The White House flatly rejected on Thursday Saudi Arabia's denial that dramatic OPEC+ oil production cuts it supported as the cartel's chair are political.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the Saudi Foreign Ministry "can try to spin or deflect, but the facts are simple," bluntly maintaining the US’ position that the action is a clear indication that Riyadh is aligning itself with the Kremlin.
"In recent weeks, the Saudis conveyed to us – privately and publicly – their intention to reduce oil production, which they knew would increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions. That is the wrong direction," he said in a statement.
The Biden administration presented Saudi officials with data that the White House said showed there is no "market basis" for the two million barrel per day reduction agreed by OPEC+. Other OPEC nations told the US privately that they "disagreed with the Saudi decision, but felt coerced to support Saudi’s direction," added Kirby.
"As the President has said, we are reevaluating our relationship with Saudi Arabia in light of these actions, and will continue to look for signs about where they stand in combatting Russian aggression," he said.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday denied accusations that political motives were behind the decision to cut production.
"Saudi Arabia does not politicize oil. We don’t see oil as a weapon. We see oil as our commodity. Our objective is to bring stability to the oil market," Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told news channel CNN.
The decision, however, has elicited a fiery response in Washington from US President Joe Biden and lawmakers on Capitol Hill with legislation being introduced to pull all US forces and missile defense systems from the Kingdom. Senator Bob Menendez, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, has also vowed to block arms sales to Riyadh.