US decision on Iran could cause fuel price rise

Australian fuel prices may increase because of the United States’ decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, according to a Perth-based global politics expert.

The Iran nuclear deal allows Iran to access money and assets that were previously frozen because of trade and economic sanctions imposed in response to the country’s nuclear weapons program.

Under the deal, the sanctions would have been lifted and Iran would have stopped developing nuclear weapons.

Murdoch University Global Politics and Policy senior lecturer Ian Cook said petrol prices could increase because the United States’ decision would remove Iranian oil from global markets.

“[Even if] Australia and Iran don’t have a close relationship, it will affect us,” Dr Cook said.

This comes amid reports Australia’s fuel reserves were low, with just 22 days of crude oil, 20 days of petrol, 21 days of diesel, 59 days of LPG and 19 days of aviation fuel remaining.

Dr Cook said fuel wasn’t the only issue.

“Because Iran was able to start trading internationally again, if the Iranian economy is hit hard, it does have a destabilising effect on the region,” he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday condemned President Donald Trump for pulling out of the deal, asking for Britain, Russia, France, China and Germany to continue.

“We regret the decision of the US… of course, President Trump had foreshadowed that for a long time,” Mr Turnbull said.

Dr Cook said Mr Trump pulled out of the deal at the suggestion of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“[Netanyahu] was trying to suggest the Iranians were continuing with a nuclear weapons program,” Dr Cook said.

“What the evidence really showed was the [UN] has certainly not made it difficult for them to restart a nuclear weapons program and so there’s a lot of mistrust,” he said.

“Trump [also falsely] believes [Iran] got billions of dollars as a result of the deal. They’ve actually got access to money which was already theirs.”