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Saudis hatching new Iran oil plot?

THE IRAN PROJECT-

8

BY PRESS TV-

Concerns are rising in Iran’s media that the deterioration of diplomatic ties between Tehran and Riyadh as a result of the fallout from the execution of the top Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia could eventually undermine Iran’s plans to export oil to Europe once the sanctions are lifted.

The Persian-language Afkar Khabar news agency in an editorial has highlighted concerns that Djibouti could raise the fee for Iran to ship its oil through the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait toward European markets.

This, Afkar Khabar added, could be carried out as a result of pressures from Saudi Arabia on Djibouti.

The news agency has further called on Iranian officials to take the appropriate measures to counter this.

An immediate move to this effect is particularly important given that Iran has already marketed a share of its future oil exports in a post-sanctions era.

Iranian officials have previously said the country would increase its oil production by at least 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) within a short time after the removal of anti-Iran sanctions.

Iran plans to export at least 40 percent of its post-sanctions oil production– equal to about 200,000-220,000 bpd – to Europe. The plan, nevertheless, could be undermined if Djibouti raises the transit fee for Iranian tankers.

No exact date for the removal of the sanctions has been set. However, officials in Tehran have emphasized that it could take place before the end of January.

Iran’s oil tankers would traditionally cross the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait toward Egypt’s Ain Sukhna terminal along the Red Sea coast. The oil would then be flown northward through SUMED Pipeline, or Suez-Mediterranean Pipeline, northward the Sidi Kerir terminal on the Mediterranean Sea before being taken into tankers for shipment toward Europe.

Afkar Khabar emphasized that Iran plans to export at least 40 percent of its post-sanctions oil production– equal to about 200,000-220,000 bpd – to Europe. The plan, nevertheless, could be undermined if Djibouti raises the transit fee for Iranian tankers.

Iran’s media are reporting that Djibouti has followed Saudi Arabia’s suit and cut all diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic. This is yet to be officially confirmed.