In a Russia Today TV interview, former Russian energy minister Yuri Shafranik said that "the American priorities are clear" and are "directed today toward Iran." "I am convinced that via Iran, the U.S. will be able to influence the Middle East," he said in the interview, which aired on February 1, 2016.
Following are excerpts:
Yuri Shafranik: Saudi Arabia used to be viewed by Washington as an important friend, because Washington strived and still strives for stability in the oil market. Today, however, Saudi Arabia has become a competitor of Washington, and Israel is no longer a major player or an important ally in the eyes of Washington. Therefore, Washington played a role in finding a successful solution to the Iranian nuclear project.
I don't think that anyone in the U.S. intends to push us toward cooperation with Riyadh, but America's actions may inadvertently encourage bilateral cooperation between Russia and Riyadh. People talk about the policy of the two biggest oil producers, Russia and KSA, but we must take into consideration that in the coming two or three years, the Iranian market will open up to the American energy companies. We can see today this commercial-political trend between Washington and Tehran. It may have an impact on the situation in Syria and Iraq.
Interviewer: Can we say that we have entered an era of American-Iranian alliance, not against Saudi Arabia, but as an effort to curb Saudi Arabia's regional influence?
Yuri Shafranik: We can say that the American priorities are clear. These priorities are directed today toward Iran. I am convinced that via Iran, the U.S. will be able to influence the Middle East.