On September 12, at 11:00 AM, the Valdai Discussion Club hosted an expert discussion panel, titled “Iran and the West: Where Does the Tanker War Lead?”
The past few months have been marked by a series of tanker incidents. In May, four ships from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Norway were attacked by unknown persons. In June, explosions occurred on the tanker of a Taiwanese company and a Japanese oil tanker was machine-gunned. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but the United States linked the incident with Iran. In July, Gibraltar authorities detained (and subsequently released) an Iranian tanker allegedly carrying oil to Syria, bypassing US and EU sanctions. In response, the Iranians detained a British tanker. The United States has threatened buyers of Iranian oil with tough secondary sanctions and has invited forces to join it in patrolling the Strait of Hormuz.
Tanker incidents are taking place amid tightening US unilateral sanctions against Iran and the gradual erosion of the JCPOA. The risk of military incidents, as well as their escalation into a regional conflict involving Iran, the United States and their respective allies, is increasing. Such a conflict could lead to local shocks in the oil markets, given the key role that the region plays in international energy security.
Can we expect a further escalation of tanker incidents? Could such incidents lead to a military confrontation or a military campaign against Iran? Are the US sanctions effective? What risks face Russian interests in the region? Participants in the expert discussion will answer these and other questions.
Andrey Baklitskiy, Consultant at the PIR Center;
Konstantin Simonov, Director General of the National Energy Security Fund;
Marc-Antoine Eyl-Mazzega, Director of Ifri's Centre for Energy (via videolink)
Working languages: Russian, English.