Iran vows to thwart U.S. efforts to block its oil exports

Anna Jefferson
July 6, 2018

Having failed to persuade the other parties to the Iran nuclear deal to abandon it, Trump has decided instead to bully them into acting the way he wants, Julian Lee points out in his Bloomberg column. The move lower is attributable to Saudi Arabia's willingness to increase demand at the request of US President Donald Trump.

"Your tweets have driven the prices up by at least US$10 per barrel", Iran's OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said in a message to Trump, carried by Iranian Oil Ministry's Shana news service.

"Our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales", Hook, the State Department's director of policy and planning, told reporters. An increase in any nation's output beyond limits that OPEC set in 2016 would breach the agreement, he said.

If Trump's tweets are taken as policy, it means the USA is assuming a 2 million barrel-a-day increase is readily available from the Saudis, a relationship that has already been leveraged "to the maximum extent".

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Foreign ministers from the five remaining signatories of a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers will meet Iranian officials in Vienna to discuss how to keep the accord alive after the USA withdrawal from the pact.

Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri on Sunday warned its rival OPEC producer Saudi Arabia it would never take Tehran's "place" on the global oil market.

Saudi Arabia last month led the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russian Federation into a deal aimed at cooling prices. Both the administration and the Saudis later clarified the dialogue between the two sides, explaining that Saudi Arabia stated it has 2 Mbd of extra capacity to add global markets when necessary.

Despite the apparent supply relief from Saudi Arabia, oil markets remain tense over escalating trade disputes between the United States and other major economies including China, the European Union, India and Canada, as well as the looming new USA sanctions against Iran.

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Reid said that he expected oil to stay around its current price, with a possible increase to $80 a barrel. This track record is important because US lawmakers have resurrected the "No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act", or NOPEC, which could make the group subject to the Sherman antitrust law, used more than a century ago to break up the oil empire of John Rockefeller.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, said Tuesday it was prepared to use its spare production capacity, estimated at two million barrels, to balance the global oil market.

Rising gasoline prices could create a political headache for Trump ahead of the November elections by offsetting Republican claims that his tax cuts and rollbacks of federal regulations have helped boost the economy.

China is the largest importer of Iranian oil with 24 percent, followed by India with 18 percent.

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