Separately, South Korea said on Wednesday it would seek USA exemptions to buy Iranian oil, a path many big oil consumers are likely to follow in the wake of new United States sanctions on Tehran, which will tighten world oil markets and push up prices.

Mr Falih said Saudi Arabia is not targeting a specific price for oil, discounting a May 4 report in The Wall Street Journal that Riyadh wants to oil to hit at least United States dollars 80 a barrel this year. Saudi Arabia, which has roughly 2.5 MMBPD of spare capacity, could fill in the gap and take market share from its rival, or allow a potential shortage raise oil prices further, supporting its planned IPO of Saudi Aramco.

The oil price is at its highest since late 2014 and is on track for its fourth consecutive quarterly gain, the longest such stretch for over 10 years.

"The Secretary-General reminds all parties to the conflict that they must uphold global humanitarian law, including taking steps to protect civilians", said a statement issued on behalf of the Secretary-General, by his Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

Arab League's (AL) Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit called on Wednesday for an urgent review on the Iran nuclear deal, AL said in a statement. Preventing the two countries from having a nuclear-weapon capability and competing in a nuclear arms race is the goal.

It would be hard to replace Iranian oil given the "commercial terms" offered by Tehran, he said.

Washington's allies may find formulas to avoid sanctions exposure.

But the US sanctions on Iran, assuming they are effective, mark the end of the current output agreement.

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"Whether or not (the Iranians) go for a military programme, you're going to get a nuclear race in the Middle East", said Dorsey.

Some, however, support Trump's withdrawal from the deal.

For all these reasons, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members will come under intense pressure to raise their output to make up for any loss of Iranian barrels.

Iran's top three rivals say its development of more powerful, longer-range ballistic missiles and its backing of majority-Shiite Muslim groups overseas are destabilizing to the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is now battling an insurgent Yemeni Zaidi Shiite Muslim group-also known as the Houthis or Ansar Allah-who occasionally targets Riyadh with missiles that Saudi Arabia claims are Iranian in origin.

For Saudi Arabia, that is "fine" because it means the return of sanctions and ratcheting up pressure on Iran in the region, including by Israel.

Jubeir said: 'These missiles are Iranian manufactured and delivered to the Huthis.

Yemeni armed forces, supported by popular committees, fired Wednesday night a ballistic missile at the headquarters of Saudi Information and Electronic Warfare in Najran, southern Saudi Arabia.


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