Iran’s Reaction to the OPEC+ Output Deal Reeks of Desperation
Iran had a fiery reaction to the OPEC+ output agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The country’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri ominously warned that “Anyone trying to take away Iran’s oil market (share) would be committing great treachery against Iran and will one day pay for it”, in a message clearly designed to deter its energy rivals from taking advantage of Trump’s upcoming sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The American leader recently promised to sanction EU companies that continue to do business with Iran, and it’s already informed the country’s two largest oil partners – China and India – that they could face punitive measures too if they don’t curtail their imports. It remains to be seen how effective the US’ “secondary sanctions” threats will be, but they’ll more than likely have the effect of removing substantial amounts of Iranian oil from the market, thereby spiking global prices unless other countries increase their output in response, which is exactly what Russia and Saudi Arabia plan to do per their latest OPEC+ deal.
Neither country wants oil prices to get high enough that they make American fracking operations profitable again because the US could then try to take some of their own market shares, which is why both unlikely Great Power partners agreed to increase their output before the sanctions come into effect, though with the trade-off being that this will inevitably cut into Iran’s market share whether they intend for this to happen or not. The global energy industry is a cutthroat business where everyone is trying to one-up everyone else, so it’s natural for these dynamics to occur even between friendly countries like Russia and Iran. As they saying goes, “business is business”, but that doesn’t explain why Jahangiri reacted so strongly to what happened by obviously implying that Russia and Saudi Arabia are the ones “committing great treachery against Iran and will one day pay for it”.
This isn’t just business for Iran, but geopolitics, and Trump’s sanctions war against the Islamic Republic could turn into an existential threat for its leadership if it succeeds in exacerbating the country’s economic problems to the point where countless protests start mushrooming across the state and pose a real danger to its overall stability given the possible Color Revolution processes involved. For that reason, Iran regards Russia and Saudi Arabia’s OPEC+ output deal and its resultant consequences of cutting into its market share as a strategic threat, though its characteristic over-the-top rhetoric doesn’t imply any imminent danger to either of these two but should instead be interpreted more as a domestic political signal intended to desperately redirect growing public rage away from the authorities and against the international community.