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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Iran's response to the U.S. killing of Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian military official, could target oil infrastructure and transit in the Middle East, analysts say.

Driving the news: The airstrike in Iraq that killed Soleimani pushed prices sharply upward last night and into this morning.

  • And they would likely go much higher if the conflict escalates, especially if major energy facilities are hit in response, though, needless to say, we don't know the scope of Iran's next steps.

The big picture: "[T]he killing of Soleimani calls for a serious increase of the geopolitical risk premium," Olivier Jakob of the consultancy Petromatrix tells the FT.

Where it stands: Oil prices are up almost 4% in the wake of the U.S. strike. The global benchmark Brent crude is trading at $68.76 per barrel.

Threat level: A note from the Rapidan Energy Group games out Iran's options and concludes the most likely scenario is that Iran will "first look for ways to recoup leverage short of targeting U.S. military personnel."

"That shifts risk back onto oil vessels and facilities. ... [T]he risk of another major attack against Gulf oil vessels or facilities is now above 50%."

What they're saying: Jason Bordoff, head of a Columbia University energy think tank, predicted via Twitter that Iran's response will be "severe" and "deadly" and "certainly may include escalating attacks on energy infrastructure."

But, but, but: Eurasia Group analysts predicted in a note that while Iran will certainly respond, it's "unlikely to immediately attack Saudi or Emirati oil infrastructure or US bases in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, or Qatar."

  • Overall, they're hardly ruling out a major military conflict, but expect "moderate to low-level clashes to last for at least a month" that are likely confined to Iraq.
  • They also expect Iran to harass and even temporarily disrupt commercial shipping in the Gulf.
  • "Prices will likely hold around $70/barrel but could make a run at $80 if the conflict spreads to the oil fields of southern Iraq or if Iranian harassment of commercial shipping intensifies," they write.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Advocates say Biden has let Haitian migrants down

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Continued turmoil in Haiti is causing a growing number of Haitians to try to make it to American shores — and some advocates say the Biden administration isn't supporting this community in its time of crisis.

The big picture: Haitian-American activists in South Florida told Axios Today they feel like President Biden has gone back on campaign promises he made to the community to stand up for them.

46 mins ago - Health

Supply isn't our only COVID treatment problem

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Antiviral COVID treatments are hailed as a pandemic game-changer, but they're currently in very short supply — and that's only one of several barriers to access for high-risk patients.

The big picture: Even when supply ramps up, it will still be tricky to connect some of the most vulnerable patients to the pills without changes to the process.

Four-day workweeks get rave reviews, but they're not catching on

Expand chart
Data: Indeed.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

The four-day work week is nowhere close to becoming the norm, despite a flurry of corporate announcements, media coverage and intense interest from worker bees worldwide.

Why it matters: With the pandemic throwing work-family dynamics into chaos and a labor market favoring workers, there's demand for this.

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