Oil Prices Spike After Iranian Missile Strike on US Bases
Oil prices soared on January 8 following Iran’s attack on US-Iraqi bases in retaliation for the killing of its top military commander.
Tehran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps claimed responsibility for the ballistic missile strikes in the early hours of the morning, which the Pentagon has confirmed came from Iran.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures surged to $65.65/barrel following the incidents – their highest level since April. The Brent benchmark meanwhile rallied to $71.75/barrel, its highest price since September.
Prices then slid back, after both sides indicated that the attacks would not lead to an immediate escalation of the standoff.
“Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defence under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched,” Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said on Twitter. “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”
US president Donald Trump then tweeted “All is well!”, suggesting that the attacks had caused no casualties.
“Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq,” he said. “Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far so good.”
Trump said he would issue a statement later today (US morning time).
US government sources have also confirmed there were no casualties at the targeted bases to Reuters and other major Western media agencies. However, Iranian state television claimed that at least 80 “American terrorists” were killed in the attacks.
US-Iranian hostility has risen since Trump withdrew Washington from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers in May 2018 and began re-imposing additional sanctions on Tehran under a "maximum pressure" policy. Tensions rose sharply after Washington launched a drone strike in Bagdad on January 3 killing Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful general. Tehran promised retaliation for the assassination.