Iran accused of encroaching Saudi waters

Riyadh sends an official letter of protest to the United Nations against Iran’s repeated infringements

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has sent an official letter of protest to the United Nations complaining about what it says are “repeated infringements” by Iranian boats of its waters.

According to the Emirati news agency WAM, Iranian boats have encroached on restricted areas of oil fields and platforms in the Arabian Gulf, in violation of a martime boundary line that was set up between the two countries in October.

According to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Riyadh has sent several protest notes to Iran and the UN over the repeated violations.

Abdullah Al Mualimi added that Saudi Arabia held Iran fully responsible for any damages that may arise from such infringments.

Last week, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said that if Washington forced countries to stop buying Iranian oil, Tehran would disrupt oil shipments from neighbouring countries in the Strait of Hormuz.

It is estimated that around 30 per cent of the seaborne traded crude oil and other oil products pass through the strait of Hormuz, between Oman and Iran.

In 2016, reports estimate that nearly 18.5 million barrel per day were exported through the strategic passage.

Most crude exported via Hormuz heads to Asia, the United States and Western Europe.

Analysts have attributed the latest Iranian threats to its weakened economic position following the reinstitution of sanctions against it by the US.

They don’t believe Iran would dare to act on such threats and say they are only meant for domestic consumption to appease hardliners inside the country.

Rouhani is currently visiting European countries in an attempt to save the nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Iran and the major powers in the world.

US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal, saying there is a need to negotiate a new and “better” one.

Since then, the US has warned countries that they stop their imports of Iranian oil by November 4 or face US financial measures.

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