US President Donald Trump has apparently been hoodwinked by Saudi Arabia into believing that the kingdom will be able to make up for a projected drop in Iranian oil exports after the US sanctions take effect in November, Iran’s Press TV reported citing the head of the country’s OPEC governor.
"It seems President Trump has been taken hostage by Saudi Arabia and a few producers when they claimed they can replace 2.5 million barrels per day of Iranian exports, encouraging him to take action against Iran," Hossein Kazempour Ardebili said.
US Back and Forth on Iran Oil Trade
The White House said last month that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had promised Trump to raise oil production and that the kingdom had two million barrels per day of spare capacity to boost output to offset a decline Iranian oil supplies..
Late last month, a senior US State Department official said that countries buying Iranian oil should bring their Iranian crude imports down to zero by the time Washington re-imposes sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s banking and petroleum sectors.
Washington later backed off a bit with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying in July that the United States might grant waivers to countries seeking relief from sanctions the US has threatened to impose.
Trump’s U-Turn on Iran
On Monday, President Trump said he would be willing to meet his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani without preconditions to discuss how to improve ties, but Tehran flatly turned down Trump’s offer dismissing it as worthless and "a humiliation" after he acted to re-impose sanctions on Tehran following the withdrawal from the 2015 landmark nuclear deal.
“Sanctions and pressures are the exact opposite of dialogue,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Tuesday.
Trump’s overture towards Iran came a week after he threatened the country with “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before,” in an all caps tweet.
On May 8, President Donald Trump said he was withdrawing the US from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran and promised to impose the “highest level” of sanctions on the country’s energy, petrochemical and financial sectors despite objections from Europe as well as Russia and China — the other parties to the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).