Iraq is demonstrating its unique position in the Middle East again, flexing its new diplomatic muscle to resolve an oil exporting crisis between the West, OPEC and Iran, according to this article from NIQASH. But who’s behind these efforts: Iran, the US or Iraq itself?
Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
As the current head of OPEC, Iraq is testing its diplomatic mettle further, by mediating between the oil exporters in the Gulf countries, the EU and neighbouring Iran.
The crisis that Iraq is dealing with involves Iran and Saudi Arabia and oil exports from throughout the region. Recently, the countries of the European Union agreed to impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, banning the signing of any long term oil export contracts come July 1, 2012. The move was intended to put pressure on Iraq because if its plans to build up nuclear capacities.
And the July deadline was supposed to give the EU members nations time to find alternative supplies. However Iran then decided to cease oil exports to the UK and France earlier, as way of increasing pressure on the Europeans, pre-empting their ban – although apparently the gesture was largely symbolic as both nations had already stopped buying Iranian oil.
The other thing that Iran has done is threaten to close the Hormuz Strait, one of the most important shipping channels in the world; around one fifth of all crude oil passes through the narrow shipping channel, which lies between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.