'Saudis have enough oil to make up for Iran'

US House Majority Leader Cantor meets Middle East officials, says oil producers ready, able to meet demands.

January 14, 2012 05:24
3 minute read.
Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Saudi Arabia says it has enough oil output capacity to meet global customers' needs if new sanctions keep Iran from exporting oil, a top US Republican lawmaker said on Friday.

House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor spoke to Reuters by telephone from Europe after several days of meetings in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi was among the officials he met.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

EU, Japan move ahead on Iran oil embargo
Saudi oil output nearing capacity limit

"The Saudi government indicated that it was ready and able to meet needs of its customers," Cantor told Reuters. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter. Its top customers include the United States, Japan, China and South Korea.

Cantor was addressing concerns that oil shortages may arise from new sanctions in the offing against Iran by the United States and European Union, aimed at discouraging Tehran's nuclear program.

The United States has long embargoed Iranian crude, but has just approved new sanctions targeting Iran's Central Bank, the main conduit for its oil revenues. The European Union, which collectively buys about 500,000 bpd of Iranian oil, is expected to soon impose an embargo halting imports.

The goal of the West's increased pressure on Tehran is to stop the Islamic republic from building a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes.


Cantor is the number two Republican in the Republican-majority House of Representatives, after Speaker John Boehner.

During his tour of the Gulf region with several other US lawmakers, Cantor also met officials from Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"They also expressed the ability to have excess capacity coming on line later this year, as well as the capacity it has online now," Cantor said of oil producer UAE.

"I think the consensus is that there is enough capacity in the region to meet the needs of customers, excluding the exports of Iran," he said.

Further sanctions in the works

Cantor said he would push for the speedy implementation of the new US sanctions on Iran's central bank, and he favored Congress passing further measures to penalize Tehran if it does not stop its nuclear program.

"We don't have time" to delay, he said.

The measures Obama signed into law on New Year's Eve would allow the president to sanction foreign banks that do business with Iran's central bank. But they do not kick in for several months, and give Obama wide latitude to pull his punches and avoid imposing penalties.

As soon as the central bank sanctions passed Congress in December, the US House of Representatives passed another piece of legislation that would close some loopholes in existing sanctions and further choke off trade with Tehran.

The House bill included a provision that would deny entry to the United States of any ship that has recently visited a port in Iran, North Korea or Syria.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate. A bipartisan sanctions bill could be considered in committee soon after senators return to work from a winter recess later this month, a Senate aide said on Friday.

Some officials in the Middle East shared his sense of urgency about the need to stop Iran from getting the capacity to build nuclear weapons, Cantor said. "I think that the consensus is, no one wants Iran to be a nuclear power," Cantor said.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the 

Iranian threat

However, some officials in the region "believe you can't stop Iran from doing it, because the regime has nothing to lose," Cantor said.

"What that tells me is everything has got to be on the table," said Cantor, a hawk on defense issues, using language that implies the willingness to use military force as an option to deny Iran the means of developing an atomic bomb. The Obama administration has said there are no options "off" the table.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

A demonstrator holds picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi
November 21, 2018
Turkey: U.S. is turning blind eye to Saudi killing of Khashoggi