Saudi Arabia and UAE will not be able to alienate China from Iran: expert
Azerbaijan, Baku, October 21 / Trend , U.Sadikhova /
Despite that the oil-rich Persian Gulf countries are interested in strengthening sanctions against Iran for suspending its nuclear program and attempts of these countries to alienate official Beijing from Tehran by increasing oil exports to China from these countries do not reflect the real situation.
As the Wall Street Journal reported on 20 October, U.S. officials have persuaded the United Arab Emirates to export to China 150,000 to 200,000 additional barrels of oil per day and Saudi Arabia to also boost oil exports to China.
This step of the U.S. aims to reduce oil imports into China from Iran, but how this plan can be a reality remains question, Raymond Tanter, former senior staffer of the National Security Council, told Trend .
Currently Iran exports 540,000 barrels of oil to China per day.
The additional exports are meant to offset Chinese fears of losing oil imports from Iran if China joins Western powers in implementing crippling sanctions on Tehran, Tanter, President of Iran Policy Committee at University of Michigan, said.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have a strong interest in ensuring that Iran does not become a nuclear weapons state and in curtailing the Iranian regime's negative influence in the Persian Gulf, he said.
Considering that Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are members of OPEC, these countries can face with problems in increasing oil production, since a certain limit in oil exports has been established for OPEC member countries.
According to Tanter, Saudi Arabia, because of its enormous reserves has traditionally had an interest in long term price stability at the expense of short term export surges. In this respect, Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative OPEC members in terms of keeping quotas low, while smaller, cash-strapped OPEC members lobby for increased short term production.
"It is likely that any enhanced exports to China will be nominal rather than decisive," American expert said.
According to him, China also has tens of billions of long term investment dollars in Iran's energy sector, which represent an enormous opportunity cost irrespective of Beijing's short-term need for Iranian crude oil.
According to the expert, even if Saudi Arabia and the UAE could ensure a steady supply of crude to China absent Iranian exports, Beijing would still have to weigh the cost of forgoing such investments to participate in sanctioning the Iranian regime.
Six superpowers of the world - members of the UN Security Council have adopted five resolutions against Iran in order to suspend country's nuclear program. Three of them envisage sanctions against Iran. Also, in addition to UN Security Council resolutions, the U.S. and some EU countries introduced even broader sanctions against Tehran.