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Diplomatic sources fear that a conflict may break out by accident due to the increase in tensions in the area.
Saudi Arabia has denounced the attack on two of its tankers near the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. The news confirms that the two vessels were among the four that the United Arab Emirates reported had been subject to sabotage in the midst of increased tensions in the Persian Gulf.
Khalid al-Falih, the Saudi energy minister, said yesterday that the attack on Saudi oil tankers had occurred on the shores of Fujairah, one of the seven emirates that make up the Arab Emirates. Al-Falih explained that there had been no casualties or oil spills, but that the attacks had caused “considerable damage to the structure of the vessels.”
A day earlier, the Arab Emirates had reported the “sabotage” of four commercial vessels in Fuyaira, the largest tanker refueling center in the area and a point of forced passage for the region’s crude exports.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, the main Arab states that support the efforts of the Trump administration to reduce Iran’s influence in the region, did not indicate who they considered responsible for the attacks. Nor did they give more details about the nature of the attacks, and no group has claimed authorship.
Tehran distanced itself from the incident and warned of instability in the area. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday that the incident was “worrying” and “regrettable”. The attacks will aggravate the fear that the Persian Gulf routes, crucial for a large part of world oil exports, could become a focus of conflict in the face of escalating tensions between the US, its Arab allies and Iran.
Brent yesterday traded at a maximum of five sessions. The price of oil rose by 1.5% and reached $ 72.58, its biggest one-day rise in about a month. The Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia said the attacks were a “dangerous threat to the safety of navigation and affect regional and international security.” Earlier in London, the European benchmark was up almost 1% to $ 71.28 a barrel. The West Texas Intermediate, the US indicator, rose to $ 61.90 a barrel.
Falih called on the international community to protect maritime navigation and the safety of oil tankers to avoid “adverse consequences” for the energy markets and the global economy. Riyadh said one of the oil tankers attacked had to carry Saudi crude in the port of Ras Tanura to the US.
The head of the National Security Committee of the Iranian Parliament, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, believes that the Gulf states are responsible for turning the region into a militarized zone and increasing its vulnerability.
“There are groups that are interested in increasing insecurity in the area, Iran and the United States have to negotiate without intermediaries so that third parties can not exploit the situation,” Falahatpisheh explained.
While Donald Trump increases the pressure on Iran by promising to end its oil exports, the Iranian authorities regretted not being able to transport their oil through the Strait of Hormuz.
Washington has increased the pressure on the Islamic Republic since the US president unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear agreement signed by Tehran in 2015.
The British Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jeremy Hunt, expressed his concern about the risk of an accident conflict in the face of tension in the area. Before the meeting in Brussels between European diplomats and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Hunt declared that “we have to make sure that Iran does not resume the path towards nuclearization, it would be a serious setback”.
Last month, Trump said he will do everything in his power to have the sanctions stifle the Islamic Republic. Although Washington and Tehran insist that they do not want an armed conflict. the increase in tensions could lead to confrontations, direct or indirect.
The Brent reaches more than 72 dollars
The barrel of Brent rose by 1.5% yesterday, reaching $ 72.58, after the attack on Saudi Arabian plants. But the concern about the upsurge of the commercial war made it oscillate as the day progressed, to settle at 70 dollars, more than 0.6% less than Friday (70.86 dollars).