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Inside Story
The cost of Iranian oil
As pressure mounts on China to reduce its reliance on Iranian oil, will Arab countries be able to pick up the slack?
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2012 11:53

World leaders and energy experts are convening in Abu Dhabi for the fifth World Energy Summit.

"There will not be an embargo or a stoppage of Iranian oil exports because the biggest loser will be the US. We are also in the worst recession since the 1930s and the price has hovered between $110 and $130 [per barrel] for a whole year. I project a price of $150 to $170 in the next three to four years even without an embargo or closure of the Strait of Hormuz."

- Mamdouh Salameh, an economist/oil expert

About 650 delegates from 53 countries are at the four-day conference.

All eyes are likely to be on Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, who is currently on a six-day tour of the Gulf region.

With the West threatening new economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, China is under pressure to reduce its reliance on Iranian oil.

But Beijing is refusing to link business deals with Tehran's nuclear aspirations.

China has rarely bowed to western pressures and has been doing business with Iran since its revolution.

But could Arab countries offset any drop in Iran's exports to oil-thirsty China? And at what price?

Inside Story, with presenter Sue Turton, discusses with guests: Willem Van Kemenade, an author and China analyst, Mamdouh Salameh, an economist and oil expert; and Mohammad Marandi, a professor of political science at the University of Tehran.

"The Iranians are hoping that the Saudis will continue to work within the framework of OPEC and not to co-operate with the US … which will be seen as a Saudi alliance with Israel and Western European countries. The Iranians are waiting to see if these countries [are] willing to go with the Russian proposal. The issue is not the nuclear programme, it is Iranian independence and sovereignty."

- Mohammad Marandi, a political scientist

Source:
Al Jazeera
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