Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC) has held a monopoly in the Jordan oil market since 1958. (Getty Images)
Iran is trying to surround Israel on three sides with its “axis of evil” by offering free oil to Jordan.
(Arutz Sheva) Iran is trying to close surround Israel on three sides with its “axis of evil” by offering free oil to Jordan.
Iran and Syria, through its Hizbullah ally, threatens Israel on the northern border, and the Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood alliance south of the border allowed massive rocket and missile attacks on Israel until the ceasefire last week after Operation Pillar of Defense.
Festering economic problems, a growing Palestinian Arab population and paralleled opposition to the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty have made the kingdom ripe for Iran to step in, which it did last week.
“My country is ready to supply the kingdom with free oil and energy for the next 30 years, in return for trade deals and agreements regarding religious tourism between the two countries,” Iranian Ambassador to Jordan Mustafa Zadeh said.
“We have one common enemy and everybody knows that,” the senior Iranian official added, which was a clear reference to the United States and Israel, according to an Al Hayat article translated and published by Al Monitor.
Jordan is burdened with a $21 billion deficit, but the temptation of free oil was termed a “big risk” by several Jordanian sources.
Spokesman for the Jordanian government Minister Samih al-Maaytah told Al-Hayat that “Jordan will study any proposal it receives as it deals positively with all nations,” but high-level sources n Amman expressed doubts.
“Tehran is seeking things beyond trade deals and religious tourism. However, Jordan will not abandon its historic alliances, especially with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries,” the sources said.
Jordan refuses Iran ‘oil for religious tourism’ deal
(The Jerusalem Post) Jordanian spokesman says that though gov’t seeking ways to solve energy crisis, it’s eager to maintain ties with Gulf countries.
Official Jordanian sources expressed reservations about remarks by Iran’s ambassador in Amman that Tehran is prepared to provide the Hashemite Kingdom with free oil and energy products for 30 years, according to a report by CNN Arabic on Friday.
Tehran’s ambassador to Jordan, Dr. Mostafa Mosleh- Zadeh, said late on Wednesday that Tehran is ready to supply Jordan with oil and energy for the next 30 years, in return for goods the Islamic Republic needs, and for allowing Shi’ite religious tourism to Jordan.
Mosleh-Zadeh said Tehran is seeking to increase “diplomatic and commercial relations” with Jordan, in comments made on the Fi al-Samim program aired by Jordan’s Josat TV.
However, Jordanian government spokesman Samih Maaytah said Friday that though the government is looking for alternative ways to solve the energy crisis, the kingdom is “eager [to maintain]relations with the Gulf countries despite the delay in aid,” according to CNN Arabic.
The news program also cited anonymous Jordanian officials who said the Iranian offer was based on barter, especially regarding trade and Shi’ite religious tourism in the country.
Jordan is home to a number of sites important to Shi’ite Muslims, including the tomb of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, the elder brother of the fourth Islamic Caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who according to Shi’ite belief was the first imam.
The sources also confirmed the rejection of the Iranian offer, saying it was “a political deal… oil for religious tourism and certain political attitudes towards the Syria crisis serve the Iranian position,” CNN Arabic reported.
The Iranian ambassador’s comments came weeks after a decision by the Jordanian government to cut fuel subsidies sparked mass and sometimes violent popular protests, including calls to overthrow King Abdullah II.
Jordan’s economic situation has been exacerbated by the loss of financial support from oil-rich Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival.
Last year, Saudi Arabia gave Jordan a last-minute $1.4 billion cash handout, but withheld aid this year, officials have said.