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U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry and his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih accused Iran of trying to destabilize global oil markets during a recent meeting.
“Secretary Perry and Minister Al-Falih reaffirmed that as two of the world’s top suppliers of oil, the United States and Saudi Arabia will continue to work together to ensure that world oil markets remain well supplied to offset disruptions, especially in light of Iran’s aggressive efforts to destabilize them,” the Department of Energy statement on the two officials’ meeting said.
Iran has been making headlines lately mostly with the seizure of a UK-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in response to the seizure of one of its own tankers by the authorities of Gibraltar.
The first attempt of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corpse to seize a British-flagged vessel failed but the second was successful. The Iranian military seized the Stena Impero in mid-July and since then the two countries have been locked in none too friendly discussions about next steps.
This string of events led Iran’s regional archrival Saudi Arabia to accuse the country of threatening global oil supply and called on world governments to act against it.
“Any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister said after the seizure of the Stena Impero. “Iran must realize that its acts of intercepting ships, including most recently the British ship, are completely unacceptable.”
Despite the bilateral hostility, however, Saudi Arabia recently returned to Iran a vessel that had docked at the port of Jeddah in May. Iranian media earlier this year accused Riyadh of holding the vessel hostage and demanding what was effectively a ransom to release it. Now, Iran thanked the Saudis for releasing the vessel.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.