Saudi Arabia backs US move to halt all Iranian oil sales

Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, above, said the international community must continue their pressures on Iran. (AFP/File)
Updated 24 April 2019

Saudi Arabia backs US move to halt all Iranian oil sales

  • ‘Panic in Tehran’ as Trump ends exemptions from economic sanctions on May 2
  • The Saudi minister said Iran uses state income to finance their dangerous policies

JEDDAH: Iran on Tuesday designated the US military’s Central Command a terrorist organization, accused Washington of sponsoring terrorism and repeated its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz.

It was Tehran’s response to US blacklisting this month of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and President Donald Trump’s move on Monday to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, costing the country $15 billion a year in lost revenue.

The reaction is a sign of panic in the Iranian regime, the Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist Dr. Majid Rafizadeh told Arab News.

“This highlights the fact that the Iranian leaders are extremely concerned about the US sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic,” he said. “They have been feeling significant pressure from loss of revenues, a decline in oil exports, isolation of the IRGC, and dissatisfaction of the Iranian public with the regime.”

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday welcomed the US announcement that eight countries’ exemptions from economic sanctions against buyers of Iranian oil would end on May 2.

“Saudi Arabia fully supports this step taken by the United States as it is necessary to force the Iranian regime to end its policy of destabilizing the region and its support and sponsorship of terrorism around the world,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim bin Abdul Aziz Al-Assaf said.

The Iranian regime used its oil income to finance dangerous policies without any consideration for international law, the minister said, and international pressure must continue until it stopped interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries.

Iran’s Parliament passed legislation on Tuesday requiring the government “to take firm and retaliatory measures against terrorist activities of American forces that endangers Iran’s interests.”

“The government should use legal, political and diplomatic measures in response to the American actions,” it said.

The new chief commander of the IRGC, Hossein Salami, appointed after the US blacklisting, has warned that Iran could use its cruise and ballistic missiles and drones, mines, speedboats, and missile launchers in the Gulf area to confront the US.

He repeated the threat that Tehran would block all exports through the Strait of Hormuz if Tehran were barred from using the waterway, where a fifth of global oil consumption passes.

The US on Tuesday urged Iran to keep the strait open. “We call on Iran, and all countries, to respect the free flow of energy and commerce, and freedom of navigation,” a State Department spokesman said.

Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said the US had made a mistake by politicizing oil. “With all our power, we will work toward breaking America’s sanctions,” he said.


Saudi crown prince meets deputy head of Sudan’s transitional council

Updated 37 min 52 sec ago

Saudi crown prince meets deputy head of Sudan’s transitional council

  • The two leaders discussed cooperation between their countries
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE had earlier pledged to send $3 billion worth of aid to Sudan

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met the deputy head of Sudan’s transitional military council who is visiting Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Press Agency said early Friday.

The meeting between the crown prince and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who goes by the nickname Hemedti, was held in Jeddah, where they discussed cooperation between the two countries, the report said.

Dagalo was accompanied by the official spokesman of the Sudanese Military Council General Shamsaddin Kabbashi, it said.

With the crown prince during the meeting were Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet; and Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Member of the Cabinet.

The crown prince, who is also deputy prime minister and defense minister, discussed with Dagalo bilateral cooperation between the two countries in addition to latest developments at the regional arena.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE had earlier pledged to send $3 billion worth of aid to help Sudan recover after mass protests that had led to the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir last month.

Last Sunday, the two Gulf allies deposited $500 million into Sudan’s Central Bank, the first installment of the joint package of aid.

The move will strengthen Sudan’s “financial position, alleviate pressure on the Sudanese pound and achieve more stability in the exchange rate," said a statement by the Saudi Finance Ministry

It said the remaining amount will be allocated to meet the urgent needs of the Sudanese people, including food, medications and oil derivatives.

SPA said the Sudanese leaders departed Jeddah after the meeting and were seen off Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, governor of Makkah province and senior adviser to the royal court.