Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that President Donald Trump should “look in the mirror” to find the culprit behind rising oil prices. “I’m talking about (U.S.) sanctions against Iran,” he said through an interpreter at the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow, during a panel moderated by PBS NewsHour special correspondent Ryan Chilcote.
The United Nations’ top court ruled Wednesday that the U.S. should lift some of its sanctions on Iran, warning that they could interfere with food, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid going to the country.
In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was terminating the Treaty of Amity with Iran – a 1955 agreement to improve economic relations between the two countries. This follows Trump’s decision earlier this year to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a pact with six other countries and the European Union to keep Iran from making a nuclear bomb. The U.S. around this time also imposed new sanctions.
Putin said Wednesday that other contributing factors to fluctuating oil prices include political problems in Venezuela and the collapse of Libya’s government.
The Russian president said he is OK with a barrel of oil costing $65 to $75, and that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, is working to balance supply and demand in the marketplace.
In response to Trump’s assertion that OPEC is ripping off the rest of the world, Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, said during Wednesday’s panel that Saudi and Russian leaders are bringing stability to global energy markets by putting oil inventories in a “comfortable range.” The price of oil itself is left to the markets, he added.
Is Germany a ‘hostage’ to Russia on energy?
Trump has claimed that Germany will be beholden to Russia after the construction of a pipeline linking the two countries that will increase Russian oil imports to Europe. Putin, who noted that he spoke to Trump about the issue in Helsinki, Finland, said Wednesday that Russia is a reliable supplier to Europe. The pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2, is a commercial project built in response to the growing demand for oil in Europe, Putin said. The price depends on the volume of supply and it will always be competitive, he added.