Recent oil tanker attacks in the Gulf could be “leverage” for Iran against sanctions imposed by the U.S. administration on the country’s oil exports, a political expert said.
Iran’s oil exports have been drastically affected by the sanctions through which the White House seeks to bring Tehran’s petroleum revenues to zero.
“US sanctions have caused to slash Iran’s oil exports from around 2.8 million barrels per day [bpd] a year ago to around 400,000 bpd,” political analyst and researcher Ali Bakeer told Anadolu Agency.
Iranian officials have refrained from holding talks with the U.S. although President Donald Trump “is tightening the screws around the regime in Tehran,” Bakeer said.
He said that Iranian officials seek “either to convince Washington to drop its sanctions or to de-escalate the campaign against Tehran.”
Although the U.S. barred its allies from trade with Iran, Tehran vowed to continue exporting its oil and even threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it is prevented from using the strategic Persian Gulf waterway.
On Thursday, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz while setting off from oil-rich Arab Gulf countries en route to the far east.
The Strait of Hormuz is a vital waterway, with roughly one-third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and a fifth of its oil consumption transiting through it each day.
The U.S. officially blamed Iran for Thursday’s attacks on the two Japan-operated oil tankers, an accusation vehemently denied by Tehran.
Thursday’s attacks came a few weeks after four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).