Indian refiners said on Wednesday they were in no hurry to replace Iranian oil with alternatives, counting on the fact that many Western countries have so far declined to join the United States in pulling out of a nuclear deal with Tehran.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir during a news conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on April 29.
An official spokesman for the energy ministry said Tuesday that following the US decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran, Saudi Arabia "would work with major producers within and outside OPEC, as well as major consumers to mitigate the impact of any potential supply shortages".
The agreement puts limits on Iran's nuclear programme in exchange of the lifting of global sanctions. In an interview in mid-March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned: "Without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible".
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Iran is the third-biggest producer of crude oil within oil cartel Opec, after Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Companies and countries with commercial deals with Iran would have either 90 or 180 days to wind down those activities, depending on the type of products being sanctioned.
Even without disruption to Iran's crude flows, the balance between supply and demand in the oil market has been tightening steadily, especially in Asia, and as top exporter Saudi Arabia and No.1 producer Russian Federation have led efforts since 2017 to withhold oil supplies to prop up prices.
Meanwhile, European allies sought to salvage the worldwide nuclear pact with Iran.
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The government approved a national policy for its atomic energy programme on Tuesday, including limiting all nuclear activities to peaceful purposes, within the limits defined by worldwide treaties.
However, since Trump's announcement, Iran has threatened to gather uranium if negotations fail in response to the USA withdrawal from the agreement.
Riyadh has long accused its regional archfoe Tehran of supplying Yemen's rebels with ballistic missiles, a charge Tehran denies.
Both the Houthi movement and Iran deny any military con nection-but are politically aligned in regional affairs.
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But he added that supporting such groups would remain a priority for Iran. If the aim is to keep Iran from building nuclear weapons, then isn't a deal that achieves that goal for a decade or more obviously better than having no deal at all? However, it traditionally neither confirms nor denies their existence.