Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff: Downplaying Iran’s Oil Leverage


So, we shouldn’t worry too much when Iran threatens to suspends oil exports in case of economic sanctions, suggests Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She says: “I think something like 80 percent of Iran’s budget comes from oil revenue, and so obviously it would be a very serious problem for Iran if oil were disrupted.”
Interestingly, many politicians seem to think in terms of all-or-nothing alternatives. As if Iran can only shut off oil supplies or leave the valves open. Here is a question: about 4 million barrels of oil from Iranian production are floating around the global markets every day, currently at about 70 dollar a barrel. What if Iran were not to suspend, but only to curb oil exports, by — say — a million barrels? How much would the price of oil have to increase for the Iranians to make more money while exporting less?
And what would the boycotting West do then?
Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is the Washington Bureau Chief of the German weekly DIE ZEIT.


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