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Iran: Not Waiting for US Permission to Grow Oil Exports

Iran’s oil sales are an important part of the sanctions pressuring the Iranians to make concessions on their nuclear program, but how much longer will that continue? If it’s up to the Americans, it’s going just fine as work continues on a final Iran nuclear deal. But the Iranians don’t care what the Americans think.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying, “Tehran will do its best to increase its oil exports and will not wait for a US permission to do that.”

Along those lines, the Fars report cited a Korean statement that showed Iranian oil exports to South Korea doubled in February 2014 compared to February last year. Fars said that the Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC) showed that South Korea imported over 8 million barrels from Iran during February.

But despite such news, the official US line is that Iran’s rising oil exports still haven’t risen enough to threaten the sanctions plan. In comments released by the State Department, a Senior Administration Official said, “In terms of the oil exports, as we have always said, we expect there to be fluctuations. They go up and down month to month.

“What we care about is the aggregate over the period of time that’s agreed to. We have had teams talk to each of the remaining importers of Iranian oil, and we feel comfortable that in fact, they will meet the target that we have, and there’s nothing to lead us to believe otherwise at this time. We, of course, keep continuous eye on this and in continuous discussion with all of the importers.”

So despite the questions, the US is feeling good about the success of their sanctions. Not that Iran cares what the Americans think.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 7, 2014)

World Powers, Iran ‘Set the Table’ in Nuclear Talks

March 20, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program, News
Really moderate, or just for show? Iranian President Rouhani. Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

Really moderate, or just for show? Iranian President Rouhani. Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

For years, we’ve heard that all options are “on the table” with regards to Iran’s nuclear program, including a military strike if necessary to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Well if all options were on the table before, that table is now being defined in the talks between Iran and the world powers.

Following technical expert meetings between the sides, a senior US administration official told reporters in a background briefing released by the State Department that they were able to delve into details in this round of higher level talks. “We understand each other’s concepts. We understand each other’s concerns. And you have to set that table to be able to really begin to negotiate. You can’t just dive into the negotiations without setting the table. I think we’ve done that,” said the official. Now comes the hard part: reaching a deal. … Continue Reading

Iran Steadfast, US Open to Compromise ahead of Nuclear Talks

March 17, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Compromise is apparently happening in the Iran-world powers’ nuclear talks, but it doesn’t appear to be all that mutual. The Iranian parliament didn’t want to leave things open to interpretation, and so they recently issued a statement that clarified their desires for the negotiations: don’t budge.

While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran—according to a US official—has downsized their nuclear capabilities as part of the interim nuclear deal, reaching a permanent agreement will be a challenge. The Iranian Fars News Agency reported that the Iranian parliament’s statement called upon the negotiators not to relinquish anything of their nuclear “rights”, specifically the creation of nuclear fuel through uranium enrichment. But while Iran doesn’t want to move on this one, the US has signaled they might. … Continue Reading

Opinion: Waning US Influence Means Chaos in Middle East

America's talking loudly, but how big a stick are they carrying? Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

America’s talking loudly, but how big a stick are they carrying? Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

It was 2005, and the world was looking brighter. Lebanon kicked out Syria’s army, Ukraine had a pro-West, pro-democracy revolution, Libya was in the midst of deconstructing their weapons of mass destruction and the world’s powerful bad guys seemed to be isolated into a two-nation axis of evil. It was a good year for the West and America.

Now it’s 2014. Lebanon is home to a powerful Iranian-led terror militia known as Hezbollah. The Iranians are popular with corporations racing to get a piece of the pie as sanctions disappear. North Korea has made multiple nuclear tests and Ukraine is under Russian threat. What’s a key element to all the bad news? America’s inability and disinterest in influencing world affairs. It’s a new world order now: fend for yourself. Goodbye Middle East stability. … Continue Reading

Israel Warns Iran Nuclear Deal Could Create ‘Many Nuclear Powers’

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

The story of Pandora’s box is nothing more than a Greek myth, but a real life version with nuclear ramifications may be coming soon. With the major world powers intent on crafting a nuclear deal with Iran that would purportedly give everyone something—Iran gets a civilian nuclear program while the world gets safeguards against them building the bomb—Israel is warning that the deal could unleash the spread of nuclear weapons around the world.

Israel’s primary concern—and Iran’s primary demand in the nuclear talks—centers around Iran’s ability to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel. The West seems content to consider the peaceful states with such enrichment capacity as the model for Iran, but Israel is warning that North Korea and their slow-but-steady nuclear weapons program is more likely. And with rebellious Iran getting such a privilege of developing nuclear fuel, what would stop many more nations from demanding the same? … Continue Reading

Iranian Missile Dispute Has Israel Concerned

February 24, 2014 Iran Nuclear Program

It’s “he said, she said” with nuclear implications. The US is arguing that Iran agreed to discuss their missile program as part of the nuclear talks, but Iran doesn’t see it that way. Considering the fact that Iran has worked on a space program that could lead to missiles able to reach all of Europe and the US, resolving this dispute is critical to global security.

Despite the matter’s importance, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned the West could give in. He said the permanent nuke agreement with Iran “must dismantle the Iranian ability to either produce or launch nuclear weapons, and this has yet to be achieved, and without the insistence of the major powers it will not be achieved.”
… Continue Reading

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