Ball in europe's court on snap back sanctions
july 15, 2019
Iran is now in violation of its obligations under the JCPOA accord, and that allows Washington or other signatories to bring the issue to the United Nations Security Council under the terms of the resolution, UNSCR 2231, that endorsed that agreement. Under the UN resolution, sanctions could be "snapped back" onto Iran. Europe's approach is to recommend more dialogue including the U.S. and Iran, so more sanctions are not yet on the table.
U.S. Struggles to build coalition against iran
july 1, 2019
The standoff between the United States and Iran continues with no end in sight. The U.S. Administration is trying to build a coalition of countries to monitor if not protect shipping in the Persian Gulf. The effort faces obstacles, and it is not clear that, if implemented, it will have a significant impact on the safety of merchant traffic, let alone contribute to a broader reduction in tensions.
will iran retaliate
may 6, 2019
As the U.S. deploys military assets to the Arab Gulf region, and continues to increase the pressure on Iran, will Iran retaliate? Closing the Straits of Hormuz is what first comes to mind, but that step would not really help Iran beyond showing its resistance to the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf. Moreover, it can be overcome by a U.S. military response. Cyber-attacks on its neighbors, especially their oil facilities, would be more subtle and deniable. As Iran’s economy deteriorates, the likelihood of some form of retaliation is growing.
president trump targets iran and complicates libya
april 22, 2019
President Trump continues to adopt policies that have a bearing on key oil producers. Continued rumors that the Administration will eliminate waivers on Iranian sanctions dovetail with his tough position vis a vis the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Meanwhile, President Trump’s apparent support of General Haftar in Libya is a bit of a surprise. The President’s posture towards both Iran and Libya seem generally in line with Saudi interests. Could this mean a quid pro quo on Iranian production? For the moment we continue to believe the waivers will not be reduced to zero, but it is hard to anticipate the next steps of such a quixotic president.
competition drowning out collaboration in 2019
january 21, 2019
As 2019 stretches out ahead of us, the World Economic Forum will meet this week and is likely to highlight the rise of competition over collaboration between countries, and the implications for the global economy. The global oil market is not immune to these forces. Notwithstanding the “cooperation” represented by the recent OPEC deal, falling OPEC exports and rising US exports will be unsettling this year. Competition in the oil markets is likely to intensify by the end of 2019. That is generally bearish for oil prices.