U.S.-Iran Rift Evident as Clash Comes to U.N.
UN to Resolve The U.S.-Iran Clash

Rouhani and Trump will appear separately at the UN General Assembly in New York Tuesday regarding the skyrocketing prices of oil. Trump is expected to speak on Tuesday morning and chair the UN Security Council on Wednesday, where he will address the Iranian issue.

In an interview, Rouhani said he has no such plans to meet Trump citing the “unripe” conditions for talk and the threats that the U.S. has made against Iran. “There is no such program for a meeting,” said Rouhani.

For the first time in four years, Brent crude jumped above $81 per barrel on Monday, following a weekend meeting between Russia and OPEC ministers, where it was settled that the current output agreement will remain unchanged for the time being. The continuous drop in Venezuelan oil output has intensified supply concerns, worsened by the fore coming limitations on Iranian crude.

The U.S. backed out of the Iranian nuclear agreement, termed as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between six countries and Iran removing the economic sanctions in return for Iran’s promise to end its nuclear program.

However, the Trump administration opposed the agreement as one-sided and said it allowed Iran to eventually resume its nuclear program. The other parties in the agreement remain in it, along with Iran, but the U.S. has already set plans to sanction Iran’s oil business as of early November.

The U.S. has also raised questions on Iran meddling in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, where it supports mavericks that are aggressive to Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has also accused Iran of supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Henry Rome, Eurasia Group’s Iran analyst has stated, “Trump will take the podium and I think he will use the same mantra that he has been repeating for the last year and a half, that Iran is the primary instigator of violence in the Middle East and only through a maximum pressure campaign can cause Iran to change its behavior significantly. I think his language will be harsh, and it will be quite a contrast because Rouhani, I think, will use this terrorist attack on the weekend to say Iran is a peaceful country and a victim of terrorism…Trump will come off not only like a broken record but on this issue, could also look quite insensitive in the face of a terrorist attack.”

Helima Croft, head of commodities strategy at RBC claimed the terrorist attack as one of the worst attacks in Iranian history raising the potential for hostilities in the region.

Matthew Reed, vice president at Foreign Reports said, “That’s what’s expected of them at home. They can’t go there and play nice. They have to defend themselves loudly and unapologetically. Iran will lash out at the U.S. at the UN.”

Trump will chair the 15-member security council on Wednesday and has made it clear that it will be about Iran, however, the meet is expected to be broader. The four other permanent members—France, Britain, China, Germany, and Russia were parties to the Iranian nuclear agreement.

Last week Rouhani wrote about the rift between the U.S. and its allies in Washington Post’s opinion piece last week.
“The United States expected a hasty Iranian withdrawal so that it could easily forge an international alliance against Iran and automatically revive previous sanctions. Our action, instead, thwarted such a move. The talks with the remaining JCPOA participants and their reiteration of compliance with the accord placed the United States in a lonely position. Such a serious chasm between the United States and its European partners on a critical foreign policy matter was unique and unprecedented—which, I can say, proved that we were right in our approach to the nuclear deal and our proactive diplomacy.”

“Trump will look isolated,” said Rome.

He further added, “There’s no doubt about it and he’s intent on making the security council meeting Wednesday focus on Iran, the agenda of the meeting notwithstanding, and it’s going to be an opportunity for the European states, as well as Russia and China to reconfirm their commitment to the deal.”

Rome said the Europeans have restricted options, so he expects Iran to finally back out of the nuclear agreement due to economic pressure from the sanctions.

Matthew Reed said expects a large amount of Iranian crude to be taken off the market, and the Trump government has been sluggish enough to grant any disclaimers top countries that say they cannot meet demand with some supply.

He said, “If you look at what Iran’s customers are saying… it’s easy to imagine Iranian exports falling form 2.5 million barrels a day earlier this year to closer to 1 million barrels a day by the end of 2018.”

Brent ended Monday at $81.20 per barrel, its highest close since Nov. 11, 2014. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose Monday to $72.08 per barrel, up 1.8 percent, its highest level since July 10.

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