Saudi Tanker Attack Reveals Oil Market Weakness


In response to a question regarding the reasons behind Turkey's opposition to US's oil sanctions on Iran, the İRAM Center vice director said that Turkey is concerned that the United States sanctions will further destabilize the region as well as Iran, adding that the USA administration's Israeli-oriented approach will create other crises in the region.

An Emirati coast guard vessel passes an oil tanker off the coast of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, on May 13, 2019. Iran is to the north and the UAE and Oman to the south.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in the statement that the attack aimed to undermine maritime freedom and the security of oil supplies to consumers worldwide.

"The team of US military experts was sent to investigate the damages at the request of the UAE, but American officials have not provided any details about what exactly happened or any proof as yet about the possible Iranian involvement in the explosions", The AP added.

Indeed, since the beginning of last month, tensions between Washington and Tehran have ratcheted up significantly. Iran has repeatedly threatened to interrupt oil flows through the narrow strait if it is not allowed to export oil, though such threats have consistently proven to be bluster.

Alarmingly, the possibility is higher now than ever before that hostility in US-Iran relations will escalate into a military confrontation.

The head of the IRGC responded to us movement of military assets into the Persian Gulf as "targets". The economic pressure on Iran is huge, particularly as very few - if at all - countries are willing to risk secondary sanctions by the US.

There are many questions about reports published by various Iranian and Russian media outlets which exaggerated the situation.

"The explosions of Fujairah port could have been carried out by saboteurs from a third country who seek instability in the region", Falahatpisheh said.

The spike in tensions comes a week after Iran announced it was suspending some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear agreement, one year after Trump withdrew from the accord and slapped tough sanctions on the Islamic republic. The ministry' spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying there should be more information about the incident.

But when it came to these unresolved conflicts, as well as one episode in early 2016 involving ten United States sailors who were detained after drifting into Iranian waters while on the way from Kuwait to Bahrain, the JCPOA provided at minimum a foundation for usa officials to reach out to their counterparts in Tehran and advance their interests through the growth of diplomatic channels.

The head of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee tweeted on May 12 that the incidents indicated the fragility of Persian Gulf security, while the head of Iran's Foreign Ministry depicted the incidents as "worrisome".

But imagining such an outcome to a similar scenario at this point is hard. The US also refused to allow Iran to export heavy water surpluses to Oman or swap low-enriched uranium that exceeded 300 kg for yellowcake uranium.

The figure was communicated in recent meetings between Iranian and Western officials, including Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, but has not been set down in writing, four European diplomatic sources said.

It's wise to keep in mind that when communication stops, trouble tends to start.