between two of earth's most important oil manufacturers at next month's OPEC meeting, one analyst advised CNBC Wednesday.

"Paris and London may not like Trump's decision, but how would the French or British feel if their capital cities came under direct threat by the Iranians?" "We have made it very clear, if Iran acquires nuclear capability, we will do everything we can to do the same". It is interfering in Syria, Yemen, Morocco.

An hour later, at least four loud blasts rocked Riyadh.

Several Asian refiners told Reuters that they were already on the lookout for alternatives to Iranian crude oil deliveries.

The result has been a sharp increase in prices, which has been broadly welcomed by OPEC members, especially Saudi Arabia, which needs the revenues to pay for its ambitious transformation programme.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry accused Iran of using economic gains from the lifting of sanctions to develop ballistic missiles and support militants.

"The Kingdom asserts its commitment to work with its partners in the United States and the worldwide community to reach the goals announced by President Trump, and the necessity to address the dangers posed by the policies of Iran on global peace and security through a holistic approach, that is not limited to its nuclear program, but addresses its hostile activities, including Iran's interference in the internal affairs of countries in the region, its support of terrorism, and to prevent Iran from ever possessing weapons of mass destruction", it later added.

In response to Trump's move, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Iran could ramp up its nuclear program.

Oman, which orchestrated secret US-Iran contacts that helped pave the way for the deal in 2015, was more measured.

Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen stressed the importance that the U.S. decision would lead to addressing the danger being posed by Iran's policies to destabilize the security and stability of Islamic countries.

The nation's energy ministry addressed the issue in a statement carried by the state-run news agency. Qatar denies the accusations.

In theory, too, the United States is open to granting waivers to importers of Iranian crude, provided they show some willingness to reduce their purchases.

In his speech on Tuesday, Trump condemned Iran's "sinister activities" including backing armed Islamist groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The US Treasury Department said there will be "certain 90-day and 180-day wind-down periods" after which the anti-Iran sanctions will be in "full effect", including sanctions against Iran's oil sector.

The Saudi foreign minister responded they will do "whatever it takes to protect our people".

Iran has, according to Politifact, largely complied with the 2015 deal.

"We hope the region will remain stable and I personally think this matter will not affect oil supplies from the Gulf", he said.

Chen Zak Kane is director of the Middle East Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, DC.

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