Khashoggi scandal not to affect US-Saudi cooperation against Iran: Mammadov

TEHRAN, Oct. 25 (MNA) – Energy scholar at the Middle East Institute says as Washington and Riyadh share the same strategic goals against Iran, Saudi Arabia will continue to remain loyal to her pledge to offset the lost volumes from Iran.  

Following the brutal killing of Saudi Journalist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, There have been lots of tensions between Saudi rulers and their western allies particularly the US.

The US President Donald Trump has had different contradictory and weak stances towards the scandal. Despite threatening serious punishments against killers of the Saudi journalist at the same time Trump calls the Saudi regime as an important ally for confronting Iran.

The resident scholar on energy policy at the Middle East Institute in the US, Rauf Mammadov was interviewed about the issue.

Commenting on the timing of the scandal, Mammadov said, “The timing of J.Khashoggi scandal could not have been worse for the United States and, particularly, for the Trump administration.  Less than a month to go to the midterm congressional elections and to the second phase of the Iranian sanctions, the administration is now obliged to damage control a serious foreign policy issue stemmed from the actions by subjects of a sovereign state, a strategic ally, conducted within the borders of another sovereign state.”

He added, “Moreover, Riyadh's inconsistent and incompetent handling of the crisis has made the matters even more complicated. As this unprecedented blunder continues to linger in the domestic political agenda, White House is cornered to walk a tightrope trying to navigate through a very complex situation. Evidently, it is becoming a serious challenge for the Trump administration to find the solutions to the problem. The administration is caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, it has to preserve the credibility of the United States as a leader of the free world, while on the other hand, to calibrate a legitimate response without inflicting serious damages to its relations with pivotal state in the region.”

He also commented on the possible effect of the scandal on the US and Saudi Arabia cooperation to isolate Iran said, “Nevertheless, the issue is not expected to have an immediate impact on the U.S.-Saudi relations, especially, when it concerns Iran sanctions. As Washington and Riyadh share the same strategic goals against Iran, Saudi Arabia will continue to remain loyal to her pledge to offset the lost volumes from Iran.   Recently in his interview to Bloomberg, Saudi crown-prince Mohammad Bin Salman stated that Riyadh has kept its word to offset lost Iranian volumes (1,5 million barrels for lost 700 thousand barrels), and will continue to do so if there are further volume cuts.  Although maintaining Saudi Arabia's allegiance against Iran is one of the key elements that will determine the effectiveness of the sanctions, it is not the only variable in this equation. In the end, it will all depend on to what extent Chinese, Indian and European refineries will comply with the sanctions.”

Interview by Payman Yazdani

News Code 139008

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