Saudi Arabia's oil production appears to be "ramping up" and can fill some of the demand shortfalls caused by sanctions on Iranian exports, CIA Director David Petraeus said on Tuesday.
Sanctions on Iran oil imports appear to be biting much more in recent weeks, he said at a Senate intelligence committee hearing.
China has reduced its imports of Iranian oil and "it remains to be seen whether that continues. It appears that Saudi Arabian production is ramping up and can fill some of the demand that might have been met by Iranian exports now that there are the sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran," Petraeus said.
My guess is that it probably wasn't the best idea -- whoever it was in Tehran who allegedly cooked it up -- to launch a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Because the Saudi response is the most effective response they have: Pump more oil, depress prices, which hurts Iran more than anyone else, and create a cushion for the world's oil consumers should conflict break out in the Persian Gulf, a conflict which would most likely send oil prices through the roof. But less through the roof if the Saudis are pumping like crazy.