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oil

Why Saudi Arabia's rivalry with Iran could keep oil prices down for years

OPEC, the world's leading group of oil exporters, this week declined to slash production, disappointing countries, such as Iran, that would like to see oil prices climb amidst a worldwide glut of oil and natural gas. The group's decision to maintain its level of output was led by Saudi Arabia, which somewhat mysteriously is keen to keep prices low.

Liam Denning at The Wall Street Journal writes that Saudi Arabia's move may be part of its ongoing rivalry with Iran over influence in the Middle East:

Saudi Arabia’s chief antagonist is fellow OPEC member, and main geopolitical rival, Iran. Lower oil prices squeeze Iran’s finances and capacity to oppose Riyadh’s aims in regional warzones such as Syria. As an added bonus, lower oil prices also hurt non-member Russia, another antagonist. [The Wall Street Journal]

Partly as a result of this feud, Denning says that oil prices, currently below $70 a barrel, could remain below the triple digits for years.