Saudi Arabia reiterates vow to pursue nuclear weapons if Iran does

10 May, 2018, 14:23 | Author: Nina Hammond
  • Markets are betting companies and consumers can cope with the increase in the price of benchmark US crude

Global crude oil prices on Wednesday hit $77 a barrel, a day after US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran.

The 2015 accord among the U.S., Iran, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and the European Union provided sanctions relief to Tehran in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

The agreement is due to expire at the end of 2018.Saudi Arabia, the world´s largest oil exporter and top OPEC producer, is concerned about any negative impact from the possible supply shortage on oil-consuming countries, the OPEC source said.

Indian refiners said on Wednesday they were in no hurry to replace Iranian oil with alternatives, counting on the fact that many Western countries have so far declined to join the United States in pulling out of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Despite Riyadh's assurances to find a replacement for Iranian oil production, the oil price did not remain stagnant, rising 3.2 percent up to $71.25 (futures for June) per barrel on May 9.

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Trump's claim that his withdrawal decision from the Iran deal will strengthen his hand in negotiating a better Iran deal is yet to be proven. Preventing the two countries from having a nuclear-weapon capability and competing in a nuclear arms race is the goal.

"All parties have an interest to act with restraint and wisdom in the face of this situation and to try to resolve conflicts through dialogue", its foreign ministry said.

Middle East analyst James Dorsey, a senior fellow at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said any economic showdown will force Gulf states to weigh their responses. At the core of the USA sanctions is a threat to cut-off companies that deal with Iran or its companies from the U.S. banking system. The JCPOA is in America's interest - it has significantly rolled back Iran's nuclear program.

"It's going to weaken Iran, the [Yemeni rebels, the] Houthis, [the Shiite movement] Hezbollah and by default that's good for the UAE, that's good for Saudi Arabia and that's good regional stability - period". "The main battlegrounds. Iran does not want to lose are Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and for Saudi Arabia winning in Yemen would be a boon but that's unlikely", she told Fairfax Media.

An official spokesman for the energy ministry said Tuesday that following the US decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran, Saudi Arabia "would work with major producers within and outside OPEC, as well as major consumers to mitigate the impact of any potential supply shortages".

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