Even with crude oil prices crashing down below $60 a barrel from a high of over $115 earlier in the year the Saudis simply refuse to allow OPEC production to drop any significant amount. After a few months of such prices Iran is now begging for mercy from the Saudis and are again asking for a drop in OPEC oil production. Some would believe Saudi refusal is an attempt to harm U.S. shale oil producers, though shale production is easily scaled and that would probably just be a bonus in addition to harming Saudi Arabia’s real strategic threat, Iran. Saudi Arabia and Iran are supporting opposite sides, or having proxy wars in Bahrain, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. They are fighting each other for influence in the Arab world and also hate the religion of their opponents (Shi’ite vs. Sunni). Iran has the desire for a Persian Empire while Saudi Arabia has its own ideas of what should happen in the Middle East. In light of Iran’s economic distress and Saudi Arabia’s ability to deal with low oil prices for years to come, this is one of the best ways to slow down (not stop) Iran’s attempt at producing a nuclear weapon. I suppose we’ll see who’s victorious soon enough.
Watch and listen to what the Saudis think of Iran and its ambitions for empire and influence.
It’s not like the U.S. or E.U. is going to stop Iran, it might be left up to Saudi Arabia and Israel. It’s pretty common for Iranians and their supporters to laugh at U.S. leadership. The talks in Vienna certainly won’t be what stops Iran from making nuclear weapons, especially if John Kerry is the one talking.