The oil battle has begun

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

Iran has a fleet of giant tankers currently roaming the seas in what seems to be the journey of the last six weeks before the American ban.

Few days ago, several sources noticed the disappearance of dozens of giant Iranian ships that were detected in the sea and which each has a cargo of 2 million barrels of oil.

There is no trace of them as it’s believed that they turned off their transponders so the “enemy” cannot detect them and keep track of them.

The pursue is on again, and Iran has gone back to the game of hiding. It doesn’t want anyone to monitor the activity of its oil sales amid the sword of American sanctions that’s directed against anyone who buys the prohibited oil.

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Oil is the most important weapon hence the directors of oil companies had to step aside so politicians can manage it. The Iranian regime relies on it to a great extent in managing its republic.

Around 50 percent of its budget is from foreign oil sales and more than 30 percent is collected from taxes and fees which oil plays a huge role in.

In addition to all that, major goods like bread and cheap fuel, are also supported by the dollars from oil. Of course, this is common among all the petroleum-exporting countries in the region but Iran is the only country that’s banned and it will face difficulties in marketing 2.5 millions of barrels a day due to the American sanctions against it.

Iran has an extremist, religious, ideological, security and military regime whose mentality resembles that of the Baathist Saddam Hussein regime

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Monitoring devices

Even after turning off their transponders, the ghost tankers will continue to be pursued via ground-based and space-based monitoring devices to know who will buy, for how much and how they will pay and to estimate the extent of violations of the sanctions.

Iran hopes to sell its crude oil to Russia which will sell it in the market after it passes it through its refineries, and there are expectations that China will buy from it.

Prior to the sanctions, major oil-producing states took preparations to cover the shortage of Iranian oil and to prevent fear and rumors from leading to an increase in prices and to harming the global economy.

Oil is also Iran’s weapon just like it’s the Americans’ weapon, and Iran hopes the ban on it will increase prices and in fact the price increased to more than $80 per barrel and it’s not unlikely that it reaches $100. Keep in mind that the price of the barrel hit a record high at $140 10 years ago.

Important weapon

The increase of its price may force the Americans to retreat thus thwarting the most important weapon they have. Saudi Arabia is the only one that’s capable of defeating Iran by meeting the need of buyers hence controlling the price and thwarting Iran’s scenario of fear and increase of prices.

Let’s not rush the results because even if Iran’s revenues decline, it may not bow and submit to the 12 American conditions which include giving up on its nuclear program and ending its foreign military interferences. The issue is not this simple.

The Iranian regime is an extremist, religious, ideological, security and military regime whose mentality resembles that of the Baathist Saddam Hussein regime on which economic international sanctions were imposed for a long time but it remained stubborn despite the Iraqi people’s suffering and settled with funding the circle of governance.

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The Tehran regime will adopt the strategy of waiting for relief and it will neglect people and leave them suffering and confronting the crisis.

Despite all this, the front of confrontation, in Washington, is aware that the decrease of the revenues of the Khamenei regime will decrease the latter’s military capabilities and internally weaken it.

At this point, waiting becomes everyone’s game and it remains a dangerous gamble on the Iranian command.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.