Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

Iran oil availability

News Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump Recommended Links Energy Bookshelf Secular Stagnation Energy returned on energy invested (ERoEI) A note of ERoEI decline
MSM propagated myth about Saudis defending this market share Deflation of the USA shale oil bubble Oil glut fallacy Why Peak Oil Threatens the Casino Capitalism The Role of Pro-Israel forces in US Iran Policy Who’s Turning Syria’s Civil War Into a Jihad?  
Energy Geopolitics Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Russian Ukrainian Gas wars The fiasco of suburbia Fiat money, gold and petrodollar The Great Stagnation Big Fukushima Debate
Casino Capitalism Inflation, Deflation and Confiscation All wars are bankers wars Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System Financial Quotes Financial Humor Etc

In 2014-2016 Bloomberg (like most other US MSM) consistently use fear mongering about Iran oil that soon will flood the market. And provide only selective quotes from Iran officials and no facts about their industry and fields.

Now they are taking the opposite extreme: that without Iran oil proves might skyrocket.

I do not trust such reporting. Iran probably want and can sell condensate that they already accumulated and were unable to sell. After that we get into pretty much unpredictable situation. They want to get rid of it and there are buyers for it in Japan and elsewhere. With proper discount.

Do they have buyers for their additional oil (if any) at the price they want with no additional discounts (they explicitly stated that there will be no additional discounts). If yes, then how quickly they can rump up the production and their transportation network ? With investments from whom? China? Russia?

If it is so easy to rump up production, why they did not do this in 2010-2013 when prices were much higher and both China and India were buying their oil.

Saudis will not give them their quota in the current circumstances when they already burned so much cash for preserving it and diplomatic relations between countries are broken.

I would love to embrace OFM’s hope that the U.S. will be able to improvise, adapt, and overcome the ever-growing challenges stemming from declining availability of economically extractable resources and the overtaxing of industrial civilization’s by-products’ sinks…but I am afraid that as ‘the economy’ continues to decline due to humanity’s over-extension, increasing numbers of armed demagogues may try to take advantage of the situation.

Steven Mufson noted "Obama’s foreign policy goals get a boost from plunging oil prices" (Washingtonpost, Dec 23, 2015):

Plunging crude oil prices are diverting hundreds of billions of dollars away from the treasure chests of oil-exporting nations, putting some of the United States’ adversaries under greater stress.

After two years of falling prices, the effects have reverberated across the globe, fueling economic discontent in Venezuela, changing Russia’s economic and political calculations, and dampening Iranian leaders’ hopes of a financial windfall when sanctions linked to its nuclear program will be lifted next year.

At a time of tension for U.S. international relations, cheap oil has dovetailed with some of the Obama administration’s foreign policy goals: pressuring Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, undermining the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and tempering the prospects for Iranian oil revenue. At the same time, it is pouring cash into the hands of consumers, boosting tepid economic recoveries in Europe, Japan and the United States.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/as-crude-oil-prices-plunge-so-do-oil-exporters-revenue-hopes/2015/12/23/ed552372-a900-11e5-8058-480b572b4aae_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_oil-910pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Access to 100 billion previously frozen is nice and will help to upgrade their oil infrastructure "in a long run" as well to by some modern air defense systems. But with that amount of cash in hand why they are so pressed to sell their strategic resource at rock bottom prices? They are better diversified the Saudis and sanctions helped too increase this diversification.

I am wondering why BBC and other MSM are pushing this event so hard in the direction of increasing "oil glut". This this pure colonial greed? During the latest OPEC meeting Iran was one of the countries that was for cutting output, not increasing it.

Iran has already access to growing markets in Asia, especially India and China. As for European market the question that BBC did not eve try to answer is "To whom can they sell their oil without undercutting Saudis?" So why Europe makes any sense at all to them. I would let Saudis to waste their resources as long as then can. Stupidity should be punishable.

Saudis recently even tried to kick out Russia from Polish oil market, by undercutting their price despite the fact that they have a pipeline, so transportation costs are much lower. Their behavior is really strange, as if they to get rid of oil as fast as they can is the primary goal of the new king and his "Margaret Thatcher of Saudi Arabia" neoliberal son, who wants to privatize everything in sight. In was actually the son which got Saudis in Yemen civil war.

I think Iran might be able to sell their condensate to Japan at huge discount, and may be a couple of other Asian countries able to process it, but that's about it.

Before sanctions were imposed on Iran in 2012 (to keep Israel as the top dog in the area) "the top destination for Iran's crude oil exports in the six months between January and June 2011 was China, totaling 22% of Iran's crude oil exports. Japan and India also make up a big proportion, taking 14% and 13% respectively of the total exports of Iran. The European Union imports 18% of Iran's total exports with Italy and Spain taking the largest amounts.

Sri Lanka and Turkey are the most dependent on Iran's crude exports with it accounting for 100% and 51% of total crude imported, respectively. South Africa also takes 25% of its total crude from Iran."

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/feb/06/iran-oil-exports-destination


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Nov 26, 2018] October 23, 2018 at 07:28

Nov 26, 2018 | craigmurray.org.uk

The only war the US will fight with Iran is a nuclear war. A population of 80 million bordering Pakistan with 197 million is a big effort and the US has been a complete flop with even 35 million Afghans and $2 Trillion spent. Israel can play the "Polish Card" the one FDR used to blackmail Chamberlain into declaring war in 1939 – and boy did he apply pressure ! – but it won't help Israel survive and more than Poland did.

Israel cannot "solve the Palestinian problem" any more than the "Jewish problem" was solved when Tsarist Russia let them emigrate to USA and USA stopped them emigrating from Nazi Germany under Johnson-Reed Act 1924 as in case of SS St Louis in 1939 sent back to Germany.

Israel will never resolve the problem they perceive. The actions of their ally and friend Mohammed bin Salman will make it nigh on impossible now the crudity of the gangsters running alongside Israel are plain to see and Trump had better read up on Uncle Remus and the Tar Baby

Tom Welsh , October 23, 2018 at 11:38

A thermonuclear attack on Iran by the USA would probably trigger a response by Russia. The Russian defence doctrine clearly states that thermonuclear weapons will be used in the event of an attack on Russia or its allies.

How close an ally Iran is in that context may be debatable; but Russia could not afford to stand by while Iran was destroyed.

[Nov 21, 2018] Who Says Economic Sanctions Work by Scott Ritter

Looks like the recent oil price drop was engineered like in 2014 by the USA adminsitration...
" Concerns that strict sanctioning of Iranian oil would result in a spike in global oil prices prompted Trump to grant waivers to eight of Iran's largest purchasers of oil, creating a situation where Iran's oil-based income will increase following the implementation of sanctions. The bottom line is that the current round of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran will not achieve anything. "
Notable quotes:
"... With Iran, the issue of nuclear non-proliferation was an additional justification for sanctions. Here, disarmament concerns eventually trumped regime change desires, to the extent that when the U.S. was confronted by the reality that sanctions would not achieve the change in behavior desired by Tehran, and the cost of war with Iran being prohibitively high, both politically and militarily, it capitulated. It agreed to lift the sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to enhanced monitoring of a nuclear program that was fundamentally unaltered by the resulting agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA. ..."
"... When Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, he did so in an environment that was radically different than the one that was in play when President Barack Obama embraced that agreement in July 2015. Today, the U.S. stands alone in implementing sanctions, while Iran enjoys the support of the rest of the world (support that will continue so long as Iran complies with the provisions set forth in the JCPOA.) Moreover, Iran is working with its new-found partners in Europe, Russia, and China to develop work-arounds to the U.S. sanctions. ..."
"... The coalition of support that the U.S. has assembled to confront Iran, built around Israel and Saudi Arabia, is not as solid as had been hoped -- Israel is tied down in Gaza, while Saudi Arabia struggles in Yemen, and is reeling from the fallout surrounding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi ..."
Nov 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The imposition of new, more stringent sanctions targeting Iranian oil sales by the Trump administration has once again raised the question: is this even a viable policy?

The Council on Foreign Relations defines sanctions as "a lower-cost, lower-risk, middle course of action between diplomacy and war." In short, sanctions do not represent policy per se, but rather the absence of policy, little more than a stop-gap measure to be used while other options are considered and/or developed.

Not surprising, sanctions have rarely -- if ever -- succeeded in obtaining their desired results. The poster child for successful sanctions as a vehicle for change -- divestment in South Africa during the 1980s in opposition to the Apartheid regime -- is in reality a red herring. The South Africa sanctions were in fact counterproductive , in so far as they prompted even harsher policies from the South African government. The demise of Apartheid came about largely because the Soviet Union collapsed, meaning the South African government was no longer needed in the fight against communism.

Another myth that has arisen around sanctions is their utility in addressing nonproliferation issues. Since 1994, the U.S. has promulgated non-proliferation sanctions under the guise of executive orders signed by the president or statutes passed by Congress. But there is no evidence that sanctions implemented under these authorities have meaningfully altered the behaviors that they target. Better known are the various sanctions regimes authorized under UN Security Council resolutions backed by the United States, specifically those targeting Iraq, North Korea, and Iran.

The Iraq sanctions were, by intent, a stop-gap measure implemented four days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and intended to buy time until a military response could be authorized, organized, and executed. The nature of the Iraq sanctions regime was fundamentally altered after Operation Desert Storm, when the objective transitioned away from the liberation of Kuwait, which was achieved by force of arms, to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, which was never the intent of the sanctions to begin with. The potential for sanctions to alter Iraqi behavior was real -- Iraq had made the lifting of sanctions its top priority, and thanks to aggressive UN weapons inspections, was effectively disarmed by 1995.

This potential, however, was never realized in large part to the unspoken yet very real policy on part of the U.S. that sanctions would not be lifted on Iraq, regardless of its level of disarmament, until which time its president, Saddam Hussein, was removed from power. Since the sanctions were not designed, intended, or capable of achieving regime change, their very existence became a policy trap -- as the sanctions crumbled due to a lack of support and enforcement, the U.S. was compelled to either back away from its regime change policy, which was politically impossible, or seek regime change through military engagement. In short, American sanctions policy vis-à-vis Iraq was one of the major causal factors behind the 2003 decision to invade Iraq.

One of the flawed lessons that emerged from the Iraq sanctions experience was that sanctions could contribute to regime change, in so far as they weakened the targeted nation to the point that a military option became attractive. This is a fundamentally flawed conclusion, however, predicated on the mistaken belief that Iraq's military weakness was the direct byproduct of sanctions. Iraq's military weakness was because its military had been effectively destroyed during the 1991 Gulf War. Sanctions contributed significantly to Iraq being unable to reconstitute a meaningful military capability, but they were not the cause of the underlying systemic problems that led to the rapid defeat of the Iraqi military in 2003.

The "success" of the Iraq sanctions regime helped guide U.S. policy regarding North Korea in the 1990s and 2000s. Stringent sanctions, backed by Security Council resolutions, were implemented to curtail North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile delivery systems. Simple cause-effect analysis shows the impotence of this effort -- North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile capability continued unabated, culminating in nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching U.S. soil being tested and deployed. The notion that sanctions could undermine the legitimacy of the North Korean regime and facilitate its collapse was not matched by reality. If anything, support for the regime grew as it demonstrated its willingness to stand up to the U.S. and proceed with its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The Victims of Iran Sanctions Iran Deserves Credit for the Ruin of ISIS

The Trump administration labors under the fiction that it was the U.S. policy of "maximum pressure" through sanctions that compelled North Korea to agree to denuclearization. The reality, however, is that it is North Korea, backed by China and Russia, that has dictated the timing of the diplomatic breakthrough with the U.S. ( the so-called "Peace Olympics" ), and the pace of associated disarmament. Moreover, North Korea's insistence that any denuclearization be conducted parallel to the lifting of economic sanctions demonstrates that it is in full control of its policy, and that the promise of the lifting of economic sanctions has not, to date, prompted any change in Pyongyang's stance. While President Donald Trump maintains that the U.S. will not budge from its position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea disarms, the fact of the matter is that the sanctions regime is already collapsing, with China opening its border, Russia selling gasoline and oil, and South Korea engaged in discussions about potential unification.

The U.S. has lost control of the process, if indeed it was ever in control. It is doubtful that the rest of the world will allow the progress made to date with North Korea to be undone, leaving the U.S. increasingly isolated. Insisting on the maintenance of a sanctions regime that has proven ineffective and counterproductive is not sustainable policy. As with Iraq, U.S. sanctions have proven to be the problem, not the solution. Unlike Iraq, North Korea maintains a robust military capability, fundamentally altering the stakes involved in any military solution the U.S. might consider as an alternative -- in short, there is no military solution. One can expect the U.S. to alter its position on sanctions before North Korea budges on denuclearization.

Iran represents a far more complex, and dangerous, problem set. The United States has maintained sanctions against Iran that date back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Shah, and the seizure of the U.S. embassy and resultant holding of its staff hostage for 444 days. The U.S. policy vis-à-vis Iran has been one where the demise of the ruling theocracy has been a real, if unstated, objective, and every sanctions regime implemented since that time has had that outcome in mind. This is the reverse of the Iraqi case, where regime change was an afterthought to sanctions. With Iran, the issue of nuclear non-proliferation was an additional justification for sanctions. Here, disarmament concerns eventually trumped regime change desires, to the extent that when the U.S. was confronted by the reality that sanctions would not achieve the change in behavior desired by Tehran, and the cost of war with Iran being prohibitively high, both politically and militarily, it capitulated. It agreed to lift the sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to enhanced monitoring of a nuclear program that was fundamentally unaltered by the resulting agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA.

When Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, he did so in an environment that was radically different than the one that was in play when President Barack Obama embraced that agreement in July 2015. Today, the U.S. stands alone in implementing sanctions, while Iran enjoys the support of the rest of the world (support that will continue so long as Iran complies with the provisions set forth in the JCPOA.) Moreover, Iran is working with its new-found partners in Europe, Russia, and China to develop work-arounds to the U.S. sanctions.

The coalition of support that the U.S. has assembled to confront Iran, built around Israel and Saudi Arabia, is not as solid as had been hoped -- Israel is tied down in Gaza, while Saudi Arabia struggles in Yemen, and is reeling from the fallout surrounding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi .

Concerns that strict sanctioning of Iranian oil would result in a spike in global oil prices prompted Trump to grant waivers to eight of Iran's largest purchasers of oil, creating a situation where Iran's oil-based income will increase following the implementation of sanctions. The bottom line is that the current round of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran will not achieve anything.

For the meantime, Iran will avoid confrontation, operating on the hope that it will be able to cobble an effective counter to U.S. sanctions. However, unlike Iraq, Iran has a very capable military. Unlike Korea, however, this military is not equipped with a nuclear deterrent.

If history has taught us anything, it is that the U.S. tends to default to military intervention when sanctions have failed to achieve the policy goal of regime change. Trump, operating as he is under the influence of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, is not immune to this trap. The question is whether Iran can defeat the sanctions through workarounds before they become too crippling and the regime is forced to lash out in its own defense. This is one race where the world would do well to bet on Iran, because the consequences of failure are dire.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Dealbreaker: Donald Trump and the Unmaking of the Iran Nuclear Deal (2018) by Clarity Press.

[Nov 11, 2018] Trump's Iran Policy Cannot Succeed Without Allies The National Interest by James Clapper & Thomas Pickering

Highly recommended!
It's interesting that Clapper is against abandoned by Trump Iran deal.
Tramp administration is acting more like Israeli marionette here, because while there a strategic advantage in crushing the Iranian regime for the USA and making a county another Us vassal in the middle East, the cost for the country might be way to high (especially if we count in the cost of additional antagonizing Russia and China). Trump might jump into the second Afghanistan, which would really brake the back of US military -- crushing Iran military is one thing, but occupying such a county is a very costly task. And that might well doom Israel in the long run as settlers policies now created really antagonized, unrecognizable minority with a high birth rate.
Vanishing one-by-one of partners are given due to collapse of neoliberalism as an ideology. Nobody believes that neoliberalism is the future, like many believed in 80th and early 90th. This looks more and more like a repetion of the path of the USSR after 1945, when communist ideology was discredited and communist elite slowly fossilized. In 46 years from its victory in WWII the USSR was dissolved. The same might happen with the USA in 50 years after winning the Cold War.
Notable quotes:
"... a vanishing one by one of American partners who were previously supportive of U.S. leadership in curbing Iran, particularly its nuclear program. ..."
"... The United States risks losing the cooperation of historic and proven allies in the pursuit of other U.S. national security interests around the world, far beyond Iran. ..."
Nov 09, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Only well calibrated multilateral political, economic and diplomatic pressure brought to bear on Iran with many and diverse partners will produce the results we seek.

"Then there were none" was Agatha Christie's most memorable mystery about a house party in which each guest was killed off one by one. Donald Trump's policy toward Iran has resulted in much the same: a vanishing one by one of American partners who were previously supportive of U.S. leadership in curbing Iran, particularly its nuclear program.

Dozens of states, painstakingly cultivated over decades of American leadership in blocking Iran's nuclear capability, are now simply gone. One of America's three remaining allies on these issues, Saudi Arabia, has become a central player in American strategy throughout the Middle East region. But the Saudis, because of the Jamal Khashoggi killing and other reasons, may have cut itself out of the action. The United Arab Emirates, so close to the Saudis, may also fall away.

Such paucity of international support has left the Trump administration dangerously isolated. "America First" should not mean America alone. The United States risks losing the cooperation of historic and proven allies in the pursuit of other U.S. national security interests around the world, far beyond Iran.

... ... ...

European allies share many of our concerns about Iran's regional activities, but they strongly oppose U.S. reinstitution of secondary sanctions against them. They see the Trump administration's new sanctions as a violation of the nuclear agreement and UN Security Council resolutions and as undermining efforts to influence Iranian behavior. The new sanctions and those applied on November 5 only sap European interest in cooperating to stop Iran.

... ... ...

The United States cannot provoke regime change in Iran any more than it has successfully in other nations in the region. And, drawing on strategies used to topple governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States should be wary of launching or trying to spur a military invasion of Iran.

Lt. Gen. James Clapper (USAF, ret.) is the former Director of National Intelligence. Thomas R. Pickering is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Russia and India.

[Nov 07, 2018] Why oil prices fall when Iran production also falls?

That suggest oil price manipilation...
The event remind preparation to Iraq war.
Also if administration really wants war, Iran is not Ieaq and will fight more efficiently, while the US army despite technological supreiority is demoralized. nobody believe into the the building of global neoliberal empire any longer.
Notable quotes:
"... The administration's policy seems sure to fail on its own terms, and it is also the wrong thing to do. ..."
"... If a foreign power waged an economic war against your country, would you be likely to respond to that foreign coercion by effectively taking their side against your own government? Of course not. The idea that Iranians will do the work of their country's enemies by rising up and toppling the regime has always been far-fetched, but it is particularly absurd to think that Iranians would do this after they have just seen their economy be destroyed by the actions of a foreign government. ..."
"... People normally do not respond to economic hardship and diminishing prospects by risking their lives by starting a rebellion against the state. ..."
"... Making Iranians poorer and more miserable isn't going to encourage them to be more politically active, much less rebellious, but will instead force them to focus on getting by. That is likely to depress turnout at future elections, and that is more likely to be good news for hard-line candidates in the years to come. ..."
"... Iran hawks typically don't understand the country that they obsess over, so perhaps it is not surprising that they haven't thought any of this through, but their most glaring failure is not taking into account the importance of nationalism. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Originally from: The Futility of Trump's Iran Policy By Daniel Larison November 6, 2018, 10:54 AMThe administration's policy seems sure to fail on its own terms, and it is also the wrong thing to do.

The Trump administration's plan to throttle the Iranian economy is as poorly-conceived as it is cruel:

"For ordinary people, sanctions mean unemployment, sanctions mean becoming poor, sanctions mean the scarcity of medicine, the rising price of dollar," said Akbar Shamsodini, an Iranian businessman in the oil and gas sector who lost his job six months ago as European companies started to pull out of Iran in fear of US sanctions.

" By imposing these sanctions, they want to force Iranians to rise up in revolt against their government but in practice, they will only make them flee their country [bold mine-DL]," he said, adding that ironically it would be Europe that would have to bear the burden of such a mass migration.

"We're being squashed here as an Iranian youth who studied here, worked here, the only thing I'm thinking about now is how to flee my country and go to Europe."

If a foreign power waged an economic war against your country, would you be likely to respond to that foreign coercion by effectively taking their side against your own government? Of course not. The idea that Iranians will do the work of their country's enemies by rising up and toppling the regime has always been far-fetched, but it is particularly absurd to think that Iranians would do this after they have just seen their economy be destroyed by the actions of a foreign government.

People normally do not respond to economic hardship and diminishing prospects by risking their lives by starting a rebellion against the state. As Mr. Shamsodini says above, it is much more likely that they will leave to find a way to make a living elsewhere. All that strangling Iran's economy will manage to do is push young and ambitious Iranians to go abroad while inflicting cruel collective punishment on everyone that remains behind. Making Iranians poorer and more miserable isn't going to encourage them to be more politically active, much less rebellious, but will instead force them to focus on getting by. That is likely to depress turnout at future elections, and that is more likely to be good news for hard-line candidates in the years to come.

Iran hawks typically don't understand the country that they obsess over, so perhaps it is not surprising that they haven't thought any of this through, but their most glaring failure is not taking into account the importance of nationalism. When a foreign power tries dictating terms to another nation on pain of economic punishment, this is bound to provoke resentment and resistance. Like any other self-respecting nation, Iranians aren't going to accept being told what to do by a foreign government, and they are much more likely to band together in solidarity rather than start an uprising against their own government. The stronger the nationalist tradition there is in a country, the more likely it is that the reaction to foreign threats will be one of defiance and unity. It simply makes no sense to think that the U.S. can pressure a proud nation to capitulate like this.

The administration's policy seems sure to fail on its own terms, and it is also the wrong thing to do. President Washington exhorted his countrymen in his Farewell Address : "Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all." The administration's Iran policy represents the total rejection of that advice. If the U.S. followed Washington's recommendations, it would not be abrogating an agreement that it had just negotiated a few years earlier, and it would not be punishing an entire country for the wrongs of a few. Instead, the U.S. would have built on the success of the earlier negotiations and would have sought to reestablish normal relations with them.

Sid Finster November 6, 2018 at 11:56 am

The Administration's Iran policy is identical to the Iraq policy from 1990 – 2003, in that is it is designed to provide an excuse for a war.

[Nov 06, 2018] The economic sanctions on Iran will be much tighter, beyond what they were, before the nuclear agreement was signed. "Hit them in their pockets", Netanyahu advised Trump: "if you hit them in their pockets, they will choke; and when they choke, they will throw out the ayatollahs"".

Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

mauisurfer , Nov 5, 2018 1:07:05 PM | link

Alastair Crooke (former UK dip and MI6) knows more about ME than any other white man. He describes how Jared Kushner became Trump's stovepipe of disinformation on behalf of Netanyahu and MBS.

The economic sanctions on Iran will be much tighter, beyond what they were, before the nuclear agreement was signed. "Hit them in their pockets", Netanyahu advised Trump: "if you hit them in their pockets, they will choke; and when they choke, they will throw out the ayatollahs"".

This was another bit of 'stovepiped' advice passed directly to the US President. His officials might have warned him that it was fantasy. There is no example of sanctions alone having toppled a state; and whilst the US can use its claim of judicial hegemony as an enforcement mechanism, the US has effectively isolated itself in sanctioning Iran: Europe wants no further insecurity. It wants no more refugees heading to Europe.

real full article here

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/11/05/unraveling-netanyahu-project-for-middle-east.html

[Nov 05, 2018] Will US Sanctions Sway Iran to Enter Oil Deal with Russia

Nov 05, 2018 | russia-insider.com

However, the primary problem would not even be the doubtful profitability, but rather logistics. Iran's oil fields are in the south. To reach Russia, the oil would have to make its way to Caspian ports in the north. Iran has no main pipelines connecting its southern oil fields with northern ports. These ports do have the infrastructure for oil, but they were built to receive oil from swap deals with Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan. They were never meant to export oil.

Consequently, before any exports could begin, Moscow and Tehran would have to invest in creating the necessary storage and loading infrastructure at the Iranian ports. Iran would also need to upgrade its transport infrastructure to deliver oil from the south to the Caspian seashore -- that would also present a challenge.

Finally, Russia and Iran would have to substantially increase their tanker fleets in the landlocked Caspian Sea to exchange large quantities of oil, as the local geography does not allow for the use of large tankers. In this situation, a planned railroad connection between Russia and Iran via Azerbaijan could increase the volume of oil moved from Iran to Russia, but this project has not been completed.

Under these circumstances, Russian officials are demonstrating far greater interest in resuming the so-called oil-for-products program, under which Russia would broker Iranian oil abroad in exchange for Iran buying Russian industrial machinery and providing investment opportunities to Moscow.

Russia and Iran have discussed an oil-for-products initiative for years. Initially, it was supposed to help Tehran evade the oil trade embargo imposed by the United States, European Union (EU) and their partners. When those sanctions were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, the initiative was expected to compensate for Iran's lack of financial reserves, which kept Tehran from paying for imports of Russian equipment in hard currency. However, after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and began reimposing sanctions, the oil-for-products deal again gained importance as a way to evade sanctions.

In November 2017, Moscow received 1 million barrels from Iran as payment for railroad equipment imported from Russia, and arrangements were in the works for Russia to buy an additional 5 million tons of oil in 2018. Indeed, in January and February there were reports of some oil dispatches transferred from Iran to Russian companies. Yet, by March, they stopped . Moscow still plans to revive the deal in 2019, though it might never happen.

On the one hand, Russia has had problems finding buyers for Iranian oil. Concerned about the US sanctions, potential clients refused to purchase it. On the other hand, Iran's main hopes for sanctions relief are more connected to the EU than Russia. There is a strong belief in Tehran that Europeans will be able to offset the negative influence of US economic pressure on Iran. The EU wants to salvage as much of the nuclear deal as possible. Yet the strength of Tehran's belief is hard to explain: Large EU companies have already pulled out of Iran. The EU officials Al-Monitor interviewed openly said that Tehran should not expect a lot from Brussels.

Though Russian and Iranian officials have an on-again, off-again marriage of convenience, Iran's general public and its elite strongly oppose any substantial deals with Moscow. Russia is not trusted or welcomed by Iranians and the countries have a long history of differences . A well-informed and respected Iranian expert on Tehran's foreign policy told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that a Russian oil-for-products initiative would be difficult to implement.

"A large part of Iranian society believes that giving our oil to Russia -- especially at the discounted prices -- is no better than agreeing to Trump's demands," he said.

[Nov 05, 2018] New Iran Sanctions Risk Long-Term US Isolation

Nov 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Patrick Lawrence via ConsortiumNews.com,

The U.S. is going for the jugular with new Iran sanctions intended to punish those who trade with Teheran. But the U.S. may have a fight on its hands in a possible post- WWII turning-point...

The next step in the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran has begun, with the most severe sanctions being re-imposed on the Islamic Republic. Crucially, they apply not only to Iran but to anyone who continues to do business with it.

It's not yet clear how disruptive this move will be. While the U.S. intention is to isolate Iran, it is the U.S. that could wind up being more isolated. It depends on the rest of the world's reaction, and especially Europe's.

The issue is so fraught that disputes over how to apply the new sanctions have even divided Trump administration officials.

The administration is going for the jugular this time. It wants to force Iranian exports of oil and petrochemical products down to as close to zero as possible. As the measures are now written, they also exclude Iran from the global interbank system known as SWIFT.

It is hard to say which of these sanctions is more severe. Iran's oil exports have already started falling. They peaked at 2.7 million barrels a day last May -- just before Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the six-nation accord governing Iran's nuclear programs. By early September oil exports were averaging a million barrels a day less .

In August the U.S. barred Iran's purchases of U.S.-dollar denominated American and foreign company aircraft and auto parts. Since then the Iranian rial has crashed to record lows and inflation has risen above 30 percent.

Revoking Iran's SWIFT privileges will effectively cut the nation out of the dollar-denominated global economy. But there are moves afoot, especially by China and Russia, to move away from a dollar-based economy.

The SWIFT issue has caused i nfighting in the administration between Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser who is among the most vigorous Iran hawks in the White House. Mnuchin might win a temporary delay or exclusions for a few Iranian financial institutions, but probably not much more.

On Sunday, the second round of sanctions kicked in since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Obama administration-backed, nuclear agreement, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for stringent controls on its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly certified that the deal is working and the other signatories -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia have not pulled out and have resumed trading with Iran. China and Russia have already said they will ignore American threats to sanction it for continuing economic relations with Iran. The key question is what will America's European allies do?

Europeans React

Europe has been unsettled since Trump withdrew in May from the nuclear accord. The European Union is developing a trading mechanism to get around U.S. sanctions. Known as a Special Purpose Vehicle , it would allow European companies to use a barter system similar to how Western Europe traded with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Juncker: Wants Euro-denominated trading

EU officials have also been lobbying to preserve Iran's access to global interbank operations by excluding the revocation of SWIFT privileges from Trump's list of sanctions. They count Mnuchin,who is eager to preserve U.S. influence in the global trading system, among their allies. Some European officials, including Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, propose making the euro a global trading currency to compete with the dollar.

Except for Charles de Gaulle briefly pulling France out of NATO in 1967 and Germany and France voting on the UN Security Council against the U.S. invading Iraq in 2003, European nations have been subordinate to the U.S. since the end of the Second World War.

The big European oil companies, unwilling to risk the threat of U.S. sanctions, have already signaled they intend to ignore the EU's new trade mechanism. Total SA, the French petroleum company and one of Europe's biggest, pulled out of its Iran operations several months ago.

Earlier this month a U.S. official confidently predicted there would be little demand among European corporations for the proposed barter mechanism.

Whether Europe succeeds in efforts to defy the U.S. on Iran is nearly beside the point from a long-term perspective. Trans-Atlantic damage has already been done. A rift that began to widen during the Obama administration seems about to get wider still.

Asia Reacts

Asian nations are also exhibiting resistance to the impending U.S. sanctions. It is unlikely they could absorb all the exports Iran will lose after Nov. 4, but they could make a significant difference. China, India, and South Korea are the first, second, and third-largest importers of Iranian crude; Japan is sixth. Asian nations may also try to work around the U.S. sanctions regime after Nov. 4.

India is considering purchases of Iranian crude via a barter system or denominating transactions in rupees. China, having already said it would ignore the U.S. threat, would like nothing better than to expand yuan-denominated oil trading, and this is not a hard call: It is in a protracted trade war with the U.S., and an oil-futures market launched in Shanghai last spring already claims roughly 14 percent of the global market for "front-month" futures -- contracts covering shipments closest to delivery.

Trump: Unwittingly playing with U.S. long-term future

As with most of the Trump administration's foreign policies, we won't know how the new sanctions will work until they are introduced. There could be waivers for nations such as India; Japan is on record asking for one. The E.U.'s Special Purpose Vehicle could prove at least a modest success at best, but this remains uncertain. Nobody is sure who will win the administration's internal argument over SWIFT.

Long-term Consequences for the U.S.

The de-dollarization of the global economy is gradually gathering momentum. The orthodox wisdom in the markets has long been that competition with the dollar from other currencies will eventually prove a reality, but it will not be one to arrive in our lifetimes. But with European and Asian reactions to the imminent sanctions against Iran it could come sooner than previously thought.

The coalescing of emerging powers into a non-Western alliance -- most significantly China, Russia, India, and Iran -- starts to look like another medium-term reality. This is driven by practical rather than ideological considerations, and the U.S. could not do more to encourage this if it tried. When Washington withdrew from the Iran accord, Moscow and Beijing immediately pledged to support Tehran by staying with its terms.If the U.S. meets significant resistance, especially from its allies, it could be a turning-point in post-Word War II U.S. dominance.

Supposedly Intended for New Talks

All this is intended to force Iran back to the negotiating table for a rewrite of what Trump often calls "the worst deal ever." Tehran has made it clear countless times it has no intention of reopening the pact, given that it has consistently adhered to its terms and that the other signatories to the deal are still abiding by it.

The U.S. may be drastically overplaying its hand and could pay the price with additional international isolation that has worsened since Trump took office.

Washington has been on a sanctions binge for years. Those about to take effect seem recklessly broad. This time, the U.S. risks lasting alienation even from those allies that have traditionally been its closest.

[Oct 27, 2018] The EU Russia China Plan to Avert Iran Oil Sanctions by F. William Engdahl

Notable quotes:
"... The fact that the US dollar remains the overwhelming dominant currency for international trade and financial transactions gives Washington extraordinary power over banks and companies in the rest of the world. That's the financial equivalent of a neutron bomb. That might be about to change, though it's by no means a done deal yet. ..."
"... German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Handelsblatt, a leading German business daily, "Europe should not allow the U.S. to act over our heads and at our expense. For that reason, it's essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels that are independent of the US, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system ." ..."
"... In addition to the recent statements from the German Foreign Minister, France is discussing expanding the Iran SPV to create a means of insulating the EU economies from illegal extraterritorial sanctions like the secondary sanctions that punish EU companies doing business in Iran by preventing them from using the dollar or doing business in the USA. ..."
"... F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook." https://journal-neo.org/2018/10/23/the-eu-russia-china-plan-to-avert-iran-oil-sanctions/ ..."
Oct 27, 2018 | journal-neo.org

It may well be that the unilateral wrecking ball politics of the Trump Administration are bringing about a result just opposite from that intended. Washington's decision to abandon the Iran nuclear agreement and impose severe sanctions on companies trading Iran oil as of 4 November, is creating new channels of cooperation between the EU, Russia, China and Iran and potentially others. The recent declaration by Brussels officials of creation of an unspecified Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to legally avoid US dollar oil trade and thereby US sanctions, might potentially spell the beginning of the end of the Dollar System domination of the world economy.

According to reports from the last bilateral German-Iran talks in Teheran on October 17, the mechanisms of a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle that would allow Iran to continue to earn from its oil exports, will begin implementation in the next days. At end of September EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini confirmed plans to create such an independent trade channel, noting, "no sovereign country or organization can accept that somebody else decides with whom you are allowed to do trade with ."

The SPV plan is reportedly modelled on the Soviet barter system used during the cold war to avert US trade sanctions, where Iran oil would be in some manner exchanged for goods without money. The SPV agreement would reportedly involve the European Union, Iran, China and Russia.

According to various reports out of the EU the new SPV plan involves a sophisticated barter system that can avoid US Treasury sanctions. As an example, Iran could ship crude oil to a French firm, accrue credit via the SPV, much like a bank. That could then be used to pay an Italian manufacturer for goods shipped the other way, without any funds traversing through Iranian hands or the normal banking system.A multinational European state-backed financial intermediary would be set up to handle deals with companies interested in Iran transactions and with Iranian counter-parties. Any transactions would not be transparent to the US, and would involve euros and sterling rather than dollars.

It's an extraordinary response to what Washington has called a policy of all-out financial war against Iran, that includes threats to sanction European central banks and the Brussels-based SWIFT interbank payments network if they maintain ties to Iran after November 4. In the post-1945 relations between Western Europe and Washington such aggressive measures have not been seen before.It's forcing some major rethinking from leading EU policy circles.

New Banking Architecture

The background to the mysterious initiative was presented in June in a report titled, Europe, Iran and Economic Sovereignty: New Banking Architecture in Response to US Sanctions. The report was authored by Iranian economist Esfandyar Batmanghelidj and Axel Hellman, a Policy Fellow at the European Leadership Network (ELN), a London-based policy think tank .

The report proposes its new architecture should have two key elements. First it will be based on "gateway banks" designated to act as intermediaries between Iranian and EU commercial banks tied to the Special Purpose Vehicle. The second element is that it would be overseen by an EU-Office of Foreign Asset Controls or EU-OFAC, modeled on the same at the US Treasury, but used for facilitating legal EU-Iran trade, not for blocking it. Their proposed EU-OFAC among other functions would undertake creating certification mechanisms for due diligence on the companies doing such trade and "strengthen EU legal protections for entities engaged in Iran trade and investment ."

The SPV reportedly is based on this plan using designated Gateway Banks, banks in the EU unaffected by Washington "secondary sanctions," as they do not do business in the US and focus on business with Iran. They might include select state-owned German Landesbanks, certain Swiss private banks such as the Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH), a European bank established specifically to engage in trade finance with Iran. In addition, select Iran banks with offices in the EU could be brought in.

Whatever the final result, it is clear that the bellicose actions of the Trump Administration against trade with Iran is forcing major countries into cooperation that ultimately could spell the demise of the dollar hegemony that has allowed a debt-bloated US Government to finance a de facto global tyranny at the expense of others.

EU-Russia-China

During the recent UN General Assembly in New York, Federica Mogherini said the SPV was designed to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports – including oil –so long as the firms involved were carrying out legitimate business under EU law. China and Russia are also involved in the SPV. Potentially Turkey, India and other countries could later join.

Immediately, as expected, Washington has reacted. At the UN US Secretary of State and former CIA head Mike Pompeo declared to an Iran opposition meeting that he was "disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed" by the EU plan. Notably he said ""This is one of the of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional and global peace and security." Presumably the Washington plan for economic war against Iranis designed to foster regional and global peace and security?

Non-US SWIFT?

One of the most brutal weapons in the US Treasury financial warfare battery is the ability to force the Brussels-based SWIFT private interbank clearing system to cut Iran off from using it. That was done with devastating effect in 2012 when Washington pressured the EU to get SWIFT compliance, a grave precedent that sent alarm bells off around the world.

The fact that the US dollar remains the overwhelming dominant currency for international trade and financial transactions gives Washington extraordinary power over banks and companies in the rest of the world. That's the financial equivalent of a neutron bomb. That might be about to change, though it's by no means a done deal yet.

In 2015 China unveiled its CIPS or China International Payments System. CIPS was originally viewed as a future China-based alternative to SWIFT. It would offer clearing and settlement services for its participants in cross-border RMB payments and trade. Unfortunately, a Chinese stock market crisis forced Beijing to downscale their plans, though a skeleton of infrastructure is there.

In another area, since late 2017 Russia and China have discussed possible linking their bilateral payments systems bypassing the dollar. China's Unionpay system and Russia's domestic payment system, known as Karta Mir, would be linked directly .

More recently leading EU policy circles have echoed such ideas, unprecedented in the post-1944 era. In August, referring to the unilateral US actions to block oil and other trade with Iran, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Handelsblatt, a leading German business daily, "Europe should not allow the U.S. to act over our heads and at our expense. For that reason, it's essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels that are independent of the US, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system ."

A Crack in the Dollar Edifice

How far the EU is willing to defy Washington on the issue of trade with Iran is not yet clear. Most probably Washington via NSA and other means can uncover the trades of the EU-Iran-Russia-China SPV.

In addition to the recent statements from the German Foreign Minister, France is discussing expanding the Iran SPV to create a means of insulating the EU economies from illegal extraterritorial sanctions like the secondary sanctions that punish EU companies doing business in Iran by preventing them from using the dollar or doing business in the USA. French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Agnes Von der Muhll, stated that in addition to enabling companies to continue to trade with Iran, that the SPV would, "create an economic sovereignty tool for the European Union beyond this one case. It is therefore a long-term plan that will protect European companies in the future from the effect of illegal extraterritorial sanctions ."

If this will be the case with the emerging EU Special Purpose Vehicle, it will create a gaping crack in the dollar edifice. Referring to the SPV and its implications, Jarrett Blanc, former Obama State Department official involved in negotiating the Iran nuclear agreement noted that, "The payment mechanism move opens the door to a longer-term degradation of US sanctions power."

At present the EU has displayed effusive rhetoric and loud grumbling against unilateral US economic warfare and extraterritorial imposition of sanctions such as those against Russia. Their resolve to potently move to create a genuine alternative to date has been absent. So too is the case so far in other respects for China and Russia. Will the incredibly crass US sanctions war on Iran finally spell the beginning of the end of the dollar domination of the world economy it has held since Bretton Woods in 1945?

My own feeling is that unless the SPV in whatever form utilizes the remarkable technological advantages of certain of the blockchain or ledger technologies similar to the US-based XRP or Ripple, that would enable routing payments across borders in a secure and almost instantaneous way globally, it won't amount to much. It's not that European IT programmers lack the expertise to develop such, and certainly not the Russians. After all one of the leading blockchain companies was created by a Russian-born Canadian named Vitalik Buterin. The Russian Duma is working on new legislation regarding digital currencies, though the Bank of Russia still seems staunchly opposed. The Peoples' Bank of China is rapidly developing and testing a national cryptocurrency, ChinaCoin. Blockchain technologies are widely misunderstood, even in government circles such as the Russian Central Bank that ought to see it is far more than a new "South Sea bubble." The ability of a state-supervised payments system to move value across borders, totally encrypted and secure is the only plausible short-term answer to unilateral sanctions and financial wars until a more civilized order among nations is possible.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."
https://journal-neo.org/2018/10/23/the-eu-russia-china-plan-to-avert-iran-oil-sanctions/

[Sep 29, 2018] US forced to evacuate consulate in Iraq

Sep 29, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

span y gjohnsit on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 9:16pm Last week the Trump Administration ranted against OPEC because the Iranian sanctions are driving up oil prices .
That's called blowback.
Today we see the next level of blowback.

The State Department says the U.S. consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra is being evacuated following attacks blamed on Iran-backed militias. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad will provide full consular services for Basra and the surrounding area, the State Department said.

What's most notable is the reaction by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo directly threatened retaliation against Iran on Friday, after accusing Iranian forces of repeatedly directing attacks against US diplomatic facilities in Iraq.

"Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks," Mr Pompeo said in a statement, adding both the US consulate general in Basrah and the US embassy in Baghdad had been targeted.

Recently, #Iran -supported militias in Iraq launched rocket attacks against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and our consulate in Basra. We'll hold #Iran 's regime accountable for any attack on our personnel or facilities, and respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives. pic.twitter.com/nqbmogbeCA

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 25, 2018

What is happening in Iraq could lead directly to a proxy war with Iran in Iraq.
The Pentagon says U.S. forces will stay in Iraq "as long as needed". There are about 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, versus about 100,000 Shia militiamen.

Pompeo is working with Saudi Arabia to form an anti-Iran coalition known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance.
As recently as April, the U.S. was telling those Shia militias were welcome in Iraq.
Last month those Shia militias threatened to attack foreign troops in Iraq if they didn't leave.

span y Amanda Matthews on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 9:59pm
The irony! It burnzzzzz

" Has the regime in #Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Look around the world and you'll see the answer is a deafening "no."

span y jim p on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 10:55pm
Paging Mr Orwell...

"Iran-backed militias." That would be Iraqis, no? Is the ultimate plan then to, um, eliminate Iraq's Shia? I expect to hear, soon, that Iraqi Shia test their chemical weapons on children.

span y snoopydawg on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 11:24pm
Hypocrisy at its finest
The UN Charter calls for nations to "live together in peace with one another as good neighbors." Has the regime in #Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Look around the world and you'll see the answer is a deafening "no."

Why the leaders of the rest of the world didn't walk out on Trump when he threatened other countries is beyond my comprehension. How much longer will they waste their citizen's lives and their money just because we told them to jump?

Remember when Obama said that "no country should have to tolerate bombs dropping on them from outside their borders?

[Sep 29, 2018] EU, UK, Russia, China Join Together To Dodge US Sanctions On Iran

I think those measure have implicit blessing from Washington, which realized how dangerous withdrawal of Iraq oil from the market can be for the USA economy
Sep 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York is a place where world leaders are able to hold important meetings behind closed doors. Russia, China, the UK, Germany, France, and the EU seized that opportunity on Sept. 24 to achieve a real milestone.

The EU, Russia, China, and Iran will create a special purpose vehicle (SPV), a "financially independent sovereign channel," to bypass US sanctions against Tehran and breathe life into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) , which is in jeopardy. "Mindful of the urgency and the need for tangible results, the participants welcomed practical proposals to maintain and develop payment channels, notably the initiative to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports, including oil," they announced in a joint statement. The countries are still working out the technical details. If their plan succeeds, this will deliver a blow to the dollar and a boost to the euro.

The move is being made in order to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. According to Federica Mogherini , High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the SPV will facilitate payments for Iran's exports, such as oil, and imports so that companies can do business with Tehran as usual. The vehicle will be available not just to EU firms but to others as well. A round of US sanctions aimed at ending Iranian oil exports is to take effect on November 5. Iran is the world's seventh-largest oil producer. Its oil sector accounts for 70% of the country's exports. Tehran has warned the EU that it should find new ways of trading with Iran prior to that date, in order to preserve the JCPOA.

The SPV proposes to set up a multinational, European, state-backed financial intermediary to work with companies interested in trading with Iran. Payments will be made in currencies other than the dollar and remain outside the reach of those global money-transfer systems under US control. In August, the EU passed a blocking statute to guarantee the immunity of European companies from American punitive measures. It empowers EU firms to seek compensation from the United States Treasury for its attempts to impose extra-territorial sanctions. No doubt the move will further damage the already strained US-EU relationship. It might be helpful to create a special EU company for oil exports from Iran.

Just hours after the joint statement on the SPV, US President Trump defended his unilateral action against Iran in his UNGA address . US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the EU initiative , stating:

"This is one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional global peace and security."

To wit, the EU, Russia, and China have banded together in open defiance against unilateral steps taken by the US. Moscow and Beijing are in talks on how to combine their efforts to fend off the negative impacts of US trade tariffs and sanctions. A planned Sept 24-25 visit by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu, who was coming to the United States for trade talks, was cancelled as a result of the discord and President Trump added more fuel to the fire on Sept. 24 by imposing 10% tariffs on almost half of all goods the US imports from China. "We have far more bullets," the president said before the Chinese official's planned visit. "We're going to go US$200 billion and 25 per cent Chinese made goods. And we will come back with more." The US has recently imposed sanctions on China to punish it for the purchase of Russian S-400 air-defense systems and combat planes. Beijing refused to back down. It is also adamant in its desire to continue buying Iran's oil.

It is true, the plan to skirt the sanctions might fall short of expectations. It could fail as US pressure mounts. A number of economic giants, including Total, Peugeot, Allianz, Renault, Siemens, Daimler, Volvo, and Vitol Group have already left Iran as its economy plummets, with the rial losing two-thirds of its value since the first American sanctions took effect in May. The Iranian currency dropped to a record low against the US dollar this September.

What really matters is the fact that the leading nations of the EU have joined the global heavyweights -- Russia and China -- in open defiance of the United States.

This is a milestone event.

It's hard to underestimate its importance. Certainly, it's too early to say that the UK and other EU member states are doing a sharp pivot toward the countries that oppose the US globally, but this is a start - a first step down that path. This would all have seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago - the West and the East in the same boat, trying to stand up to the American bully!

[Sep 27, 2018] When Fake Countries Go to War by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... Instead of being countries, they resemble country clubs, in which a dominant few paying customers effectively make the rules and hire others to implement them. A large share of their populations are foreign and live in the shadows, with few rights and no opportunity to participate politically in the societies in which they live. ..."
"... "To survive, the Gulf governments need to look beyond simple questions of labor-force nationalization and economic austerity." ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Until recently, life in Qatar was quite pleasant. But then Saudi Arabia, backed by President Donald Trump, who has gone from critic to fan of the ruling royals there, led an effort to isolate its smaller neighbor. With supreme irony, Riyadh, whose people have done more to fund and man terrorist attacks on Americans than any other nation, accused Doha of backing terrorists.

It's impossible to predict the outcome of Saudi Arabia's hypocritical jihad. More moderate Kuwait has not joined Saudi Arabia, whose leaders, among the most licentious in the Muslim world, run a government that may also be the least tolerant. Despite President Trump's Saudi swoon, the Defense and State Departments have taken more measured positions. Turkey rushed to Qatar's defense, Iran airlifted food, and Russia, ever more active in the Mideast, called for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict.

The Gulf countries really cannot afford to be at odds. The half-dozen Gulf states share a critical characteristic: all are essentially fake countries. To be sure, they have governments, diplomats, and military. But they are monarchies, some of recent vintage, in a world that long ago abandoned primogeniture.

And all contract out the hardest work, from manual to professional, to foreigners. Instead of being countries, they resemble country clubs, in which a dominant few paying customers effectively make the rules and hire others to implement them. A large share of their populations are foreign and live in the shadows, with few rights and no opportunity to participate politically in the societies in which they live.

That Qatar could not operate without its foreign workers is evident when landing in Doha. Almost any practical job of importance is performed by a foreigner. It's the same in the other Gulf States.

It's not unusual for governments to contract out work. Western governments do so, though usually to their own citizens, and in order to save money. What makes the Gulf States unique is the scale of reliance on foreign labor and the reason for doing so: to ensure that their own citizens need not be bothered having to work, or at least work unduly hard.

The increased role of expatriates reflects oil wealth. In the early 1970s the number of foreigners in the Gulf was modest. But as oil prices rose, starting in 1973 the disposable income of these states rose dramatically -- as did demand for expatriate labor. The number trebled within a decade. And the numbers have continued to rise. At the same time the proportion of non-Arabs (and non-Muslims) rose.

Estimates of the share of expatriates are rough but striking. Up to 90 percent (some estimates are a bit lower) of the residents of the United Arab Emirates are foreigners. Roughly 85 percent of Qatar's population is foreign. Kuwait comes in at 70 percent. Bahrain's expat share is 55 percent. Both Oman, the least visible of the Gulf nations, and Saudi Arabia, the most populous of the six, fall in at 30 percent. In the latter even the smaller percentage means there are upwards of eight million foreigners in the Desert Kingdom. In sharp contrast are Iran, Iraq, and Yemen, which have followed a different path.

Money obviously can buy comfort, if not happiness. It seems to have worked for the Gulf States. But the fall in oil prices has put the Gulf model under severe stress. Once addicted to free spending, the countries are facing deficits and being forced to borrow to maintain current outlays. Yet even the latter is no longer easy. Bahrain and Oman have seen their credit ratings downgraded to junk status.

Kuwait, with a democratically elected National Assembly, has faced popular resistance to retrenchment, particularly reductions in social benefits and economic subsidies. Roughly half of the Assembly members elected last November formed an unofficial opposition. Even the most dictatorial of the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, feels the pressure. The deputy crown prince led efforts to trim expensive social benefits and subsidies as well as government salaries last fall, but the monarchy recently reversed those cuts. This will exacerbate the underlying economic problems.

Another austerity target is expat labor. For years governments have officially committed to labor force nationalization, without great effect. Some recently launched new efforts to reduce reliance on expats: taxes on hiring foreigners, requirements for domestic hiring for particular occupations, and employment quotas in some industries. A few have even rounded up and deported some expats. But an increased cash crunch may provide the most powerful incentive of all to change.

Nevertheless, moving toward a more normal balance in the labor force won't be easy. First is the sheer magnitude of expatriate hiring. A nation that brings in nine times as many foreigners as it has citizens cannot easily replace the former's labor. Although many of the jobs are nonessential, such as domestic servants, they remain popular.

Lack of adequate skills is another issue. Some jobs require specialized training or professional education, which takes time and commitment. Local interest in such occupations doesn't match demand. Even worse, many locals exhibit a minimal work ethic.

Equally problematic, the sense of entitlement runs deep. The number of nationals employed in private business has been increasing. But government remains the preferred type of employment. Even locals joke at the difference: Kuwaiti officials privately talk dismissively of the willingness of their fellow citizens to work. Many Gulf residents believe their national oil wealth entitles them to easy but remunerative employment.

More fundamentally, citizenship has a feeling of being transactional. Monarchs of dubious legitimacy get to rule so long as they share enough revenue with their citizens to provide lives of relative ease. In effect, foreign labor becomes part of the deal, essentially an entitlement of citizenship available only to a privileged few. Although the regimes usually retain control of security agencies, there are creative exceptions, such as Bahrain importing Sunni Muslims from Bangladesh and Pakistan as emergency service workers and policemen.

Plenty of Americans and Europeans like their welfare states and clamor for more benefits. Yet in all those nations the same people pay taxes and sometimes are required to perform military or other national service. Most see their political community as a larger whole and perceive citizenship as something beyond mutual transactions. The Gulf States feel differently.

While the Saudi-led attack on Qatar is dominating today's headlines, a more fundamental challenge faces the Gulf. Can artificial states dependent on buying the loyalty of their own citizens while farming out the toughest work to others survive forever?

Iran scares Riyadh and its neighbors because the former poses a moral rather than military threat. Islamist rule in Tehran is odious, but offers meaning to people who believe in more than money. Transactional rule is tenuous even in the best of times. It becomes more dubious as the cash flow slows.

To survive, the Gulf governments need to look beyond simple questions of labor-force nationalization and economic austerity. They must adopt political reforms that give their peoples a greater stake in their own societies. Ultimately the best way to defeat Iran is to offer a more convincing governing philosophy and a genuine sense of community -- characteristics now absent from the monarchies that are America's closest Arab allies in the region.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire. MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Poland Wants an American Garrison: Let Germany Do It! Angela Merkel, Teflon No Longer Hide 24 comments 24 Responses to When Fake Countries Go to War

Ken'ichi July 4, 2017 at 12:30 am

" Instead of being countries, they resemble country clubs, in which a dominant few paying customers effectively make the rules and hire others to implement them. A large share of their populations are foreign and live in the shadows, with few rights and no opportunity to participate politically in the societies in which they live. "

And how many actual citizens Athens had during the "Athenian democracy", versus the metics and slaves? What was ratio of the Spartiates to helots in Laconia?

Alex (the one that likes Ike) , says: July 4, 2017 at 8:03 am
I would not call Saudi Arabia even dictatorial. Deriving from Roman magistracy, a dictatorship must have at least a veneer of legality. Saudi Arabia doesn't have that. It's simply a tyranny.
skeptical , says: July 4, 2017 at 9:46 am
The Gulf is of interest because of oil, period. Whether the people who control the oil can be considered "real states" is immaterial, because we have to deal with whomever controls the oil. We don't war on behalf of these "fake states", any more than we warred in Iraq and Afghanistan to prevent abuse of women and children; we war in the Middle East for continued access to the oil.
SteveM , says: July 4, 2017 at 9:58 am
Re: "To survive, the Gulf governments need to look beyond simple questions of labor-force nationalization and economic austerity."

The sclerotic Gulf state regimes already have an alternative plan in place. Their multi-BILLION dollar weapons deals with the American Merchants of Death are implicit protection money to the U.S. to guarantee their security. Trump's ridiculous sword dance with the odious Saudi princes was the icing on the cake of the warped compact.

One way or another, U.S. influence is now propagated at the point of a gun.

Steven , says: July 4, 2017 at 11:24 am
Having lived in the region for some years, I think Bandow's blanket description of relationships between government and people there as "transactional" is quite wide of the mark, even ignorant.

These countries are quite obviously not western democracies, but more like a tribal government where one family runs things for the whole tribe, and the tribe and clans have been able in the past to either tell the family to find a new leader or to transfer their allegiances to another family. It's not Jeffersonian democracy, but in once bitterly poor countries with very little education, it worked quite well, just like Liechtenstein.

An analogy that is not entirely wrong would be the relation Italian Mafia dons had with villages in the days before they got into drugs etc. He didn't keep a parliament, but if you had problems, you could go to him and expect him to help you find a solution.

I should also point out to Bandow that nobody forces these foreigners to work in the gulf states, nor do they complain that they found work there. So what is his problem with their arrangements?

habarigani , says: July 4, 2017 at 11:32 am
If Islamist rule in Iran "offers meaning to people who believe in more than money" why is it "odious"? After all it governs largely with the consent of people. Is it "odious" because it does not confirm to Western concept of government and democracy in other words "Western exceptionalism"? Iran is evolving alternate path to Islamic democracy and the Persian Gulf could take a lesson from them. Instead of demonizing Iran, we should encourage its neighbors to make peace with it and emulate it!
blimbax , says: July 4, 2017 at 12:41 pm
Islamist rule in Tehran is odious, but offers meaning to people who believe in more than money.

"Odious" compared to what? And who are we to say?

I get the feeling that even when writing articles like this one, that are critical of the regimes in the gulf, the authors feel some obligation to say something gratuitous and negative about Iran.

Howard , says: July 4, 2017 at 1:26 pm
The parallels with our own country are there, though strangely not mentioned alongside the differences. In the Gulf states, there is a shared religion and a shared ethnicity to bind the minority "citizens", but in the USA those bonds do not unite even citizens. How much is the "patriotism" of today really based on moral necessity -- particularly when the insistence to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's" comes from a religion that is no longer encouraged -- rather than on threats or bribery? (And like the Gulf states, Uncle Sam is finding it harder to afford to pay the bribes.)
Iyad , says: July 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm
The Gulf will never ever be able to offer a more convincing governing philosophy and a genuine sense of community than Iran. When you hear Iranian people telling you: We are from Persia, or when every non-official Iranian I saw outside Iran in the West is Liberal you know there is something different than the Zoo called Gulf.
Im a Syrian-American Christian who lived 2 years in KSA. And yes what Trump did in the Gulf was wrong and nothing but wrong. We hoped for a new day. The only support Trump got before elections was from the Syrians: Syrian Vice President wrote an article defending him!
Cynthia McLean , says: July 4, 2017 at 2:28 pm
The people of Iran remain loyal to their country not due primarily to fealty to "Islamist rule," but because of 1000's of years of glorious Persian history –arts, philosophy and literature, heroic figures etc. What such roots have the Gulf States in contrast?
William Burns , says: July 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm
Primogeniture's got nothing to do with it. Saudi Arabia's a monarchy, but it certainly doesn't follow primogeniture.
David Smith , says: July 4, 2017 at 5:05 pm
A friend of mine who used to work in that area put it like this: "Saudi Arabia is not a country, it's a company."
Dennis Tuchler , says: July 4, 2017 at 5:27 pm
Why aren't more literate Americans complaining about our slavish support of Saudi Arabia? US demonize Iran, a somewhat repressive theocracy in which women have rights and other monotheistic religions can be practiced. Find me a church in Saudi.

What would happen to the United States if Iran became he hegemon of the middle east? Aside from US oil interests and American Israelis, how would Americans suffer if we just bugged out of the Middle East?

Oil is for sale on the international market. We can get if whether it comes from Iran, Saudi or somewhere in the Western Hemisphere.

bacon , says: July 4, 2017 at 6:38 pm
@skeptical is exactly right. Before oil became the most necessary commodity in the world the Middle East was unimportant and in 50 or so years when oil and natural gas are nearly gone the area will be a backwater again. The Suez Canal may remain a major trade route, Israel's hold on the world's attention and particularly its influence in the US will still be a factor, Iran will still be a potential global actor, but the days of US presidents visiting Saudi Arabia and figuratively kissing the king's ring will be over. That is not to say the oil sheikdoms won't be problems, perhaps at war with one another, but it will only be a problem for the US, Russia, or Europe if our leaders cannot control their need to interfere in every little thing, everywhere.
Winston , says: July 4, 2017 at 10:01 pm
@Steven, Yes the Gulf countries are basically run in an anachronistic way. Not much different from how this region was governed locally, except with British intervention, Ibn Saud managed to dominate others in his area, and the British also helped to form the others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trucial_States

The only 2 with significant populations are the Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Seems to be needing to rely so heavily on foreigners is really an acknowledgement of incompetence, not because locals do not want to work.

Iran is actually the best run ME country. It has capable women and allows them space. A young girl designed a much lauded bridge in Tehran. Which other ME country has given females this latitude?

See:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/20/bridge-tehran-architect-iran-leila-araghian-tabiat-sanctions-iranian-designers
Take it to the bridge: the Tehran architect striking the right chord in Iran and beyond

And this is just one example pf the contributions female make to the country.

Omar , says: July 4, 2017 at 11:20 pm
"Ultimately the best way to defeat Iran is to offer a more convincing governing philosophy and a genuine sense of community -- characteristics now absent from the monarchies that are America's closest Arab allies in the region."

It is truly sad that these states are America's closest allies. What if the people of these states wanted political change? They would have to go up against Kings armed to the teeth by America. It is therefore America which stands in the way of real change as much as the Kings themselves. America is the great enabler of most if not all Arab Kingdoms.

BadZ , says: July 5, 2017 at 2:28 am
"Ultimately the best way to defeat Iran is to offer a more convincing governing philosophy and a genuine sense of community -- characteristics now absent from the monarchies that are America's closest Arab allies in the region."

I've yet to hear a good reason why it would be a good thing for anybody to 'defeat' Iran. After all, Iran is currently only in open military conflict with Al Qaeda and ISIS types, so who do we want to see defeated? Also, no matter how odious we may find the government, Iran is still a paradise of freedom and democracy when compared to Saudi Arabia (as was Syria, for that matter).

Michael Kenny , says: July 5, 2017 at 12:34 pm
Who gave Americans the right to decide that this or that state is "fake" or "artificial"? Or that they "must" adopt political reforms? Or that this or that other state is "moral" and "offers meaning to people who believe in more than money"? Mr Bandow certainly doesn't seem to beleive in "non-intervention"! Although (cynical me, you may say!), he might well make an exception in regard to Ukraine.
Frip , says: July 5, 2017 at 1:32 pm
The substance of this article could have been covered in 4 short paragraphs.
Nolan , says: July 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm
"Ultimately the best way to defeat Iran is to offer a more convincing "

Not until the last line, but is that what this article is about? Why must this author promulgate the obnoxious "Iran is evil" line – we can go and find all over MSM! I suspect you have little experience in these countries and find your words on Iran stale (and odious).

Cornel Lencar , says: July 5, 2017 at 9:51 pm
What one can expect from slaver states?
Mark M , says: July 5, 2017 at 10:24 pm
I'm one of the few Iranian-Americans that has extensive experience working in the Arab countries and also in visiting Iran and all I can say is just stay away from it. Most of these Arab countries are going to implode at some point whereas Iran I expect will moderate and mature. In the meantime, get off the oil.
RockMeAmadeus , says: July 7, 2017 at 4:20 am
The Islamic revolution and Islamic republic institutionalized constitutionalism, elections from the local level to the highest officials, mass literacy and education from primary to post-doc level, military power and mass healthcare and in Iran after 2,500 years of monarchy.

Nothing "odious" about that.

RockMeAmadeus , says: July 7, 2017 at 4:27 am
Instead of wanting to "defeat" Iran, the American REPUBLIC should ally itself with the Islamic REPUBLIC against the Gulf clowns and the apartheid state in Israel.

Somebody should check and see if Cato gets any Gulf money, hey who knows

[Sep 19, 2018] There is no spare capacity from Iran

Sep 19, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Guym x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 7:44 pm

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Iran-There-Is-No-Spare-Oil-Capacity.html

There is no spare capacity from Iran.

Boomer II x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 8:07 pm
So what does Trump do before the midterms? Live with higher prices? Quietly drop the sanctions ? Find a way to get Iranian oil on the market while pretending there are sanctions? Accept the high prices and blame Obama?
Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 9:03 pm
Well, he is not the brightest porch light on the block -- -
Survivalist x Ignored says: 09/14/2018 at 11:04 pm
I had read a couple months ago that Trump was nattering about tapping the SPR around the time of the mid terms.
Guym x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 4:49 pm
Oil price can rise some, now. It's only a month and a half to go. Gasoline stocks are high, so it will take some trickle down time. Raiding the SPR is overkill.
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 8:39 am
Boomer,

Trump will blame Saudis for not increasing output, Saudis will then raise output in Sept to tamp prices down before midterms.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/15/2018 at 9:30 am
I'm betting they don't. Saudi production in September is more likely to be down than up. But if it is up it will only by a tiny amount, not near enough to affect prices. Saudi Arabis is just not interested in increasing production by any significant amount. They would like to keep production steady .if possible.
Dennis coyne x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 1:00 pm
Ron,

You may be right, but Trump may try to get Saudis to raise output and he may slow down aggressive action on Iranian sanctions until after midterms.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 1:25 pm
Seems Iran always has the trump cards.
Now if they could just get rid of religious oppression, and have a better functioning government–
Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/16/2018 at 2:19 pm
Trump already tried that. Here is his tweet.

Trump asks Saudi Arabia to increase oil production

"Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference Prices to high! He has agreed!" the tweet read.

And of course, after the King hung up the phone he probably said: "We are not going to do any of that shit." The Saudis, just like Trump's staff, know he is an idiot.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 1:54 am
"And of course, after the King hung up the phone he probably said: "We are not going to do any of that shit."

I doubt that happened but I don't have any inside contacts in the WH to confirm. My guess is that Trump has turned up the heat on Iran because of requests from KSA & Israel.

The USA has been helping MbS with is Yemen war, as well as proxy war in Syria. If KSA want the US to economically crush Iran, than KSA will need to help but increasing its Oil exports. Perhaps KSA as some oil stashed in storage that it could release for a short period. My guess KSA would delay using its storage reserves until there is a price spike that might force the US to back off on Iran.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 3:54 am
I doubt that happened but I don't have any inside contacts in the WH to confirm.

You doubt what happened? The quote was a tweet directly from the President. He sent it out to the world, you don't need an inside contact to the White House. Trump's tweets go out to the public.

Yes, it did happen. Of course, the part about what the King did afterward was just speculation on my part. But he did not increase oil production as Trump requested. That much we do know.

TechGuy x Ignored says: 09/18/2018 at 2:54 pm
Hi Ron,

Not arguing the tweet Trumpet made, but your reasoning that the MbS will ignore the request.

I am reasonably sure MbS wants the USA to go after Iran, and thus has a motive to try to comply with Trumpet's request for more Oil. That said, I very much doubt KSA can increase production, but they may have 50 to 150 mmbl in storage they could release if Oil prices spike.

FYI:
"Why The U.S. Is Suddenly Buying A Lot More Saudi Oil"

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Why-The-US-Is-Suddenly-Buying-A-Lot-More-Saudi-Oil.html

" the Saudis are responding to the demands of their staunch ally U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly slammed OPEC for the high gasoline prices, urging the cartel in early July to "REDUCE PRICING NOW!""

"Saudi Arabia Boosts Oil Supply To Asia As Iran Sanctions Return"
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Saudi-Arabia-Boosts-Oil-Supply-To-Asia-As-Iran-Sanctions-Return.html

"Saudi Arabia cut last week its official selling price (OSP) for its flagship Arab Light grade for October to Asia by US$0.10 a barrel to US$1.10 a barrel premium to the Dubai/Oman average"

So it appears that KSA is trying to comply with Trumpet's request. At least by trying to lower the oil prices via selling their oil at a discount.

** Note: Not trying to be a PITA, just providing an alternative viewpoint. I do value what you post. Hope you understand.

[Sep 15, 2018] Kerry Trashes Trump Amidst Iran Row 8-Year Old Boy With The Insecurity Of A Teenage Girl

It's really difficult rationally explain Trump obsession with Iran. may be Israeli lobby influence would be the most appropriate instead of "The Insecurity Of A Teenage Girl"
Sep 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

At the end of a week in which former Secretary of State John Kerry's unauthorized meetings with top Iranian officials have taken center stage, and in which both President Trump and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have publicly thrashed Kerry's "unheard of" and "illegal meetings" with Iran that "undercut" the White House, Kerry has gone on his own anti-Trump rant .

Appearing on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night, Kerry slammed the president as having "the maturity of an 8-year-old boy with the insecurity of a teenage girl" in remarks that are sure to continue the ongoing war of words. Previously in the week upon news of John Kerry's Wednesday Hugh Hewitt Show radio interview in which he admitted meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif "three or four times" since Donald Trump took office, President Trump slammed the "illegal meetings" as serving to "undercut" White House diplomatic dealings with Iran .

Trump further hinted that Kerry violated the Logan Act by rhetorically asking whether Kerry is officially registered as a foreign agent .

The president tweeted: John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!

When asked about the White House's potential threats of legal inquiry into the meetings, Kerry dismissed: "There's nothing unusual about it. The conversation he really ought to be worrying about is Paul Manafort with Mueller."

"Unfortunately, we have a president, literally, for whom the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is three different things, and you don't even know what they are," Kerry added.

We can only imagine how Trump is going to respond, whether on Twitter, or perhaps by announcing a legal inquiry over Kerry possibly breaking the Logan Act and failing to register as a foreign agent, as Trump's Thursday evening tweet suggested.

[Sep 12, 2018] Trump Sanctions on Iran May Already Be Backfiring as Tehran's Oil Revenues Soar by Whitney Webb

Notable quotes:
"... Further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation. ..."
Sep 12, 2018 | www.mintpressnews.com

Further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation. September 12th, 2018

Despite the Trump administration's " maximum pressure " campaign targeting the Iranian economy, Iran's crude oil and oil product revenues jumped a surprising 60 percent from March 21 to July 23. In addition, figures provided by Iran's Central Bank show that Iran's revenues from oil sales soared by 84.2 percent over that same period, setting a new record.

The increased revenues seem to have resulted from a jump in oil prices this year as well as Iran's high oil export volume during part of that period. Notably, the increased revenues were reported despite the United States' announcement in May that it would sanction those purchasing Iranian oil starting in early November, with the ultimate goal of reducing Iranian oil sales to zero in order to place pressure on the Iranian government.

The U.S.' efforts have had some noticeable effects on Iranian oil exports, as the country's exports for the month of August were significantly lower than those of July. However, the drop has only seen exports fall to near March 2016 levels , when the U.S. was not pursuing a sanctions policy against Iran and the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was in effect.

Further dashing U.S. hopes of crushing Iranian oil exports have been recent announcements from Iran's top two customers, China and India , that they would continue to import Iranian crude despite the looming threat of U.S. sanctions. India, along with some other countries, has sought " waivers " from Washington that would allow them to continue to import Iranian oil and avoid retaliation from the U.S. for a certain period of time.

In addition, the European Union, which had previously joined the U.S. in targeting Iranian oil exports in 2012, has shown its unwillingness to follow Washington's lead this time around, openly vowing to rebel against the U.S. sanctions regimen and increasing the likelihood that Europe will continue to buy some Iranian oil despite U.S. threats.

Risks for U.S. and global economies

Another indication that efforts to curb Iranian oil exports are backfiring for the Trump administration is the jump in oil prices that has resulted from concerns about the U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil exports. The increase in oil prices is likely to be felt domestically in the U.S., the world's largest consumer of oil, potentially posing a political risk to Trump and his fellow Republicans ahead of the November 6 midterm elections. In addition, further oil price increases could trigger a slowdown in domestic or global economic growth, which could further complicate the U.S.' Iran policy and Trump's domestic political situation.

Such concerns have prompted U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to meet his Saudi and Russian counterparts in an effort to convince those two countries to keep oil output high in order to offset a reduction in future Iranian oil exports. While Saudi Arabia has already stated it would increase output, Russia is unlikely to comply, given its relationship with Iran and Washington's threat to impose new sanctions on Moscow. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia are currently the world's three largest oil producers, accounting for about a third of global crude oil output.

While the Trump administration may have assumed that U.S. oil producers – and the U.S. economy in general -- would benefit from the elimination of Iranian oil exports, the growing rejection of the impending U.S. sanctions by other countries shows that these nations are unwilling to pay for more expensive American oil or even Saudi oil, preferring less expensive Iranian oil despite potential future consequences. Furthermore, efforts to increase U.S. crude production have fallen short of government expectations, further complicating the U.S.' efforts to offset an increase in oil prices resulting from Iranian oil sanctions.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann's Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

[Sep 02, 2018] An Israeli campaign against Iranian nuclear sites is going to involve F-15 and F-16 jets loaded to the gills with big-arse bombs. Those will be unable to dogfight even a relic like an F-5 unless they drop that ordinance.

Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yeah, Right , Sep 2, 2018 1:27:48 AM | link

@82 There is some logic to the Iranians fielding a jet fighter of any sort, even if it is based on a relic of the 1970s.

An Israeli campaign against Iranian nuclear sites is going to involve F-15 and F-16 jets loaded to the gills with big-arse bombs. Those will be unable to dogfight even a relic like an F-5 unless they drop that ordinance.

If that is all those Iranians do that then they will have achieved their purpose.

Alternatively, the Israelis could use fighter escorts but then you have to consider that each escort represents one less bomb-laden F-16 (or, put another way, twice as many sorties).

Simply put: Absent any Iranian jet fighters then the Israelis can commit ALL of their jets to the task of bombing Iranian targets, and do so from the very beginning. But once Iranian fighters are in the mix then the job becomes much harder: the Israelis either have to take out those jets first before committing to a bombing campaign, or they have to commit half their force to escort duties from the very start.

Sure, SU-35s would be much better, but an F-5 is still way better than nothing.

partizan , Sep 2, 2018 3:40:55 AM | link

@Yeah, Right | Sep 2, 2018 1:27:48 AM | 144

the Iranian defense budget is one of lowest in that part of the world. even tiny Dubai has higher one.

upgrading an old fighter jet (not only jet) is sometime more costly than developing a new one.

su-35 flanker-e 4++ costs about $85 million a piece. i simply refuse to believe they cannot afford that.

[Aug 31, 2018] Trump is relying on shoddy "analysis" offered up by propagandists and ideologues. They don't, or at least they don't care, as long as they get what they want. They want Iran destroyed, just as the neocons wanted their war on Iraq, and spent the better part of fifteen years concocting excuses until Bush came into office.

Notable quotes:
"... With all due respect, Mr. Larison (and that is not passive aggression, as it is obvious that you are both honest and have your heart in the right place) – you assume that Trump and Iran hawks even want to get it right. ..."
"... They don't, or at least they don't care, as long as they get what they want. They want Iran destroyed, just as the neocons wanted their war on Iraq, and spent the better part of fifteen years concocting excuses until Bush came into office. Bush was weak and easily manipulated (like Trump), and the hawks got the war that they wanted ..."
"... The results for the United States and Iraq are well known. The hawks not only paid no personal or professional price for their crimes, they are largely the same crew cheerleading for the war they have planned for Iran. ..."
"... The same can be said with Libya. In that case, the hawks didn't even bother sticking around after they destroyed the country ..."
"... Why would anybody debate the lies and inanities of paid-for stooges? Never attribute to malice or stupidity what could and should be properly attributed to money, profit, greed: Saudi and Israeli-American oligarch money to selected representatives in exchange for services. ..."
"... Trump is the tragedy of George "Cakewalker" Bush repeating as a farce. There is nothing that cannot be bought of The American People, it you offer the right amount to the right people. ..."
Aug 31, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Blind Spot Donald August 31, 2018 at 2:17 am

"The problem is that Trump knows so little about Iran and the region that he never realizes that he is relying on shoddy "analysis" offered up by propagandists and ideologues."

And boy do the propagandists and ideologues know it!

word to the wise , says: August 31, 2018 at 2:47 am

""When I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East," Trump said Thursday"

You must be thinking of ISIS, Mr. President.

Mr. President, the total territory taken by Iran in the last one hundred years well, its none. Nothing at all, actually. Zero acres. Zero hectares. Zero square feet, if you prefer. An "Iranian Empire" was never about to take over the Middle East, Mr. President, because an "Iranian Empire" hasn't existed even as a wizened husk since about 1925. Those around you who claimed to fear such a thing despite all evidence to the contrary are either fools or liars. And they obviously don't mind making you one.

Stick to your campaign promise: a) bomb the hell out of ISIS and b) get out of the Middle East. You did a). Now do b).

Downtown Alexandria , says: August 31, 2018 at 4:46 am

Iran hawks don't have to get Iran right. They have to get Israel and Saudi Arabia right. "Truth" misses the point. It's all about what MbS and Bibi want. Say the right things and the Saudi/Israel money flows. Say the wrong thing and, well, don't say the wrong thing: free speech isn't a "Western value" any more.

Christian Chuba , says: August 31, 2018 at 7:19 am

All very true but to play Devil's Advocate, what's the harm in strangling Iran? You have them on the defensive even if they don't collapse. Answer: Iraq 2, the sequel. The mother of all carnage.

The same people who got us into war against Iraq are re-creating the same terms against Iran.
1. They are replacing the transparency of the JCPOA with the opaqueness of WMD Iraq.
2. They are backing Iran into a corner just like we did Saddam.
3. They have MEK just like they had Chalabi.
4. Saddam was the Nexis of terrorism as they now claim wit Iran.
5. They will greet us as liberators.
6. War will be cheap this time, we have stand off weapons (ignoring Iran's ballistic missile arsenal and potential allies, Russia and China).

Yes, we are that stupid.

BradleyD , says: August 31, 2018 at 9:18 am

@Christian Chuba

Also add in Iran's Electronic Warfare capability. They have an awful nice computer virus on hand they can re-release as well as solid GPS denial and spoofing technology. They wrote a white paper on it. Either kill the signal completely or throw a vessel miles off course; should be fun for shipping.

TJ Martin , says: August 31, 2018 at 9:58 am

If I may a minor correction to the header . The correct term in regards to the majority of those proponents for war and regime change should be : ' ChickenHawks ' .. the political idiom not the bird

Sid Finster , says: August 31, 2018 at 10:16 am

With all due respect, Mr. Larison (and that is not passive aggression, as it is obvious that you are both honest and have your heart in the right place) – you assume that Trump and Iran hawks even want to get it right.

They don't, or at least they don't care, as long as they get what they want. They want Iran destroyed, just as the neocons wanted their war on Iraq, and spent the better part of fifteen years concocting excuses until Bush came into office. Bush was weak and easily manipulated (like Trump), and the hawks got the war that they wanted .

The results for the United States and Iraq are well known. The hawks not only paid no personal or professional price for their crimes, they are largely the same crew cheerleading for the war they have planned for Iran.

The same can be said with Libya. In that case, the hawks didn't even bother sticking around after they destroyed the country .

Normally, I'd say that never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but this cannot be adequately explained by stupidity.

b. , says: August 31, 2018 at 11:35 am

The Iranian government is all-powerful, bent on taking over the Middle East. The Iranian people are fully behind it and/or powerless to change it. We must attack!

The Iranian government is weak and falling apart, and the Iranian people are eager to rise up and able to depose of it at the first opening. We must attack!

Why would anybody debate the lies and inanities of paid-for stooges? Never attribute to malice or stupidity what could and should be properly attributed to money, profit, greed: Saudi and Israeli-American oligarch money to selected representatives in exchange for services.

Plurality must never be posited without necessity. Call it Cicero's Blade of human behavior: If it can be explained by profit, it is all-advised to search for other explanations.

War is a racket. It is never begun unless somebody expects to profit from it. If our age is different in any respect, is that we define "profit" as nothing more than convertible currency. It is the single-mindedness of utilitarianism and capitalism applied to all aspects of the human condition.

b. , says: August 31, 2018 at 11:38 am

When Trump "came into" the Oval Office, it was a question of when would the US take over the Middle East again. Now it's a question of will the US survive. It's a big difference in one and a half years.

b. , says: August 31, 2018 at 11:41 am

"they exaggerate the fragility of the regime because it makes regime change seem relatively easy to achieve."

Or possible at all.

Trump is the tragedy of George "Cakewalker" Bush repeating as a farce. There is nothing that cannot be bought of The American People, it you offer the right amount to the right people.

Christian Chuba , says: August 31, 2018 at 1:14 pm

If it wasn't so serious it would almost be comical https://lobelog.com/creating-the-conditions-for-war/

Basically, the usual suspects in the Trump Administration, the FDD types, are trying to sever Iran from the IAEA. It wasn't enough to have the U.S. withdraw from the agreement. They want to make it technically impossible for other countries to remain in the agreement by making inspections and the redesign of Arak impossible.

These people evil, sick and vile.

[Aug 31, 2018] Iran Hawks Always Get Iran Wrong by DANIEL LARISON

Notable quotes:
"... The same people will insist that Iran is "on the march" and then in the next breath pretend that their government is a shaky house of cards that just needs a nudge to come tumbling down. ..."
"... The reality is that Iran hawks are always missing the mark in both directions: they exaggerate the threat from Iran because it makes it easier to sell aggressive policies against them, and they exaggerate the fragility of the regime because it makes regime change seem relatively easy to achieve. ..."
"... The problem is that Trump knows so little about Iran and the region that he never realizes that he is relying on shoddy "analysis" offered up by propagandists and ideologues. That doesn't bode well for the future of U.S. Iran policy, which is already defined by its cruelty , stupidity , and ineffectiveness. ..."
Aug 31, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The president's Iran obsession is paired with exceptionally poor understanding of the region:

"When I came into here, it was a question of when would they take over the Middle East," Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. "Now it's a question of will they survive. It's a big difference in one and a half years."

Only Iran hawks have ever claimed that Iran was capable of "taking over" the entire region, and they were completely wrong when they said that. Now they're fantasizing about regime collapse, and their analysis is just as bad as before. Iran hawks will always overstate Iranian power for the sake of fear-mongering, and then they will make equally unfounded claims about Iran's internal weaknesses to lend support to their plans for regime change. The same people will insist that Iran is "on the march" and then in the next breath pretend that their government is a shaky house of cards that just needs a nudge to come tumbling down. They invariably sound the alarm about Iranian "expansionism" when Iran has relatively less regional influence and then boast about Iranian isolation when most other countries are happy to do business with them. The reality is that Iran hawks are always missing the mark in both directions: they exaggerate the threat from Iran because it makes it easier to sell aggressive policies against them, and they exaggerate the fragility of the regime because it makes regime change seem relatively easy to achieve.

The silly contrast Trump drew between now and a year and a half ago would make a more thoughtful president question some of his assumptions. If the "question" at the start of 2017 was when Iran would "take over" the entire region, the people asking that question were inexcusably ignorant. If the same people are now wondering whether the regime that was supposedly on the verge of regional domination is going to survive, it's safe to say that no one should ever listen to anything those people say. The problem is that Trump knows so little about Iran and the region that he never realizes that he is relying on shoddy "analysis" offered up by propagandists and ideologues. That doesn't bode well for the future of U.S. Iran policy, which is already defined by its cruelty , stupidity , and ineffectiveness.

[Aug 31, 2018] The Trump Administration's Cruel Collective Punishment of the Iranian People by DANIEL LARISON

Notable quotes:
"... Unfortunately, the Trump administration's Iran policy just keeps getting worse. While administration officials pay lip service to the welfare of the Iranian people, they obviously don't care that their policies are impoverishing a country of eighty million people. They have no interest in what Iranians affected by their policies say about those policies, and they aren't bothered by the damage that they're doing to the entire population. ..."
"... Trump has adopted Obama's policies in Libya, Yemen, and Syria and Hillary Clinton's policy toward Iran. That's not what we voted for. When are getting out of the Middle East and starting the "America First" policies that you promised us? ..."
Aug 31, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

It will come as no surprise that Iranians don't want the U.S. meddling in their politics:

Although demonstrators in Iran may be occasionally emboldened to call for the death of Rouhani and Khamenei, they do not necessarily view support from Trump administration regime-change hawks such as national security adviser John Bolton as the answer.

"Just look at our neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan. After 6 p.m., you can't go out. It's too dangerous. This is what happens when Americans intervene in other countries," said Mohammad, a merchant at Tehran's Grand Bazaar, referring to two countries where the United States has spent billions of dollars on military occupations and long-term nation-building missions. "The reality is that we don't want the U.S. interfering with our problems."

Most Iranians can see very clearly from our government's track record that our interference tends to make other countries' problems worse. They understandably want none of that for their own country. Our meddling is destructive and therefore it is naturally unwelcome.

The deleterious effects of sanctions are already being felt by ordinary Iranians:

Inside Iran, there is a mixture of anger and weariness at Trump's decision to reimpose sanctions. Though Washington insists the sanctions are not aimed at Iran's civilians, only its government and nuclear program, Iranians find that line of reasoning hard to accept; even though the sanctions don't target them directly, restrictions on Iran's use of the global financial system have led to severe shortages of cancer drugs, certain food supplies and key consumer goods. They also have led to an economic crisis that has severely affected salaries, prices and jobs.

"Please tell Mr. Trump that it will only get worse for ordinary Iranian workers and their families," said Fereshteh Dastpak, head of Iran's National Carpet Center. Dastpak lamented the likely effect of the sanctions on the 1.5 million people who earn their living in Iran's rug industry. Nearly $100 million worth of Persian carpets were exported to the USA last year amid the lifting of sanctions tied to the nuclear accord negotiated during President Barack Obama's tenure. The year before the deal? There were no carpets imported. "Trump needs to reconsider," Dastpak said.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration's Iran policy just keeps getting worse. While administration officials pay lip service to the welfare of the Iranian people, they obviously don't care that their policies are impoverishing a country of eighty million people. They have no interest in what Iranians affected by their policies say about those policies, and they aren't bothered by the damage that they're doing to the entire population.


b. August 30, 2018 at 8:07 pm

"This is what happens when Americans intervene in other countries."

Let us discuss the US' "malign behavior" in the region.

Iran, whatever its failings, is responsible for far fewer deaths than the US – from fueling Saddam's attempted invasion of Iran, to the deaths and misery in Libya and Syria, to aiding and abetting our clients' atrocities in Gaza and Yemen, to meddling in Egypt, to outright invading, occupying, and fragmenting Iraq, to doing as much as the wahabbi "malignancy" of the House of Saud to spread sectarian strife and purchase Sunni "awakenings" . the whole idea that the US has the moral standing left to call out Iran on "malignancy" and "meddling" regarding the Middle East is beyond hypocrisy and by now exceeding farce.

It is an embarrassment that the purveyors of this kind of hogwash aren't dismissed wholesale from what passes as our "national discourse". But surely the "media" will mediate and protect us from manufactured "news" and arrant BS.

b. , says: August 30, 2018 at 8:19 pm

"They have no interest in what Iranians affected by their policies say about those policies, and they aren't bothered by the damage that they're doing to the entire population."

The concept of US "nation building" by "shock'n'awe" is a strange mix of patriotic self-inflation and capitalist/puritan "efficiency". We throw a bunch of expensive bombs on the "flyover abroad", and then, instant revolution – a whole captive population just waiting to become US proxies fighting and dying for dollars and markets.

It makes you wonder – do the "true believers" laboring on behalf of the profiteers see their own US "revolutionary" history in this manner? Are the victims of our "liberation-related activities" expected to stand up and fight for our ideals, and are they expendable failures if they do not fight, or fail to win, on our behalf? You'd have to take seriously the idea that a tax revolt on behalf of plantation owners was somehow a struggle for freedom to rival and exceed the convulsions of the French revolution to manufacture this inflated expectation on how The People of other nations are supposed to conduct themselves in response to US economic warfare or the aftermath of impunitive "strategic" bombing campaigns.

"They" are supposed to do the dying "over there", and if they don't, we'll just have to kill them, and it's their own damn fault by not living up to those standards that, we strenuously pretend, our forerunners set for everybody else. Not much revolutionary fervor at home these days, but high expectations for the rest of the world.

Donald , says: August 30, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Here is a kind of depressing thing I have long suspected -- most Americans don't actually care that much what we do to other people. They care if Americans get hurt. It isn't sadism, except in extreme cases. It just isn't real to them or something.

I think, though, it is probably the press's fault to some degree. They train us to think some things are more important than others by the emphasis they give to different stories and no matter how smart we might be, propaganda works.

Present At The Creation , says: August 30, 2018 at 8:58 pm

"Just look at our neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan. After 6 p.m., you can't go out. It's too dangerous."

Even the Iranian man-on-the-street sees that the neocons are good at turning other people's countries into hellholes. Presumably they can see, as we can, that the neocons are also good at getting Americans killed and good at wasting stunning amounts of American taxpayer money.

They aren't good at much else, but when you're good at things like that it doesn't seem to matter. Which must be as puzzling to the Iranian man-on-the-street as it is to us.

Red Hook , says: August 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Trump has adopted Obama's policies in Libya, Yemen, and Syria and Hillary Clinton's policy toward Iran. That's not what we voted for. When are getting out of the Middle East and starting the "America First" policies that you promised us?

[Aug 26, 2018] US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

Notable quotes:
"... The US is run by a somewhat unstable president being advised by nuts like Bolton whose main focus is following Israeli diktats, therefore i would not expect them to be looking out for US interests. ..."
Aug 26, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 3:47 PM

US ready to drive Iranian oil exports to zero, says US national security adviser

The US is prepared to use sanctions to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero, the US national security adviser, John Bolton, has said.
"Regime change in Iran is not American policy, but what we want is massive change in the regime's behaviour," Bolton said on a visit to Israel, as he claimed current sanctions had been more effective than predicted.
Donald Trump took the US out of Iran's nuclear deal with the west in May and is imposing escalating sanctions, both to force Iran to renegotiate the deal and to end Tehran's perceived interference in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.
Complete removal of Iranian oil from world markets would cut oil supply by more than 4% probably forcing up prices in the absence of any new supplies.
SNIP
Fuller US sanctions, including actions against countries that trade in Iranian oil are due to come into force on 5 November, 180 days after the initial Trump announcement to withdraw.
The measures against Iranian oil importers, and banks that continue to trade with the Central Bank of Iran, will ratchet the pressure to a higher level.
Pompeo has set up an Iran Action group inside the US State Department to coordinate US leverage on companies and countries that cannot show that their trade, including in oil, has fallen significantly by November.
Measures may also be taken against firms that insure ships carrying Iranian crude.
It is expected some of the major Iranian oil importers, such as Russia, China and Turkey, will either ignore the threat of US sanctions, or, possibly in the case of Iraq, Japan and South Korea, seek exemptions.
China takes a quarter of all Iran's oil exports, and with Chinese banks little exposed to the US it can avoid the impact of Trump's sanctions.
REPLY


Dennis Coyne

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 4:13 PM

I wonder if China could just take all of Iran's oil? I imagine at the right price they would be happy to do so. China imports about 8 Mb/d, Iran exports about 2.5 Mb/d of oil, seems possible.

Also note that if this does occur and there is no drop in Iranian output, the impact of the Iranian sanctions on the World Oil market will be effectively zero.

Survivalist

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 4:34 PM

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-iran-oil-shipping/exclusive-china-shifts-to-iranian-tankers-to-keep-oil-flowing-amid-us-sanctions-sources-idUSKCN1L50RZ

I wonder what the capacity is of the Chinese and Iranian oil tanker fleet is? If nobody else will buy it or ship it then the tanker fleet will have to be owned/insured by either Iran or China.

Watcher

Ignored says: 08/22/2018 AT 10:07 PM

Previously posted.

The big issue is the insurance. A US seized cargo triggers insurance on either party, Iran or China. No way that doesn't escalate to violence.

Survivalist

Ignored says: 08/23/2018 AT 2:08 PM

I'm interested in knowing if Chinese oil tankers are even capable of hauling 2.5 million barrels a day home from Iran. It seems doubtful that anybody else will be doing it for them. I can't find much info on the size of the Chinese owned tanker fleet and it's capabilities.

While US forces have been known to seize North Korean oil tankers hauling Libyan oil, I find it doubtful that they will seize Chinese ones, for the reason you mentioned; China punches back. Nothing spells the end of hegemony like getting your ass kicked.

Fernando Leanme

Ignored says: 08/25/2018 AT 8:26 AM

One would assume its easy for the chinese to buy used oil tankers if they offer a bit over current market prices. This is a very long term conflict, and they could buy tankers, reregister them Chinese or Iranian or say Russian and start moving that oil.

The US is run by a somewhat unstable president being advised by nuts like Bolton whose main focus is following Israeli diktats, therefore i would not expect them to be looking out for US interests.

[Aug 25, 2018] The Trump administration and Iran by Thierry Meyssan

Notable quotes:
"... The people known as " neo-conservatives " form a group of Trotskyist intellectuals (thus opposed to the concept of nation-states), militants of Social Democrats USA, which worked with the CIA and MI6 to fight the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Today they conserve the control of a common Intelligence agency connected with the " Five Eyes " (Australia, Canada, New-Zealand, UK, USA) - the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) ..."
"... they have popularised the idea of " democratising " régimes by way of " Colour Revolutions ", or directly by means of war. ..."
"... If we look a little closer, we may note that his entire career since the collapse of the USSR has been centred around Iran, but not necessarily in opposition to it. For example, during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran fought alongside Saudi Arabia under the orders of the Pentagon. ..."
"... According to Pompeo, the aim of this new group is not to change the régime, but to force Iran to change its politics. This strategy appears while the Islamic Republic is navigating a major economic and political crisis. ..."
"... Contrary to the image we were presented in the West, Ayatollah Khomeiny's revolution was not clerical, but anti-imperialist. The protests can therefore either lead to a change of the régime, or to the continuation of the Khomeinist Revolution, but without the clergy. It is this second option which is represented by ex-President Ahmadinejad (today under house arrest) and his ex-Vice-Ppresident Baghaie (imprisoned for 15 years and held incommunicado). ..."
"... On 15 August, in other words, on the day before Pompeo's announcement, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recognised that he had been in error when he allowed Cheikh Hassan Rohani's team to negotiate the JCPoA agreement with the Obama administration ..."
"... Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who makes a distinction between the policies of Presidents Obama and Trump, wrote to the new President just after his election [ 7 ]. He demonstrated that he shared Donald Trump's analysis of the Obama-Clinton global system and its painful consequences for the rest of the world and also for the citizens of the United States. ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.voltairenet.org

The people known as " neo-conservatives " form a group of Trotskyist intellectuals (thus opposed to the concept of nation-states), militants of Social Democrats USA, which worked with the CIA and MI6 to fight the Soviet Union. They were associated with Ronald Reagan's power structure, then followed through all the US political mutations, remaining in power under Bush Senior, Clinton, Bush Junior and Obama.

Today they conserve the control of a common Intelligence agency connected with the " Five Eyes " (Australia, Canada, New-Zealand, UK, USA) - the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) [ 3 ]. Partisans of the " World Revolution ", they have popularised the idea of " democratising " régimes by way of " Colour Revolutions ", or directly by means of war.

In 2006, they created the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group within the Bush Junior administration. It was directed by Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of Vice-President Dick Cheney. At first, they were housed with the Secretariat of Defense, then transferred to the Vice-President's offices. The group had five sections.

In 2007, this group was officially disbanded. In reality, it was absorbed by an even more secret structure tasked with the strategy for global democracy (Global Democracy Strategy). This unit, under the command of neo-conservative Elliott Abrams (who was involved in the " Iran-Contras affair "), and James Jeffrey, spread this sort of work to other regions of the world.

It is this Group which supervised the planning for the war against Syria.

When the new President had a long meeting with Abrams at the White House, the US Press, which is violently anti-Trump, presented him as the first possible Secretary of State for the Trump administration. It obviously came to nothing.

However, the fact that ambassador James Jeffrey has just been nominated as a special representative for Syria makes the accusation that the Trump administration was attempting to resuscitate this strategy more credible.

Jeffrey is a career " diplomat ". He organised the application of the Dayton agreements in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was on post in Kuwaït during the Iraqi invasion. In 2004, under the orders of John Negroponte, he supervised the transition from the Coalition Provisional Authority (which was a private company [ 4 ]) to the post-Saddam Hussein Iraqi government. Then he joined Condolleezza Rice's cabinet in Washington, and participated in the Coalition Provisional Authority. He was one of the theorists for US military redeployment in Iraq (the Surge), implemented by General Petraeus. He was also the assistant of National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley during the war in Georgia, then Bush Junior's ambassador in Turkey and Obama's ambassador in Iraq.

If we look a little closer, we may note that his entire career since the collapse of the USSR has been centred around Iran, but not necessarily in opposition to it. For example, during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran fought alongside Saudi Arabia under the orders of the Pentagon. On the other hand, in Iraq, Jeffrey opposed the influence of Teheran. But when Georgia attacked South Ossetia and Abkhasia, he did not defend President Saakachvili, since he knew that he had rented two airports to Israël to facilitate an attack on Iran.

Mike Pompeo named Brian Hook as the head of the Iran Action Group. He is an interventionist who was the assistant for Condoleezza Rice, working with international organisations. Until now, he was tasked with elaborating strategies for the State Department.

According to Pompeo, the aim of this new group is not to change the régime, but to force Iran to change its politics. This strategy appears while the Islamic Republic is navigating a major economic and political crisis. While the clergy (doubly represented by the Cheikh President and by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution) is clinging to power, there are demonstrations against it all over the country.

Contrary to the image we were presented in the West, Ayatollah Khomeiny's revolution was not clerical, but anti-imperialist. The protests can therefore either lead to a change of the régime, or to the continuation of the Khomeinist Revolution, but without the clergy. It is this second option which is represented by ex-President Ahmadinejad (today under house arrest) and his ex-Vice-Ppresident Baghaie (imprisoned for 15 years and held incommunicado).

On 21 May last, before the Heritage Foundation, Mike Pompeo presented his 12 objectives for Iran [ 5 ]. At first glance, this seemed to be a long list of demands which are impossible to satisfy. However, when we look closer, points 1 to 3 relative to the nuclear question do not go as far as the JCPoA. Point 4 concerning ballistic missiles is unacceptable. Points 5 to 12 aim to convince Iran to give up the idea of exporting its revolution by force of arms.

On 15 August, in other words, on the day before Pompeo's announcement, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recognised that he had been in error when he allowed Cheikh Hassan Rohani's team to negotiate the JCPoA agreement with the Obama administration [ 6 ]. Note that the Supreme Leader had authorised these negotiations before Rohani's election, and that he – and the eviction of Ahmadinejad's movement – had been part of the preparatory discussions.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who makes a distinction between the policies of Presidents Obama and Trump, wrote to the new President just after his election [ 7 ]. He demonstrated that he shared Donald Trump's analysis of the Obama-Clinton global system and its painful consequences for the rest of the world and also for the citizens of the United States.

When the demonstrations began in December 2017, the Rohani government accused Ahmadinejad of being responsible. In March 2018, the ex-President clinched his break with the Supreme Leader by revealing that Khamenei's office had misappropriated 80 billion rials belonging to humanitarian and religious foundations [ 8 ]. Two weeks before Pompeo's announcement, although he was under house arrest, he called for the resignation of President Rohani [ 9 ].

Everything therefore points to the idea that although the Obama administration supported Rohani, Trump's administration supports Ahmadinejad's party. Just as when President Carter and his advisor Brzeziński launched "Operation Eagle Claw " against the Revolution, while President Reagan supported Imam Khomeiny (October Surprise).

In other words, the White House could be quite comfortable with a return to power of Ahmadinejad's party, on the condition that Iran agrees to export its Revolution only by the debate of ideas.

[Aug 19, 2018] Economics

Notable quotes:
"... each click brings us closer to the bang ..."
"... Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business ..."
"... there will be no war and no negotiations ..."
"... carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state ..."
"... Trump's ALL IN CAPS meme ..."
"... This is where Ali Khamenei's stance is more puzzling, at least to me: when he says that there will be no war, does he mean that the US threats are not credible or does he mean that Iran has the means to deter a US attack? His words make it sound like he is quite certain that there will be no war. How can he be so sure? I am especially amazed by the apparent Iranian confidence that the AngloZionists will not attack them when I compare it with the obvious Russian policy of actively preparing for war since at least 2014 (also see here , here , here , here , here and here ). Of course, Iran has been preparing for war with the US for almost 40 years now whereas the Russians only woke up to reality comparatively recently. I see several potential explanations for Ali Khamenei's statement (there might be more, of course) ..."
"... Personally, every time I think of a possible US attack on Iran I think of the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 which happened in spite of the fact that it was plainly visible to everybody that the Israelis were waltzing straight into a conflict which they could not win and which, in fact, resulted into one of the most abjects defeats in military history. Conversely, while Hezbollah did win a truly historical victory, it also remains a fact that Hezbollah leaders did not expect the Israelis to launch a full-scale ground offensive. Finally, history is full of examples of wars which were started in spite of all objective factors indicating that they would end up in disaster. ..."
"... If it weren't for its nuclear arsenal, the US could be dismissed as a particularly obnoxious country led by ignorant leaders with bloated and mostly ineffective armed forces. Alas, the US nuclear arsenal is very real (and still very capable) and we know that top-level US Neocons have already considered using tactical nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state's conventional force in the past . In a twisted way, this makes sense: if you are a megalomaniac infused with a sense of messianic superiority then international or even civilizational norms of behavior are of no interest (or even relevance) to you. Listening to US Presidents, pretty much all of them (but especially Obama and Trump) it is pretty clear that these folks consider themselves to be the Kulturträger ..."
"... Shaytân-e Bozorg ..."
"... It would be a big mistake to dismiss the US because of its incapable military or moral bankruptcy. The truth is that in terms of aggregate national power, the US still remains the most powerful country on the planet (even if we don't include nuclear weapons). Anyone doubting that needs to look how how the currencies of the countries the US is singles out for attack suddenly began slipping: the Russian ruble (which has since bounced back), the Iranian rial, the Venezuelan bolivar, the Turkish lira , etc.) or how little time it took Trump to bring the (admittedly spineless) Europeans to heel . ..."
"... As for Russia, for all her military might, she remains only a semi-sovereign country in which the pro-US/pro-Israeli "Atlantic Integrationists" continue to try to sabotage (often successfully) everything Putin and his supporters are doing . I would not place big hopes in China either, especially considering the lack of meaningful Chinese action in Syria where Russia and Iran did all the heavy lifting. ..."
"... So count with yet another imperial war of aggression, a barrel of crude at over 100$ and oil shortages, rocketing inflation, job losses, a stagnant real estate market and stock exchange, and a national debt and government deficit which would make even Reagan proud. And plenty of dead Americans (nevermind the Iranians, right?). But don't worry: there will still be a huge supply of Chinese-made US flags to wave! ..."
Aug 19, 2018 | www.unz.com


Ideology History
Science Bloggers


Columnists Videos
Books Print Archives
Announcements Popular
Comments Articles
Authors Settings
More... ← Making Sense of a Few Rumors About Russ... Blogview The Saker Archive Blogview The Saker Archive Iran's Reply: No War and No Negotiations The Saker August 17, 2018 2,500 Words 81 Comments Reply 🔊 Listen ॥ ■ ► RSS Email This Page to Someone
Remember My Information


=> Remove from Library B Show Comment Next New Comment Next New Reply Add to Library
Bookmark Toggle All ToC Search Text Case Sensitive Exact Words Include Comments List of Bookmarks

We can all thank God for the fact that the AngloZionists did not launch a war on the DPRK, that no Ukronazi attack on the Donbass took place during the World Cup in Russia and that the leaders of the Empire have apparently have given up on their plans to launch a reconquista of Syria. However, each of these retreats from their hysterical rhetoric has only made the Neocons more frustrated and determined to show the planet that they are still The Hegemon who cannot be disobeyed with impunity. As I wrote after the failed US cruise missile strike on Syria this spring, " each click brings us closer to the bang ". In the immortal words of Michael Ledeen , " Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business ". The obvious problem is that there are no "small crappy little countries" left out there, and that those who are currently the object of the Empire's ire are neither small nor crappy.

Having now shown several times that for all its hysterical barking the Empire has to back down when the opponent does not cower away in fear, the Empire is now in desperate need to prove its "uniqueness" and (racial?) superiority. The obvious target of the AngloZionist wrath is Iran. In fact, Iran has been in the cross-hairs of the Empire ever since the people of Iran dared to show the AngloZionists to the door and, even worse, succeed in creating their own, national and Islamic democracy. To punish Iran, the US, the USSR, France and all the other "democratic" countries unleashed their puppet (Saddam Hussein) and gave him full military support, and yet the Iranians still prevailed, albeit at a terrible cost. That Iranian ability to prevail in the most terrible circumstances is also the most likely explanation for why there has not been an overt attack on Iran for the past four decades (there have, of course, there has been plenty of covert attacks during all these years).

I won't list all the recent AngloZionist threats against Iran – we all know about them. The bottom line is this: the US, Israel and the KSA are, yet again, working hand in hand to set the stage for a major war under what we could call the " Skripal-case rules of evidence " aka " highly likely ". And yet, in spite of all this saber-rattling, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has summed up Iran's stance in the following words " there will be no war and no negotiations ".

First, let's first look at Iranian rationale for "no negotiations"

The obvious: "no negotiations"

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been very clear in his explanations for why negotiating with the US makes no sense. On his Twitter account he wrote:

The Iranian Supreme Leader even posted a special graphic summary to summarize and explain the Iranian position:

Finally, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his fundamental approach towards the AngloZionist Empire:

The contrast between the kindergarten-level low-IQ bumbling hot air and threats coming out of the White House and the words of Ali Khamenei could not be greater, especially if we compare the words the two leaders decided to post all in caps;

Trump : To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

Khamenei : THERE WILL BE NO WAR, NOR WILL WE NEGOTIATE WITH THE U.S..

Notice first that in his typical ignorance, Trump fails to realize that Hassan Rouhani is only the President of Iran and that threatening him makes absolutely no sense since he does not make national security decisions, which is the function of the Supreme Leader. Had Trump taken the time to at the very least check with Wikipedia he would have understood that the Iranian President " carries out the decrees, and answers to the Supreme Leader of Iran, who functions as the country's head of state ". It is no wonder that Trump's infantile threats instantly turned into an Internet meme !

In contrast, Khamenei did not even bother to address Trump by name but, instead, announced his strategy to the whole world.

Trump's ALL IN CAPS meme

Of course, issuing ALL IN CAPS threats just to be treated with utter contempt by the people you are trying to hard to bully and having your words become a cause of laughter on the Internet will only further enrage Trump and his supporters. When you are desperately trying to show the world how tough and scary you are, there is nothing more humiliating as being treated like some stupid kid. Therein also lies the biggest danger: such derision could force Trump and the Neocons who run him to do something desperate to prove to the word that their "red button" is still bigger than everybody else's.

ORDER IT NOW

It is important to note here that making negotiations impossible is something the Trump administration seems to have adopted as a policy. This is best illustrated by the conditions attached to the latest sanctions against Russia which, essentially, demand that Russia admit poisoning the Skripals. In fact, all the western demands towards Russia (admitting that Russia is guilty for the Skripal case, that Russia shot down MH-17, that Russia hand over Crimea to the Ukronazis, etc.) are carefully crafted to make absolutely sure that Russia will not negotiate. The sames, of course, goes for the ridiculous Pompeo demands towards the DPRK (including handing over to the US 60 to 70 percent of its nukes within six to eight months; no wonder the North Koreans denounced a "gangster-like" attitude) or the latest US grandstanding towards Turkey. Sadly, but the Neocon run media has successfully imposed the notion that negotiations are either a sign of weakness, or treason, or both. Thus to be "patriotic" and "strong" no US official can afford to be caught red-handed negotiating with the enemy of the day.

Under these conditions, why would anybody want to negotiate with the US?

Frankly, the "no negotiations" approach makes perfectly good sense, and while the Iranians are the only ones who have openly said so, the Russians have hinted to the same on many occasions (see their words about the US being "non-agreement capable" or about US diplomats confusing Austria and Australia). To any objective observer it should by now be completely obvious by now that a) the US cannot negotiate (due to intellectual, cultural and political limitations) and b) the US has no desire to negotiate. This is, of course, a highly undesirable and dangerous situation, but it would only make things worse to pretend that civilized negotiations with the US are possible.

So, if both sides agree on "no negotiations", what about war?

The not so obvious: No war?

This is where Ali Khamenei's stance is more puzzling, at least to me: when he says that there will be no war, does he mean that the US threats are not credible or does he mean that Iran has the means to deter a US attack? His words make it sound like he is quite certain that there will be no war. How can he be so sure? I am especially amazed by the apparent Iranian confidence that the AngloZionists will not attack them when I compare it with the obvious Russian policy of actively preparing for war since at least 2014 (also see here , here , here , here , here and here ). Of course, Iran has been preparing for war with the US for almost 40 years now whereas the Russians only woke up to reality comparatively recently. I see several potential explanations for Ali Khamenei's statement (there might be more, of course):

Personally, every time I think of a possible US attack on Iran I think of the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 which happened in spite of the fact that it was plainly visible to everybody that the Israelis were waltzing straight into a conflict which they could not win and which, in fact, resulted into one of the most abjects defeats in military history. Conversely, while Hezbollah did win a truly historical victory, it also remains a fact that Hezbollah leaders did not expect the Israelis to launch a full-scale ground offensive. Finally, history is full of examples of wars which were started in spite of all objective factors indicating that they would end up in disaster.

It seems to me that in purely military terms (not in political ones!) Israel could be seen as a stand-in for the US and Hezbollah as a stand-in for Iran and that the outcome of any future US-Iranian war will be very similar to the outcome of the war in 2006, albeit on a much larger (and bloodier) scale. I am confident that the folks in the Pentagon realize that, but what about their Neocon bosses – do they even care about Iranian or, for that matter, US casualties? I highly doubt it: all they care about is their power and messianic ideology.

If it weren't for its nuclear arsenal, the US could be dismissed as a particularly obnoxious country led by ignorant leaders with bloated and mostly ineffective armed forces. Alas, the US nuclear arsenal is very real (and still very capable) and we know that top-level US Neocons have already considered using tactical nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state's conventional force in the past . In a twisted way, this makes sense: if you are a megalomaniac infused with a sense of messianic superiority then international or even civilizational norms of behavior are of no interest (or even relevance) to you. Listening to US Presidents, pretty much all of them (but especially Obama and Trump) it is pretty clear that these folks consider themselves to be the Kulturträger and the Herrenvolk of the 21st century and their messianism is in no way less delusional than the one of their Nazi predecessors (or, for that matter, the one of the Popes of the past 1000 years). And why would the people who nuked two Japanese cities under the (entirely fallacious) pretext of "shortening the war" (almost a humanitarian operation!) not do the same thing in Iran?

Of sure, they probably realize that using nukes will result in a massive political backlash, but they are confident that no matter what happens in the end, they will always be able to say "screw you!" to the rest of the planet. After all, this is something which Israel and the US have been doing with almost total inpunity for decades already – why would they stop now? As for the fact that the Persian people have been dealing with all kinds of invaders since no less than 2500 years will not stop the AngloZionists from trying to crush them. After all, having laid waste to a country which many see as the cradle of civilization, Iraq, why not do the same thing to Iran? Iraq, Iran – what's the difference, they are all just "sand niggers" and our red button is bigger than theirs, right?

Standing up to Shaytân-e Bozorg (almost alone?)

It would be a big mistake to dismiss the US because of its incapable military or moral bankruptcy. The truth is that in terms of aggregate national power, the US still remains the most powerful country on the planet (even if we don't include nuclear weapons). Anyone doubting that needs to look how how the currencies of the countries the US is singles out for attack suddenly began slipping: the Russian ruble (which has since bounced back), the Iranian rial, the Venezuelan bolivar, the Turkish lira , etc.) or how little time it took Trump to bring the (admittedly spineless) Europeans to heel .

As for Russia, for all her military might, she remains only a semi-sovereign country in which the pro-US/pro-Israeli "Atlantic Integrationists" continue to try to sabotage (often successfully) everything Putin and his supporters are doing . I would not place big hopes in China either, especially considering the lack of meaningful Chinese action in Syria where Russia and Iran did all the heavy lifting.

Sadly, but the only ally Iran can truly count on is Hezbollah. And while Hezbollah is considered a "non-state actor", it has a formidable capability to strike at the US's colonial masters, especially in terms of missiles .

This will not protect Iran, but it could serve as a very real deterrent to the Israelis, especially since Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah he has made it clear that Hezbollah more than capable of taking on Israel .

For the time being, the Israelis are already preparing for a re-match against Hezbollah and they are massing forces in the north to prepare for a war against Hezbollah .

Does that look to you like there will be no war against Iran?

I hope so. But to me it very much looks like an attack is pretty much inevitable. I have been predicting such an attack since 2007 and, so far, I have been completely wrong (and thank God for that!). The very first article I ever wrote for my blog was entitled " Where the Empire meets to plan the next war " ended with the following words:

So count with yet another imperial war of aggression, a barrel of crude at over 100$ and oil shortages, rocketing inflation, job losses, a stagnant real estate market and stock exchange, and a national debt and government deficit which would make even Reagan proud. And plenty of dead Americans (nevermind the Iranians, right?). But don't worry: there will still be a huge supply of Chinese-made US flags to wave!

And yet, 11 years later, the AngloZionist attack which looked so imminent in 2007 has not happened yet. Could it be that this time again an attack on Iran can be avoided? Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to be very confident that it will not happen. I am not so sure, but I fervently hope that he is right.

[Aug 14, 2018] Mismanagement hits Iran more than US sanctions Iran's supreme leader -- RT World News

Notable quotes:
"... "It is not that the sanctions do not play a role; but a major part of the situation is the result of [government's own] actions," ..."
"... "better and stronger" ..."
"... "The Ayatollah has needed to explain who is to blame for the current situation, to prop up his regime," ..."
"... "the opponents of the conservatives," ..."
"... "mother of all wars," ..."
"... "consequences the likes of which few have ever suffered before." ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.rt.com
Get short URL Mismanagement hits Iran more than US sanctions – Iran's supreme leader FILE PHOTO: Iranian Parliament © Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency / AFP In a rare statement Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lashed out at the country's authorities, accusing them of poorly handling internal issues. The mismanagement is even worse than US sanctions, he said. "It is not that the sanctions do not play a role; but a major part of the situation is the result of [government's own] actions," Khamenei said, according to Irna, as he was addressing thousands of Iranians in Tehran on Monday.

The supreme leader added that if Tehran acted "better and stronger" itself US sanctions would have not been so harmful.

Read more  Iran's President Hassan Rouhani © Lisi Niesner Rouhani blasts Trump's 'psychological warfare' as Iran braces for US sanctions

Analysts told RT that what Khamenei said is not really surprising given the worsening economic situation inside the country after the relations with the US went on a downward spiral. The supreme leader has been trying to keep Iranian society balanced by taking a neutral position between the liberal and conservative parts of the establishment. Now the former, including President Hassan Rouhani, are finding themselves in a weaker position, according to Irina Fedorova from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

"The Ayatollah has needed to explain who is to blame for the current situation, to prop up his regime," Fedorova told RT. She said that "the opponents of the conservatives," and Rouhani in particular, who supported the JCPOA, will fall victims of this approach. But it will not lead to his resignation, the researcher noted. However, this means the conservatives' positions, such as those of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, are to strengthen significantly.

The statement may also mean a reshuffling of the political elite as well as some economic changes, Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at Lebanese University in Beirut, told RT. He said that "reformists" and those who pressed for the deals with the West are to be targeted, while the leadership is going to seek alternatives to the West, including a partnership with Russia and China.

The US reinstated certain economic sanctions against Iran last week, with President Trump promising more to come in November. The restrictive measures had been lifted under the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but Washington unilaterally withdrew from the landmark deal despite international condemnation, including from its EU allies. The 2015 agreement placed tight controls on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. Iran's commitment has been confirmed by the IAEA since then.

READ MORE: US can't force trade rules on others, Germany must invest more in Iran – economy minister

Tehran has repeatedly blasted the US for the move, vowing to restart its nuclear program in retaliation against any foreign restrictions. While the US has been pressing its allies to completely refuse Iranian oil imports, the Islamic Republic has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, effectively blocking all the oil shipments from the Persian Gulf, should they accede to American demands.

The row between the US and Iran escalated last month, when their respective leadership exchanged a barrage of threats. Back then, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that a conflict with Iran would be "mother of all wars," provoking Trump's harsh response when he promised "consequences the likes of which few have ever suffered before."

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Aug 14, 2018] France must be kicking themselves for listening to the US. At this rate, China/Russia will take all the Iran oil business

Aug 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ian , Aug 12, 2018 8:55:07 PM | 23

Likklemore @17:

France must be kicking themselves for listening to the US. At this rate, China/Russia will take all the oil business, leaving Western companies sitting on the sidelines. On the other hand, I wonder if US O&G companies are waiting for other Western competitors to go bankrupt.


Uncoy @22:

US sanctions have already failed. Other nations will give lip service, then turn around to continue on whatever they were doing.

Likklemore , Aug 12, 2018 10:28:02 PM | 24
Ian @ 24

Come November we are spectators of the comeuppance.

Imho, US "prosperity" built on debt and avoiding the knock on the door. The Bailiff cometh. How does one go bankrupt? Slowly, then all at once.

We will see if Germany is turning east.
RT Link
US can't force trade rules on others, Germany must invest more in Iran

Washington cannot dictate trade rules to others, Germany's economy minister said, adding that his country should be more assertive and defy American sanctions – particularly by investing more in Iran.

"We don't let Washington dictate [their will] on trade relations with other countries," German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Bild newspaper on Saturday. He said the US sanctions on Iran are one instance in which America's neglect of its partners are clearly shown.[.]

Pft , Aug 12, 2018 11:40:17 PM | 27
Likklemore@25

Only 1/3 of US debt is owed to foreigners and that is denominated in their own currency. They just print whatever is due.

A country with the land and natural resources the US has to go along with with its agricultural, human and military capital can never go bankrupt, especially when they control the debt collectors

As for Germany they are an occupied country, as are many countries. Between the military bases and CIA controlled NGO's they dance to whatever musuc is played. Some squawking is permitted for appearances sake so people can maintain their illusions of nationalist control.

I dont rule out a major financial adverse event in the US (and global) soon so the elite can profit off the collapse and shrink the wealth of the bottom 90%, but that wont affect much at all and much of the world will suffer in much the same way

When one looks at the major financial disasters over the last century, many seem to come in the 8th-9th year of the decade. After the elections we should see a great fall as bubbles are burst and the 17 trillion dollar + investment firms that maintain liquidity will swoop in and buy low. This time around the banks wont need a government bail out as the laws have authorized them to seize deposits like what was done in Greece.

[Aug 13, 2018] The Perils of Trump's Iran Obsession by Daniel Larison

Aug 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson chide Trump for his dangerous Iran obsession:

The United States' treatment of Iran as a serious strategic competitor is deeply illogical. Iran imperils no core U.S. interests.

Trump's Iran obsession is probably the most conventional part of his foreign policy and it is also the most irrational. The president's reflexive hostility to Iran is one of the few constants in his view of the world, and it is one that aligns him most closely with his party's hawks and parts of the foreign policy establishment. This has been clear for several years ever since Trump declared his opposition to the nuclear deal and surrounded himself with hard-liners . The Iran obsession is among the worst aspects of Trump's presidency, but it is also one of the least surprising. Over the last eighteen months, Trump's Iran obsession has become more of a derangement , and it is putting the U.S. and Iran on a collision course at the expense of our relations with many other states and our own economic interests. The risk of unnecessary war continues to rise because the president and his allies insist on making maximalist demands of Iran while imposing stringent sanctions on the country without justification.

As Simon and Stevenson capably explain, there is no valid reason to view Iran as a major threat to the U.S. Contrary to the fevered warnings about Iranian "expansionism," Iranian military power in the region is quite limited:

Yet Iran's foreign policy has evolved essentially on the basis of opportunistic realism rather than especially aggressive revisionism, and, as noted, it has a sparse military presence in the region.

There is certainly no reason for our government to treat Iran as if it were a major competitor. Our government's fixation on Iran as the source of all the region's problems exaggerates Iran's influence and puts the U.S. at odds with a regional power whose interests are sometimes aligned with our own. The obsession simply makes no sense:

Casting Iran as a major strategic rival simply doesn't make sense in terms of traditional international relations considerations such as threat- and power-balancing.

The authors list a number of causes for the unwarranted obsession with Iran, including "pro-Israel" influence and the influence of the Saudis and Emiratis in Washington, and I agree with them. Our political leaders' enthusiasm for engaging in threat inflation and credulously accepting the threat inflation of others would has to figure prominently in any explanation as well. Obsessing over a non-existent Iranian threat to U.S. interests obviously has nothing to do with American security, and it represents an unhealthy subordination of American interests to those of its reckless regional clients. Indulging those clients in their paranoia about Iran will only stoke more regional conflicts and ensure that the U.S. becomes more deeply involved in those wars, and the result will be greater costs for the U.S. and greater turmoil, instability, and loss of life throughout the region.


b. August 13, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Obama's Yemen obsession is probably the most conventional part of his foreign policy and it is also the most irrational.

Cluster bombs, drone strikes, covert kill teams and, most importantly, the backing for Saudi Arabia and the UAE to cross the blood-red line and commence an aggressive illegal bombing campaign, invasion and occupation of Yemeni territory did not start with Trump.

Direct participation of US military logistics personnel and US military assets in this military aggression – while other US forces operate in the same territory under the "separate but equal" Authorization To Use Military Force – did not start with Trump.

Trump might apply his Reverse Midas Touch to this aspect of Obama's legacy as well, but just because Obama manufactured another transient executive "achievement" in JCOPA does not mean that his policy with respect to Yemen was any more irrational than Trump's policy towards Iran, or that Obama's willingness to hire out US military forces to support Saudi aggression for 100 billion dollars in blood money is any less venal, corrupt and despicable than Trump's willingness to do the same.

Mattis didn't become fixated on Iran when he joined the Trump administration either, although he might just be blaming – in the absence of conclusive evidence – Iran today for the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing targeting Reagan's negligent use of the Marine Corps. That is even less of a defensible foundation for foreign policy and military aggression that profiteering.

b. , says: August 13, 2018 at 3:18 pm
It is not just Trump, either, and not even just neolibcons, but also the basement crusaders:

'In 2017, US Vice President Mike Pence called the bombings "the opening salvo in a war that we have waged ever since – the global war on terror".'

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-administration-says-war-terror-began-911-hezbollah-attack-us-troops-691653
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Beirut_barracks_bombings

It is a good guess that Obama's obsession with Yemen was rooted in printer cartridges, shoe bombs, and the fear to have any terrorist attack "succeed". For Obama & Co. the fear of the Next Big Blowback led them to Yemen. It would appear that Pence has supplied the Trump administration with a Grand Unified Theory that all campaigns in the Great War On Terror ultimately lead to Tehran – or the Trump administration made him their willing mouthpiece.

Christian Chuba , says: August 13, 2018 at 3:47 pm
Pence is so desperate to connect terrorism to Iran that he has to reach back almost 40yrs to pin an at best Hezbollah pre-cursor organization on them. Isn't it more telling that Hezbollah has avoided attacking U.S. troops during their entire existence? Pence doesn't seem alarmed about the 3,000+ Americans who died on U.S. soil in NYC that we can attribute to the Saudis and their cohorts.

BTW the Khobar tower bombings was Al Qaeda. The Saudis extracted confessions in their torture chambers. There was no corroborating evidence that it was a branch of Hezbollah.

[Aug 08, 2018] In past wars, civilian oil tankers did not sail through the straits

Aug 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Carlton Meyer , • Website August 4, 2018 at 6:03 am GMT

Four key points:

1. Iraq is run by a pro-Iran Shite government that tolerates the US occupation due to the money provided. Before the USA attacks Iran, it should remove all its 10,000 troops and 10,000 civilians and close its massive embassy there and write that country off. Otherwise, we'll have thousands of American POWs. Meanwhile, the Kurds will get crushed as the Turks and Iraqis use the chaos to destroy them.

2. The oil-rich British puppet state of Kuwait is hated by all Iraqis and Iranians. If the USA attacks Iran, one should expect Iranian and maybe Iraqi units crossing the border, while Kuwait's army flees as expected. The USA keeps an army brigade there, but that may not be enough to fend off an invasion, even with air superiority.

3. In past wars, civilian oil tankers did not sail through the straits. The insurers (mostly Lloyds of London) and others announced they would not cover losses, and unionize ship crews refused to enter the war zone. So even if the USA keeps the straits open, all that oil will not flow forth.

4. Iran has a fortified island in the Gulf whose guns cannot be silenced with just air power. A major amphibious landing is required to clear that island, and it will be bloody. Note the ship channels in the map. Supertankers are huge, so while the Straits of Hormuz are large, these big ships can only pass thru these two narrow channels, which are easily blocked. Iran could park its own tankers in these channels to block them and hope the USA foolishly sinks them, thus really blocking the entire channel.

These four issues are of more importance than air battles over Iran.

[Aug 08, 2018] Has US misread the Iranian street

Aug 08, 2018 | www.csmonitor.com

"The hatred, the distrust, the dissatisfaction toward the establishment is growing here, no question about it," says the analyst. "People are protesting here and there. But what Trump is doing" makes the prospect of a popular uprising even more distant.

Citing "current America and these policies," which had shown the US to be "totally unreliable," Tehran dismissed an offer by Mr. Trump Monday to meet Iranian leaders with "no preconditions." The White House later clarified that it has no plans to change its policy of ratcheting up pressure and sanctions on Iran.

Ordinary Iranians have taken to Twitter using the hashtags #ShutUpTrump and #StopMeddlingInIran to condemn US actions.

"Trump's craziness has no end. But our unity is endless, too. So the more he shows his teeth, the more we will show our fists," says Saeed, a clean-shaven student of mechanical engineering at Azad University in Tehran who says he supports reformist politicians.

"We have passed all those hurdles in the past and this one, although it is more serious than ever, I'm sure we will successfully leave behind," says Saeed, who only gave his first name. "It is Trump who will be thrown away or, in the words of the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], will be 'thrown into the dust bin of history.' We will stand behind the establishment forever."

Mutual hostility between the US and Iran has defined the geopolitical strife between these arch foes since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

... ... ...

Yet today Iranians also are reeling from being included – alongside Somalis and Yemenis – in a blanket seven-nation White House travel ban, even though an estimated one million Iranian-Americans live in the US.

They are baffled by Trump's unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. And they are feeling the bite of new US sanctions designed to put "unprecedented" economic pressure on Iran by cutting it off from the outside world, forcing all third-country business to withdraw, and blocking the sale of any Iranian oil.

[Aug 08, 2018] Trump Warns Allies Risk Severe Consequences If They Violate Iran Sanctions

Notable quotes:
"... "The Trump Administration intends to fully enforce the sanctions reimposed against Iran, and those who fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences. " ..."
"... The first set of sanctions will hit at the Iranian financial system, including Iranian government purchases of US dollars and its gold trade and government bond sales. The US' dominant role in the world's financial system means it has been able to pressure countries and companies into compliance, though China remains a key holdout. ..."
"... The US denies it is seeking regime change, but rather aims to "modify the regime's behavior," according to an administration official. ..."
"... A US administration official said the Iranian government was using financial resources freed up by the nuclear deal "to spread human misery." The US was seeking now to address the "totality of the Iranian threat" in the Middle East ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

With the hours ticking by ahead of Washington's re-imposition of a slew of economic sanctions on Iran, President Trump has just released a statement confirming the narrative he would prefer Americans believe.

Just hours after the European Union issued a statement Monday ahead of when renewed US sanctions are set to snap back against Iran after midnight US Eastern time, saying it "deeply regrets" the sanctions and will take immediate action to protect European companies still doing business with Iran.

Trump makes it clear that any violation (among America's allies) will not be tolerated...

"The Trump Administration intends to fully enforce the sanctions reimposed against Iran, and those who fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences. "

The first set of sanctions will hit at the Iranian financial system, including Iranian government purchases of US dollars and its gold trade and government bond sales. The US' dominant role in the world's financial system means it has been able to pressure countries and companies into compliance, though China remains a key holdout.

"The JCPOA, a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb," Trump said Monday, defining that its policy as applying "maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime."

The US denies it is seeking regime change, but rather aims to "modify the regime's behavior," according to an administration official.

A US administration official said the Iranian government was using financial resources freed up by the nuclear deal "to spread human misery." The US was seeking now to address the "totality of the Iranian threat" in the Middle East.

"None of this needs to happen," an official said on sanctions. Trump is willing to meet the Iranian leadership "any time" for talks," the official noted. * * *

Full Statement below:

REIMPOSING TOUGH SANCTIONS: President Donald J. Trump, Administration is taking action to reimpose sanctions lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In connection with the withdrawal from the JCPOA, the Administration laid out two wind-down periods of 90 days and 180 days for business activities in or involving Iran.

The purchase or acquisition of United States bank notes by the Government of Iran.

Iran, trade in gold and other precious metals.

Graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, and software used in industrial processes.

Transactions related to the Iranian rial.

Activities relating to Iran's issuance of sovereign debt

Iran, automotive sector.

Iran, port operators and energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors.

Iran, petroleum-related transactions.

Transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.

ENSURING FULL ENFORCEMENT: President Trump will continue to stand up to the Iranian regime's aggression, and the United States will fully enforce the reimposed sanctions.

The regime has used this funding to support terrorism, promote ruthless regimes, destabilize the region, and abuse the human rights of its own people.

PROTECTING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY: The JCPOA was defective at its core and failed to guarantee the safety of the American people.

The regime continues to threaten the United States and our allies, exploit the international financial system, and support terrorism and foreign proxies.

* * *

The initial reaction in markets was modest aside from in the oil complex where prices spiked...

[Aug 07, 2018] OIL and only OIL should guide the policy making considerations of the American Empire in the Middle East

Aug 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

Renoman , August 3, 2018 at 9:21 am GMT

War with Iran? I can not imagine a more foolish thing to do.
Of course they will rally with their own Countrymen, everyone hates the USA.
The World economy will be in a complete tailspin, the US will likely finally go broke over it and chances are pretty good that Israel will be flattened and paved [one positive thing].
You fight Iran you fight China, you don't go messing with their road. Likely not bombs and guns either most likely money, something America has not much of.

The faster America dumps this crazy fascination with the Jews the faster it will get it's act together and become a Country again.

Sally Snyder , August 3, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
As shown in this article, the U.S. Secretary of State is trying to manipulate Iranian Americans into supporting regime change in Iran:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/07/manipulating-iranian-americans-laying.html

Washington is working overtime to lay the groundwork for a war in Iran.

bob sykes , August 3, 2018 at 12:19 pm GMT
"ultimately prevail"

What can that possibly mean? We can bomb Iran back into the Stone Age, but Iran does not need a modern economy or military to close Hormuz. All they need do is fire a few land-based artillery and anti-ship missiles at a defenseless freighter or tanker. The insurance companies would do the rest–remove all commercial shipping from the Persian and Oman Gulf regions. That eliminates 20% of the World's oil supply, and it would collapse the World's economy, including our own.

Asymmetric warfare would engulf the entire Middle East, including Israel, with its large native Arab population and its occupation of large Arab populations in Gaza and the West Bank.

Iran has the upper hand here. We need to be very careful.

nickels , August 3, 2018 at 12:23 pm GMT
Let's face it-when we impose sanctions on Iran, we are already at war with them. Just like we are already at war with Russia. Imbeciles, all who run this country.
WorkingClass , August 3, 2018 at 1:13 pm GMT
Paranoid thug Bibi to Trump: Destroy Iran for me or I will feed you to your domestic enemies.
Charles Pewitt , August 3, 2018 at 3:07 pm GMT

Oil is the vital strategic Western interest in the Persian Gulf. Yet a war with Iran would imperil, not secure, that interest.

The American Empire's only strategic three letter word interest in the Middle East is O -- I –L.

The WASP/JEW ruling class of the American Empire and the Jew-controlled Neo-Conservative faction in the Republican Party wants to elevate the three letter word J -- E –W to paramount importance in the Middle East.

OIL and only OIL should guide the policy making considerations of the American Empire in the Middle East.

[Aug 07, 2018] On Iran, the Neocons Are No Ronald Reagan by Barbara Slavin

The USA now is viewed as imperial power hell-bent of crushing other countries. US foreign policy in the region is viewed as pandering to Israeli interests. That increases resistance to color revolutions.
The author analogies with the USSR are very problematic. The collapse of the USSR was due to mass betrayal of the elite which adopted neoliberalism. In Iran even if its theocratic system experience the same crisis of confidence as Bolheviks system in the USSR, this mass defection of elite is less probable due to history of relations with the USA and, especially the USA support of Iraq in brutal war between the countries. People view the USA as a "great Satan."
The current US foreign policy is totally controlled by neocons and as such is less flexible then in the past.
Notable quotes:
"... While neoconservatives have portrayed the Islamic Republic of Iran as a global bogeyman on the order of the USSR and argued that it should be President Trump's "pre-eminent challenge ," it remains a mid-level power in a region that most Americans, including Trump, would like to quit. ..."
"... In his speech, Pompeo asserted that the U.S. would somehow bolster Iranians who have taken to the streets -- in a very un-Soviet set of popular protests -- since late last year. "In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran," Pompeo said. "The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you." ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In their pursuit of a policy of maximum pressure on Iran, America's neoconservatives have pushed a nostalgic narrative: the Trump administration can bring down Iran's theocracy the way that the Reagan administration helped defeat and dissolve the Soviet Union.

This comparison has been advanced by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), which promotes draconian sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Its arguments figured prominently in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent speech at the Reagan library in which he asserted that Iran is still a revolutionary regime "committed to spreading the revolution to other countries, by force if necessary."

The strategy to confront and collapse the Soviet Union included military and economic pressure coupled with a focus on human rights abuses and corruption, as well as U.S. support for indigenous dissidents. The comparison to Iran is flawed on a number of levels, and even in those areas where some overlap exists, such a plan is unlikely to be successfully implemented by the Trump administration.

While neoconservatives have portrayed the Islamic Republic of Iran as a global bogeyman on the order of the USSR and argued that it should be President Trump's "pre-eminent challenge ," it remains a mid-level power in a region that most Americans, including Trump, would like to quit.

Iran has never successfully exported its unique theocratic-led system, even to neighboring Iraq, with its Shiite majority, or Lebanon, where Shiites are a plurality and Iran has a potent ally in Hezbollah. The Soviet Union, by contrast, dominated Eastern Europe for four decades and supported communist parties throughout the world, including in Iran when it was under the Shah. It invaded other countries at will, crushing the Prague spring of 1968 and entering Afghanistan in 1979 to shore up a friendly regime.

The Soviet Union was also a nuclear peer competitor of the United States, possessing a massive atomic arsenal. Iran has never developed nuclear weapons and could be constrained for more than a decade from building them if the United States returned to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or if a rump JCPOA somehow survives the U.S. unilateral withdrawal.

The comparison to the Soviet Union does work in the sense that Iran's economy is now under severe strain, although the reasons are not the same. The Reagan administration outspent the Soviet Union in a massive arms race that left Moscow unable to satisfy the growing demands of its long-suffering consumers and maintain its military edge and alliances, including the debilitating war in Afghanistan. The Trump administration is collapsing the Iranian economy through sanctions that have frightened away major multinational companies and destroyed confidence in the Iranian currency.

Both the old USSR and Iran have autocratic systems that repress political expression and jail dissidents. It is entirely appropriate for the U.S. and other countries to publicize these abuses and seek to penalize those most directly responsible. However, the Trump administration's credibility in denouncing what Pompeo called a "mafia" government run by "hypocritical holy men" is undercut by egregious double standards. This is, after all, an administration led by a president who has called North Korea's brutal leader Kim Jong-un "honorable," sword-danced with Saudi autocrats, and fawned over reprehensible leaders from the Philippines to Egypt.

In his speech, Pompeo asserted that the U.S. would somehow bolster Iranians who have taken to the streets -- in a very un-Soviet set of popular protests -- since late last year. "In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran," Pompeo said. "The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you."

That support, however, does not extend to allowing actual Iranians to come to America -- unlike Reagan's embrace of Soviet exiles and others fleeing persecution. Thanks to the travel ban, which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court, most Iranian citizens are barred from even visiting the U.S. And while academic exchanges are technically still allowed, the "extreme vetting" required for Iranians -- and their fear that they may not be able to return to the U.S. if they have to leave for any reason -- has severely undercut this key feature of old-style public diplomacy.

Iran and the United States, of course, lack diplomatic ties, which were so instrumental in promoting people-to-people contact with the Soviet Union. This author was an exchange student in what was then called Leningrad in the 1970s, an experience that humanized the Soviet Union in the eyes of the visiting Americans and performed a similar function for our Soviet counterparts.

Unfortunately, few Americans know the reality of today's Iran and are thus easily manipulated by propagandists who cast the country in relentlessly negative terms.

If despite all these differences, the Trump administration really embraced a Reaganesque approach to Iran, it would not only rescind the travel ban but would sincerely pursue new negotiations that build on the JCPOA.

Instead, the administration is punishing Iran for non-compliance and demanding that it capitulate and reverse all its other foreign and domestic policies. This approach almost certainly guarantees that Iran will not produce an "Ayatollah Gorbachev" willing and able to resolve the long U.S.-Iran divide and further liberalize Iranian society. The main victims will be the Iranian people but American interests will also suffer.

Barbara Slavin directs the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council. The views expressed here are her own.

[Aug 07, 2018] Iran sactions will be another instance of Trump learning that intimidating countries is a different game than making hotel project deals

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's faithful execution of Israeli policy will result in re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran tomorrow. ..."
"... Trump, Mattis and Co. want to form a Sunni Arab version of NATO united against Iran. This would include the GCC plus Egypt and Jordan. ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

5. Trump's faithful execution of Israeli policy will result in re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran tomorrow. The UK, France and Germany have announced that they will not be governed by these sanctions and IMO Trump will not have the stones to sanction these actual American allies. This will be another instance of Trump learning that intimidating countries is a different game than making hotel project deals. In the case of tariffs the EU caved in what can be seen as bi-lateral negotiations but in this case accepting American orders to reimpose sanctions will be seen as acceptance of a servile position. The US position with regard to desired Iranian concessions includes acceptance of a statehood bereft of foreign policy or foreign interventions of any kind. This is a maximum Israeli position that has been sold to Trump ,the real estate guy, by his donors and family. Pompeo and Bolton, the neocons, are fully on board as well. DoD is supportive. Mattis is always seeking a childish revenge against the Iranians for their actions in Iraq.

... ... ...

7. Trump, Mattis and Co. want to form a Sunni Arab version of NATO united against Iran. This would include the GCC plus Egypt and Jordan. Words fail me at the blind ignorance of this idea. All these countries will gladly accept Saudi money. That does not mean they will accept Saudi leadership in anything. This has been proven over and over again.

im cotton , 6 hours ago

Point no. 7, Iran--

Just read an interesting piece by Trita Parsi concluding that Iran should accept negotiations with the US; that it would be in its interests for Trump and Rouhani to have a nice two hour chat in strict privacy with no one else present but interpreters--if nothing else to watch Saudi and Israeli heads explode.

"Though any deal with Trump may have little value due to his unreliability, Tehran can also use that unreliability to its own advantage. The mere image of Trump and Rouhani shaking hands and speaking in private will spread panic in Riyadh and Tel Aviv – precisely because these allies of Trump know that they too cannot rely on him.

Their deep-seated fear of being betrayed by America in any US-Iran dialogue will reach a breaking point and likely cause a significant weakening of the concerted US-Israel-Gulf effort to break Iran. Ultimately, that would make Iran look good, not Trump."

https://tinyurl.com/y7k4kxdb

[Aug 07, 2018] Would War With Iran Doom Trump by Pat Buchanan

Like Greenspan said about Iraq war. It's about oil.
Aug 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

A war with Iran would define, consume and potentially destroy the Trump presidency, but exhilarate the neocon never-Trumpers who most despise the man.

Why, then, is President Donald Trump toying with such an idea?

Looking back at Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, wars we began or plunged into, what was gained to justify the cost in American blood and treasure, and the death and destruction we visited upon that region? How has our great rival China suffered by not getting involved?

Oil is the vital strategic Western interest in the Persian Gulf. Yet a war with Iran would imperil, not secure, that interest.

Mass migration from the Islamic world, seeded with terrorist cells, is the greatest threat to Europe from the Middle East. But would not a U.S. war with Iran increase rather than diminish that threat?

Would the millions of Iranians who oppose the mullahs' rule welcome U.S. air and naval attacks on their country? Or would they rally behind the regime and the armed forces dying to defend their country?

"Mr Trump, don't play with the lion's tail," warned President Hassan Rouhani in July: "War with Iran is the mother of all wars."

But he added, "Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace."

[Aug 06, 2018] Bolton Blocking Strait of Hormuz will be Iran's 'worst mistake' instead it must 'come to table'

Notable quotes:
"... "They could take up the president's offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs fully and really verifiably not under the onerous terms of the Iran nuclear deal, which really are not satisfactory," ..."
"... "If Iran were really serious they'd come to the table. We'll find out whether they are or not," ..."
"... "matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security." ..."
"... "behaves like a normal country." ..."
"... "require enormous change" ..."
"... "increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales." ..."
"... "the mother of all wars." ..."
"... "confronting possible threats." ..."
"... "The hours of our negotiations with America were perhaps unprecedented in history; then Trump signs something and say all [those negotiations] are void; can you negotiate with this person? Is this [negotiations offer] anything but a publicity stunt?" ..."
Aug 06, 2018 | www.rt.com

Closing the Strait of Hormuz would be the biggest mistake Iran has ever made, the US president's national security advisor John Bolton said. He urged Tehran to sit down for talks on its nuclear and missile programs with the US. Dismissing Tehran's threats to block the strait if its oil exports are stopped, Bolton on Monday said the Iranians were "bluffing." He then quickly changed his tone saying that Iran should actually engage in a dialog with the US instead of issuing threats.

"They could take up the president's offer to negotiate with them, to give up their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs fully and really verifiably not under the onerous terms of the Iran nuclear deal, which really are not satisfactory," Bolton told Fox News, referring to the US President Donald Trump's demands to "re-negotiate" the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"If Iran were really serious they'd come to the table. We'll find out whether they are or not," Bolton added. The White House national security advisor's remarks came less than a day before the first round of renewed US sanctions take effect on Tuesday after midnight US Eastern time. The harshest restrictions are expected to be re-imposed by early November.

Washington decided to reinstate the penalties following Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the JCPOA in May. Shortly after exiting the agreement, the US penned a 12-point ultimatum to Iran, which, among other things, demanded that Tehran end its ballistic missile program, a condition it has repeatedly rejected. The move was then widely condemned by the EU and other signatories of the deal, including Russia and China, which still consider the agreement to be an effective means of non-proliferation and have vowed to keep their part of the deal.

Earlier on Monday, the EU said that starting August, it is enforcing its so-called Blocking Statute aimed at protecting the European companies doing business in Iran from the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions. The bloc said that maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran is a "matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security."

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to "rigorously" enforce the sanctions on Iran until it "behaves like a normal country." He added that it would "require enormous change" on Iran's part for the US to review its increasingly hostile approach to Tehran.

In July, Brian Hook, the US State Department's director of policy planning, said that Washington's goal is to "increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales."

Iranian leaders repeatedly threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz and stop the Persian Gulf oil exports if its own oil exports are blocked. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also cautioned Washington against launching a war against Tehran by saying that it would be "the mother of all wars." Iran's Revolutionary Guards have recently admitted that its warships took part in a naval exercise in the Persian Gulf to hone skills in "confronting possible threats."

Earlier, the Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has slammed Donald Trump's recent proposal to enter into talks with Iran by calling it nothing but a PR stunt. "The hours of our negotiations with America were perhaps unprecedented in history; then Trump signs something and say all [those negotiations] are void; can you negotiate with this person? Is this [negotiations offer] anything but a publicity stunt?" he said.

The Trump administration has reportedly requested a meeting with Rouhani eight times, but the Iranian side refused to participate.

Read more

[Aug 06, 2018] US sanctions forcing creation of work arounds

Aug 06, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com

As Iran is preparing for the first wave of returning US sanctions that could largely hamper its foreign trade, the country's banks appear to have already created a mechanism for imports of essential goods from Russia .

Bank Saderat Iran (BSI) announced in a statement on Sunday that it had sealed a deal with the Moscow offshoot of Bank Melli Iran (BMI) over a re-financing scheme that envisaged providing €10 million to fund imports of essential commodities, medicines, medical equipment and the raw materials for industrial units.

[Aug 06, 2018] Iran Scrambles to Ready Economy for US Sanctions by Jason Ditz

Sanctions might hit Iran oil industry hard.
Aug 06, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

New restrictions aim to protect currency from further falls

With US sanctions against Iran officially going back into place on August 6, the Iranian government is scrambling to take some last minute measures to shore up their economy, and particularly their currency, before the sanctions start to hit.

Trying to protect the rial is a high priority, with a former central bank deputy governor and a number of foreign exchange dealers arrested amid the rial plummeting to all-time lows. On Monday, a rash of strict new measures are to be imposed on foreign currency access to try to limit any further falls.

Iran wants to make sure that what foreign currency does flow overseas is strictly allocated to a handful of important industries. The fall of prices for the rial has been heavy related to the surge in the price of gold, as economic uncertainty has many Iranians running to precious metals, and gold imports surged in recent weeks.

US sanctions aim to limit, if not totally eliminate, Iran's access to foreign markets. That also has Iran trying to make some last-minute purchases while they know they still can. Five new planes were purchased from ATR for the state airline. It's far short of the new fleet of airliners Iran initially sought, but the best they can do with the US blocking Boeing and Airbus from fulfilling contracts.

Since the August 6 date has been known for months, it's likely much of the market reaction to the sanctions is already factored in to Iran's currency pricing. China's refusal to comply with US sanctions, likewise, is a sign that Iran won't be totally cutoff from world markets. Still, it will take awhile before the full extent of the US attempt, and its effectiveness, is known.

[Aug 06, 2018] Trump Warns Allies Risk Severe Consequences If They Violate Iran Sanctions Zero Hedge

Aug 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

With the hours ticking by ahead of Washington's re-imposition of a slew of economic sanctions on Iran, President Trump has just released a statement confirming the narrative he would prefer Americans believe.

Just hours after the European Union issued a statement Monday ahead of when renewed US sanctions are set to snap back against Iran after midnight US Eastern time, saying it "deeply regrets" the sanctions and will take immediate action to protect European companies still doing business with Iran.

Trump makes it clear that any violation (among America's allies) will not be tolerated...

"The Trump Administration intends to fully enforce the sanctions reimposed against Iran , and those who fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences. "

The first set of sanctions will hit at the Iranian financial system, including Iranian government purchases of US dollars and its gold trade and government bond sales. The US' dominant role in the world's financial system means it has been able to pressure countries and companies into compliance, though China remains a key holdout.

"The JCPOA, a horrible, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb," Trump said Monday, defining that its policy as applying "maximum economic pressure on the Iranian regime."

The US denies it is seeking regime change, but rather aims to "modify the regime's behavior," according to an administration official.

A US administration official said the Iranian government was using financial resources freed up by the nuclear deal "to spread human misery." The US was seeking now to address the "totality of the Iranian threat" in the Middle East.

"None of this needs to happen," an official said on sanctions. Trump is willing to meet the Iranian leadership "any time" for talks," the official noted. * * *

Full Statement below:

REIMPOSING TOUGH SANCTIONS: President Donald J. Trump, Administration is taking action to reimpose sanctions lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In connection with the withdrawal from the JCPOA, the Administration laid out two wind-down periods of 90 days and 180 days for business activities in or involving Iran.

The purchase or acquisition of United States bank notes by the Government of Iran.

Iran, trade in gold and other precious metals.

Graphite, aluminum, steel, coal, and software used in industrial processes.

Transactions related to the Iranian rial.

Activities relating to Iran's issuance of sovereign debt

Iran, automotive sector.

Iran, port operators and energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors.

Iran, petroleum-related transactions.

Transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.

ENSURING FULL ENFORCEMENT: President Trump will continue to stand up to the Iranian regime's aggression, and the United States will fully enforce the reimposed sanctions.

The regime has used this funding to support terrorism, promote ruthless regimes, destabilize the region, and abuse the human rights of its own people.

PROTECTING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY: The JCPOA was defective at its core and failed to guarantee the safety of the American people.

The regime continues to threaten the United States and our allies, exploit the international financial system, and support terrorism and foreign proxies.

* * *

The initial reaction in markets was modest aside from in the oil complex where prices spiked...

[Aug 05, 2018] Has US misread the Iranian street

Aug 05, 2018 | www.csmonitor.com

"The hatred, the distrust, the dissatisfaction toward the establishment is growing here, no question about it," says the analyst. "People are protesting here and there. But what Trump is doing" makes the prospect of a popular uprising even more distant.

Citing "current America and these policies," which had shown the US to be "totally unreliable," Tehran dismissed an offer by Mr. Trump Monday to meet Iranian leaders with "no preconditions." The White House later clarified that it has no plans to change its policy of ratcheting up pressure and sanctions on Iran.

Ordinary Iranians have taken to Twitter using the hashtags #ShutUpTrump and #StopMeddlingInIran to condemn US actions.

"Trump's craziness has no end. But our unity is endless, too. So the more he shows his teeth, the more we will show our fists," says Saeed, a clean-shaven student of mechanical engineering at Azad University in Tehran who says he supports reformist politicians.

"We have passed all those hurdles in the past and this one, although it is more serious than ever, I'm sure we will successfully leave behind," says Saeed, who only gave his first name. "It is Trump who will be thrown away or, in the words of the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], will be 'thrown into the dust bin of history.' We will stand behind the establishment forever."

Mutual hostility between the US and Iran has defined the geopolitical strife between these arch foes since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

... ... ...

Yet today Iranians also are reeling from being included – alongside Somalis and Yemenis – in a blanket seven-nation White House travel ban, even though an estimated one million Iranian-Americans live in the US.

They are baffled by Trump's unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. And they are feeling the bite of new US sanctions designed to put "unprecedented" economic pressure on Iran by cutting it off from the outside world, forcing all third-country business to withdraw, and blocking the sale of any Iranian oil.

[Jul 11, 2018] Why Trump's Iran Isolation Plan May Backfire by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... President Trump's demand last week that OPEC "reduce prices now" or US military protection of OPEC countries may not continue almost sounded desperate. But if anything, Trump's bluntness is refreshing: if, as he suggests, the purpose of the US military – with a yearly total budget of a trillion dollars – is to protect OPEC members in exchange for "cheap oil," how cheap is that oil? ..."
"... Exactly how traditional 'US Mideast policies' benefit the average American however remains a mystery. Many of these questionable policies are never critically examined in the open – at least not the big ones involving that 'special relationship' with you-know-who. Never. ..."
"... Iran's crime? That nation's alleged 'sponsorship of terrorism' in support of the Palestinian struggle against Zionist occupation, as well as other anti-Zionist resistance movements in Lebanon, Syria and beyond. ..."
"... Yet it is Israel that is foremost occupying power in that region and it is Israel that is the expanding nuclear power. Meanwhile, the Zionist-lead BDS campaign against Iran is nothing less than a full-blown economic war. At the same time, Israel benefits from unconditional and continuous US subsidies. ..."
"... In no small way, Israel sees its mission to dominate the region and expand its borders as a religious duty. Destiny. This puts Israel in a class by itself. And unlike its neighbors (including Iran) Israel has nuclear WMD. ..."
Jul 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

President Trump is finding that his threats and heated rhetoric do not always have the effect he wishes. As his Administration warns countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November or risk punishment by the United States, a nervous international oil market is pushing prices ever higher, threatening the economic prosperity he claims credit for. President Trump's response has been to demand that OPEC boost its oil production by two million barrels per day to calm markets and bring prices down.

Perhaps no one told him that Iran was a founding member of OPEC?

When President Trump Tweeted last week that Saudi Arabia agreed to begin pumping additional oil to make up for the removal of Iran from the international markets, the Saudis very quickly corrected him, saying that while they could increase capacity if needed, no promise to do so had been made.

The truth is, if the rest of the world followed Trump's demands and returned to sanctions and boycotting Iranian oil, some 2.7 million barrels per day currently supplied by Iran would be very difficult to make up elsewhere. Venezuela, which has enormous reserves but is also suffering under, among other problems, crippling US sanctions, is shrinking out of the world oil market.

Iraq has not recovered its oil production capacity since its "liberation" by the US in 2003 and the al-Qaeda and ISIS insurgencies that followed it.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that "a complete shutdown of Iranian sales could push oil prices above $120 a barrel if Saudi Arabia can't keep up." Would that crash the US economy? Perhaps. Is Trump willing to risk it?

President Trump's demand last week that OPEC "reduce prices now" or US military protection of OPEC countries may not continue almost sounded desperate. But if anything, Trump's bluntness is refreshing: if, as he suggests, the purpose of the US military – with a yearly total budget of a trillion dollars – is to protect OPEC members in exchange for "cheap oil," how cheap is that oil?

At the end, China, Russia, and others are not only unlikely to follow Trump's demands that Iran again be isolated: they in fact stand to benefit from Trump's bellicosity toward Iran. One Chinese refiner has just announced that it would cancel orders of US crude and instead turn to Iran for supplies. How many others might follow and what might it mean?

Ironically, President Trump's "get tough" approach to Iran may end up benefitting Washington's named adversaries Russia and China – perhaps even Iran. The wisest approach is unfortunately the least likely at this point: back off from regime change, back off from war-footing, back off from sanctions. Trump may eventually find that the cost of ignoring this advice may be higher than he imagined.

Vidi , July 10, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT

Trump may eventually find that the cost of ignoring [the advice to back off from Iran] may be higher than he imagined.

Perhaps he's counting on not being President by then. Another case of IBGYBG (I'll be gone, you'll be gone), an attitude that seems to be infecting bankers, Wall Street, and the rest of the U.S. élite lately. A cataclysm is coming, and they can see it.

mark green , July 10, 2018 at 7:01 am GMT
Why is Zio-America treating Iran with such hostility?

Iran and Israel are locked in a vicious cold war. Their animosities date back to mythical antiquity. One alleged episode is even celebrated in the Jewish celebration of 'Purim'.

Take a look at the breathtaking insight that Gilad Atzmon has to offer about Purim:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2007/03/03/from-esther-to-aipac/

In any case, Iran and Israel's antipathies for one another shouldn't concern superpower America. Except that it does.

Like American television, Washington happens to be Israeli-held territory. Haven't you heard?

This is why Zio-Washington invariably sides with Israel in all of its disputes, even when 1) Israel is the aggressor, 2) even when Israel is slaughtering powerless civilians who are protesting their subjugation, and 3) even when US interests are not at stake or even in play. And this uniform deference from Washington is thoroughly bipartisan. It is 'business as usual'. It's basically unanimous. Both Parties. No dissent.

Many just call it 'US Mideast policy'. Ironclad. 'Unshakable'. But don't laugh or smirk. Doing so might be seen as 'anti-Semitic'.

Exactly how traditional 'US Mideast policies' benefit the average American however remains a mystery. Many of these questionable policies are never critically examined in the open – at least not the big ones involving that 'special relationship' with you-know-who. Never.

These rigid policies help explain how Crypto-Israelis in America – using Washington as their proxy – have successfully brought the US into Israel's cold war against Iran.

Zionist operatives have not only orchestrated the decades-long freeze of billions of dollars in Iranian assets that belong to the Iranian people, but they have launched a global (and crypto-Zionist) 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' campaign against the relatively peaceful nation of Iran.

Iran's crime? That nation's alleged 'sponsorship of terrorism' in support of the Palestinian struggle against Zionist occupation, as well as other anti-Zionist resistance movements in Lebanon, Syria and beyond.

Yet it is Israel that is foremost occupying power in that region and it is Israel that is the expanding nuclear power. Meanwhile, the Zionist-lead BDS campaign against Iran is nothing less than a full-blown economic war. At the same time, Israel benefits from unconditional and continuous US subsidies.

Politicians who dare question this phenomena – or who wander off the Zionist plantation in Washington – tend to disappear. Rapidly. Journalists, too.

In no small way, Israel sees its mission to dominate the region and expand its borders as a religious duty. Destiny. This puts Israel in a class by itself. And unlike its neighbors (including Iran) Israel has nuclear WMD.

Due to Israeli influence here, Americans are not only actively supporting various Zionist war efforts, but they are also paying billions more for their gasoline since Zionists have managed to prohibit the purchase Iranian oil throughout the West. These economic 'choices' are what Americans unwittingly make – even though the 'average Joe' remains totally unaware of them.

Indeed, even though Iran wants to be a trading partner with America and bring its oil onto the world market, Zio-Washington says 'NO!' US consumers be damned. The Iranian people be damned.

This is not the first time that US economic interests have taken a back seat to Israel's. Please recall the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Zio-Washington's intervention on behalf of Israel during that conflict, the ensuing Arab oil embargo, and the disastrous recession that followed.

But Zio-America never turned it back on Israel, even though American citizens never had the opportunity to determine their allies or policies one way or another. US support of Israel is mandatory. It's been this way since LBJ.

Today, Israel is maneuvering Zio-Washington to do to Iran what it did to Iraq, Libya and Syria; namely, spread destabilization and impose 'creative destruction' upon all nations that pose any long-term threat to the Zionist State.

[Jul 09, 2018] Chinese Refiner Halts US Oil Purchases, May Use Iran Oil Instead

Jul 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
With the US and China contemplating their next moves in what is now officially a trade war, a parallel narrative is developing in the world of energy where Asian oil refiners are racing to secure crude supplies in anticipation of an escalating trade war between the US and China, even as Trump demands all US allies cut Iran oil exports to zero by November 4 following sanctions aimed at shutting the country out of oil markets.

Concerned that the situation will deteriorate before it gets better, Asian refiners are moving swiftly to secure supplies with South Korea leading the way. Under pressure from Washington, Seoul has already halted all orders of Iranian oil, according to sources, even as it braces from spillover effects from the U.S.-China tit-for-tat on trade.

"As South Korea's economy heavily relies on trade, it won't be good for South Korea if the global economic slowdown happens because of a trade dispute between U.S and China," said Lee Dal-seok, senior researcher at the Korea Energy Economic Institute (KEEI).

Meanwhile, Chinese state media has unleashed a full-on propaganda blitzkrieg , slamming Trump's government as a "gang of hoodlums", with officials vowing retaliation, while the chairman of Sinochem just become China's official leader of the anti-Trump resistance, quoting Michelle Obama's famous slogan " when they go low, we go high. " Standing in the line of fire are U.S. crude supplies to China, which have surged from virtually zero before 2017 to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July.

Representing a modest 5% of China's overall crude imports, these supplies are worth $1 billion a month at current prices - a figure that seems certain to fall should a duty be implemented . While U.S. crude oil is not on the list of 545 products the Chinese government has said it would immediately retaliate with in response to American duties, China has threatened a 25% duty on imports of U.S. crude which is listed as a U.S. product that will receive an import tariff at an unspecified later date.

And amid an escalating tit-for-tat war between Trump and Xi in which neither leader is even remotely close to crying uncle, industry participants expect the tariff to be levied, a move which would make future purchases of US oil uneconomical for Chinese importers.

"The Chinese have to do the tit-for-tat, they have to retaliate ," said John Driscoll, director of consultancy JTD Energy, adding that cutting U.S. crude imports was a means "of retaliating (against) the U.S. in a very substantial way".

In an alarming sign for Washington, and a welcome development for Iran, some locals have decided not to see which way the dice may fall.

According to Japan Times , in a harbinger of what's to come, an executive from China's Dongming Petrochemical Group, an independent refiner from Shandong province, said his refinery had already cancelled U.S. crude orders .

"We expect the Chinese government to impose tariffs on (U.S.) crude," the unnamed executive said. " We will switch to either Middle East or West African supplies ," he said.

Driscoll said China may even replace American oil with crude from Iran. " They (Chinese importers) are not going to be intimidated, or swayed by U.S. sanctions."

Oil consultancy FGE agrees, noting that China is unlikely to heed President Trump's warning to stop buying oil from Iran. While as much as 2.3 million barrels a day of crude from the Persian Gulf state at risk per Trump's sanctions, the White House has yet to get responses from China, while India or Turkey have already hinted they would defy Trump and keep importing Iranian oil. Together three three nations make up about 60 percent of the Persian Gulf state's exports.

... ... ...

beemasters -> divingengineer Sun, 07/08/2018 - 19:50 Permalink

"Meanwhile, Chinese state media has unleashed a full-on propaganda blitzkrieg, slamming Trump's government as a "gang of hoodlums""

And how's that a propaganda?
Oh, Trump was just following Bibi's order on Iran issue. Got it.

DingleBarryObummer -> 2banana Sun, 07/08/2018 - 20:11 Permalink

Did you even READ the article?

Yes it looks like he did.

Under pressure from Washington, Seoul has already halted all orders of Iranian oil, according to sources, even as it braces from spillover effects from the U.S.-China tit-for-tat on trade.

[Jul 06, 2018] Iran Threatens To Close the Strait of Hormuz naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... On the Psychology of Military Incompetence ..."
Jul 06, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 2:13 am

I think that the potential threat of what happens if there is a hot war are more extensive than just having the Strait of Hormuz being closed. If you look at that map you can see that Saudi Arabia is just across the Strait. And as luck would have it, Saudi Arabia's oil fields are mostly in the east which means that they are within close missile range of Iran. Nice oil fields you have there Saudi Arabia. Shame if something happened to it. The United Arab Emirates are also within missile range as well. If both countries think that Patriot batteries will protect them then they must have been disillusioned to find that those Patriots couldn't even defend against wonky Houthi missiles.
Then there is the fact that Iran shares a border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Remember how the CIA shipped all those anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and ManPads to the Syrian Jihadists via countries like Saudi Arabia? Be a real shame if captured stock got passed on to the Taliban via all those borders and started targeted US/Coalition forces in Afghanistan. Just these two possibilities show how Iran has a whole range of options to use if it came to a military confrontation. And it should be remembered. If a US/Coalition could not successfully occupy Iraq with a population of 37 million, then how can Iran with a population of 80 million be occupied?
Another factor is that even if a US/Coalition managed to somehow suppress all those missiles the Iranians are using to guard those Straits, you would never be sure that you got them all. Who really want to risk their oil tankers going down those Straits and wanting to risk that bottleneck beig turned into a flaming sea? The trouble there is no way that there would be a quick campaign possible with everybody home by Christmas. This has the potential of still being fought during the 2020 US elections and I do not think that the US establishment wants to risk that one. What they do want is to strangle Iran economically and turn the place into one of grinding poverty but if pushed too far may go the Sampson option.

jCandlish , July 5, 2018 at 3:31 am

Mines.

The straight could be mined, and probably already is.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2018 at 4:30 am

Thank you.

Local kids could also be trained to fire rockets across the water. The straits are not straight and cut into Iran, so there's a good vantage point for Iran.

Steve H. , July 5, 2018 at 7:28 am

> probably already is.
>> China is still officially stating that it will not end its Iranian oil imports and operations.

China's investment of billions into the deep port of Gwadar should not be discounted. While China has ceded the ocean surface to the US navy, the wei qi way is to surround and not engage directly. By now the Gulf of Oman should be a sensory organ for information critical to Iran, and passive systems are much harder to detect & destroy.

We're now three years out from Qiao Liang saying China "thinks that Washington will not fight Beijing for the next ten years". China doesn't want the fight (and I mean high explosives, not 'fighting for') yet, but they've been preparing. And let us not forget the rooster tails on the American fleet fleeing the Persian Gulf in October 2015 when Russia launched cruise missiles at Syria. That was three months after the 'One Belt, One Road' speech.

While the Saud's are working out their family disputes they cannot afford to have the petrodollar disabled. But the US is materially capable of weathering energy disruptions better than the EU, which would become even more dependent on Russia. Long term, the petrodollar is gone and climate migrations are coming, so the when of Fortess America could depend on relative and not absolute 'cui bono, ciu malo'.

tldr: the fight is inevitable, there's more than two in the ring, and there's no referee.

rd , July 5, 2018 at 12:04 pm

I doubt if it is mined at this time, but mines would be a logical way to quickly shut the Strait down. A couple of small fast ships dropping mines at night could shut it down very quickly. They could drop mines along the far shore which would force ships towards the Iran side where they would be vulnerable to shore-based anti-ship missiles.

BTW, the standing NATO minesweeping group is three ships (two Lithuanian and one British). Historically minesweeping is one of the roles carried out by other countries that the US is currently working hard to alienate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_NATO_Mine_Countermeasures_Group_1

The US Navy has minesweeping ships stationed in Bahrain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenger-class_mine_countermeasures_ship

Mine sweeping ships generally are not heavily armored to avoid magnetic and acoustic signatures that can trigger mines. So they can struggle in contested waters and would be very vulnerable to anti-ship missiles.

"Rouhani, considered by European politicians to be a reformist, appears to be showing a hardline streak that is nearer the strategy of the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. "

Everybody becomes a hardliner when faced with an existential threat, which Trump's threats are now creating for Iran.

Antifa , July 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm

There's no need to sink any oil tankers to stop all oil shipping. Those tankers don't sail without full insurance for the cargo, and no maritime insurer will back shipping through the Strait of Hormuz while the Iranians are on the warpath. Hence, no oil tanker.

rd , July 5, 2018 at 2:03 pm

That is why a few mines would be very effective. All oil shipping would cease immediately. Because mines can be redeployed very easily, including by air or fishing boats, insurers would probably not be assuaged by naval assurances that mines have been swept.

Lambert Strether , July 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm

"What's mined is minded, and what's yours is negotiable."

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 5:22 pm

In the 1980's when the Iranians mined the Straits the tankers still moved. What was the insurance deal then? Did it the US pick it up for that part of the trip?

Redlife 2017 , July 5, 2018 at 4:11 am

"If a US/Coalition could not successfully occupy Iraq with a population of 37 million, then how can Iran with a population of 80 million be occupied?"

Iran is also mostly Persian. Yes, there are Arabs, Armenians, Baluchis, etc., but the vast majority are Persian and are proud to be Persian. Unlike Iraq, where you have a country with 3 groups you can play off each other.

I visited Iran over 5 years ago and was able to speak to some regular Iranians (English is not uncommon amongst men and women). They will fight to the last man, woman, and child if anyone came into their country. And that's what the secular ones who hate their government say.

Every town has lamppost flags showing the pictures of all the young men who died in the Iran-Iraq War. It was humbling to see the generational devastation wrought on that country. Even the youth view that war as a world war, since people from over 25 countries were found to be fighting on the Iraq side ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War – Remember the Soviet Union was ALSO on Iraq's side!). They faced destruction and survived. They view themselves as an ancient, sophisticated people as well as the greatest survivors in the world (all with good reason as they are an amazing people with a rubbish government).

I do not see this ending well if the US thinks they can put the Iranians into a corner and get compliance. It is an amazingly ahistorical understanding of the geopolitics of Iran. These are the people we should be allying with not Saudi Arabia. But this is the same group who think blundering into Iraq or Syria was a good idea, so I really can't be surprised.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2018 at 4:27 am

Thank you, Kev.

Just to add that the people living above the main Saudi oil fields, Eastern Province, are mainly Shiites. Shiites are also to be found in the south along the ill defined border with Yemen. Both communities are disaffected and have been for decades, although the BBC, which advertises its "unparalled global expertise" (sic) between news bulletins and other programmes, reckons the Arab Spring caused the restiveness in Saudi Arabia.

This said, the Saudis and their Pakistani poodles can foment (Sunni) Arab and Baluch disorder in Khuzestan and Sistan / Iranian Baluchistan.

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 4:51 am

Oh my. I forgot all about the Shiites of the Eastern Provinces. Thanks for correcting that omission.

ex-PFC Chuck , July 5, 2018 at 7:53 am

And Bahrain is also predominantly Shiite, although ruthlessly ruled by Sunnis. And they're restive Shiites at that.

Clive , July 5, 2018 at 7:27 am

I always wonder to myself when, on the BBC News Channel, they pan across the alleged newsroom in New Broadcasting House and you see all those desks -- rows upon rows of them -- where people are sat, or, occasionally, get up and have a wander around, what the heck are they doing there? It can't be producing news reports because you see the same half a dozen so-called news "stories" stripped endlessly across the schedule throughout the day.

Every so often we get "business" news, which is someone from a spread betting company piffling on about some rot or other then "a look at the markets", not, unfortunately, a view of Covenant Garden or something, that would be more interesting, but rather some mysterious figures from world indices and forex rates splayed across the screen like some inscrutable hieroglyphs.

Then a bit of sport, with a dash of added jingoism.

Finally, some rally round the flag update on "the forces" with some top brass on the poop deck of an aircraft carrier looking for an F35 ("F35 coming real soon"). Maybe Sophie Rayworth in a tank.

Or alternatively it's Jenny Hill from Berlin with something about sausages and Merkel with stock footage of people drinking beer from unfeasibly large glasses wraps it all up apart from a sky diving granny then the weather.

Is it some kind of comedy, I ask at this point ?

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 8:08 am

It could be worse. We all could work in one of these places. It would not matter how great a story you found, it would all have to get through the editors who report directly to their owners like with the Murdoch press. The stuff you talk about is just the stuff that gets the editorial nod i.e. pure pap.
Some of the stuff that I have seen on Australian TV, however, is nothing less than out and out propaganda. I watch some of this stuff and I compare it with what I read on this site or what a commentator chips in with and I wonder what these newsreaders actually are thinking as they read some of these stories. Probably their steady pay packets.

Clive , July 5, 2018 at 8:20 am

I briefly watched ABC a couple of months ago. I thought I'd tuned into The War Channel. How on earth did that happen?

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 8:58 am

I wish to god I knew. I have seen this creeping in the past decade or more. I suspect that a lot of bad practices are imported from overseas. There are international conferences for conservative political parties so you would have American Republicans, British Conservatives, Australian Coalition, etc. all mixing together and swapping idea and techniques. They even work together when there is an election in their country.
Just the other day I heard one Coalition member describe another as a "patriot" which you NEVER hear in Oz. Kinda like a Republican describing another Republican as a good Communist. You just never hear it. We even have an ex-Prime Minister that sounds like he could be a good buddy to Mark Rubio running around trying to blow up his own party (currently in power) saying that we should build as many coal power stations as possible because climate change is not real.
Historically our governments have been ruled by pragmatism and past US governments have labelled us as "socialist" due to adopting such things as single-payer health. The past few years I am noting more and more ideologues going into politics who want to drag the country into their way of thinking whether it is to pick fights with China (our major trade partner) or send the Australian military to the ends of the earth as if they were Mercenaries-r-us. The times they are a changing.

ambrit , July 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

It all reminds me of C S Lewis' description of H -- as a giant bureaucracy. "The Screwtape Letters" were written at the end of WW-2 and still come across as 'fresh.'

upstater , July 5, 2018 at 9:41 am

Supposedly the KSA funded development of the Pakistani bomb. There probably is some agreement to hand some over (if it hasn't already been done) for "existential threats" This could turn very bad very fast.

PlutoniumKun , July 5, 2018 at 5:02 am

Iran has lots of options. Their Navy wouldn't last very long in a hot war but they have lots of asymetric options. They have reverse engineered Russian torpedoes and these could be launched from land or from mini-subs in shallow waters (where they are far harder to detect), making life very difficult for opponents, let alone tankers. They can strike the UAE and much of Saudi Arabia using a wide variety of ballistic missiles. To prevent this, the US would have to strike Iranian territory, and this would cause a massive escalation. In almost any scenario, the Straits would be shut down for many months, and this would be catastrophic for the world economy. Asia would come off worse as they are most dependent on LNG and oil from that region.

As you say, the great 'unsaid' is the Taliban. If Iran decided it was in their interest to supply them with a few dozen trained operators with a few thousand anti-tank missiles and manpads, then its goodbye Kabul.

Felix_47 , July 5, 2018 at 11:02 am

The Iranians hate the Taliban and Al Quaeda and ISIS a lot more than we do since we are on Saudi Arabia's side. They also seem to follow their principles. Don't forget our allies and proxies in Syria are the headcutters and madmen ..all Sunnis ..although our government does not want to admit it. They would be a lot smarter to trigger a Shiite uprising in Saudi Arabia and shut the country down. The Shiites in Saudi are downtrodden and abused.

Synoia , July 5, 2018 at 12:20 pm

One tanker sunk would eliminate the carriage of oil.

The maritime insurers would not insure the tankers in a war zone.

I believe the insurance term is "Force Majeure"

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 5:42 pm

What is the pipeline capacity to get around the straits? Much there?

Synoia , July 5, 2018 at 9:18 pm

What pipeline? There are pipeline from Iraq to the Mediterranean coast. I don't believe there are any from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean.

One has to remember:

Mechanical Engineers build weapons
Civil Engineers build Targets

To escalate a carrier sinking to nuclear war is, I believe a lose/lose proposition. Let say the Iranians sunk a carrier and the US Nuked Tehran.

The Iranians would not be in a forgiving mood at that point, and it would do little to remove the somewhat irritated Iranians along the northern side of the Persian Gulf. The irritated Iranians would initiate incidents over the impact of irradiated Iranians.

The US could nuke the Iranian Coast along the Persian Gulf, but, the gulf is not wide, and the result would be poor prospects for the US allies on the South side of the Gulf. In addition one does not know if nuking Shea would provoke a Sunni backlash against "the infidels, the Christian US."

One could argue that Christians and Nukes cannot be mentioned in the same sentence.

Ape , July 5, 2018 at 6:02 am

If you want to successfully occupy a society, they must believe you are willing and capable of genocide.

JIm Thomson , July 5, 2018 at 11:25 am

The Prologue of Robert Baer's "Sleeping With the Devil" outlines a potential scenario of a Shiite attack on the eastern Saudi oil fields. The sub-title is The Doomsday Scenario.
The book is about the US-Saudi relationship by a retired CIA officer. A very good read and part of trying to understand this entire mess.

TimmyB , July 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Exactly right. Logic dictates that if Iran is attacked, Iranian missiles will soon thereafter attempt to destroy all of the oil producing capacity selling to Europe, Japan and the US within range of its missiles. This means ships, oil fields, pipeline, ect. Oil prices would skyrocket, plunging the US, Japan and Europe into a deep economic downturn.

Why people ignore the outcome you provided is beyond me. If I were Iran, I'd do the same if Israel attacked too.

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Your guess is that nobody will attack the Iranians after they attack the shipping to close the straits?

In the 1987 Iran attacked about 91 ships in the Gulf. The oil still flowed. On April 18, 1988 the US attacked and severely damaged a number of Iranian ships and bases. After that things started winding down. Then on July 3, 1988 the US shot down that Iranian airliner. Then things really quieted down.

What are the differences now? Iran: ballistic missiles and subs?

kimyo , July 5, 2018 at 3:45 am

which general should be put in charge of the u.s. military response to iran's threat?

the one who won the war in afghanistan? iraq? vietnam? syria?

surely we have somebody who is up to the task? a 'best of the best', 'with honors' kinda guy?

Antifa , July 5, 2018 at 8:17 am

There's Lt. General Riper, who played the Iranian side in the 2002 Millennium Challenge war games, "killing" 20,000 Navy personnel and "sinking" 16 American warships on the first day, so he knows better than to even start such a bottlenecked battle.

There's always General Farnsworth, the great grandson of Colonel Armstrong Custer. Farnsworth has worked for two decades in the Purchasing & Planning wing of the Pentagon -- three levels below daylight -- but his confidence in an immediate American victory Over There is indubitable.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2018 at 10:07 am

Thank you.

Custer's spawn? Super!

In similar vein, MI5's Eliza Manningham Buller is a descendant of Redvers Buller, British commander in the second Boer War, but much more of a realist and moderate.

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

Redvers Buller? Seriously? I have read a lot about his role in the Zulu War of 1879. Intriguing character being hard-fighting and hard-drinking and yet refused to wear his 1860 China medal on the grounds that it was an unnecessary war. And a descendant of his is head of MI5?

blennylips , July 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Here's a little character sketch of Redvers Buller, from " On the Psychology of Military Incompetence ", by Norman Dixon:

The leading character was the commander-in-chief, General Sir Redvers Buller. According to a contemporary description there could be no finer choice for our South African adventure: 'There is no stronger commander in the British Army than this remote, almost grimly resolute, completely independent, utterly fearless, steadfast and vigorous man. Big-boned, square-jawed, strong-minded, strong-headed Smartness sagacity administrative capacity He was born to be a soldier of the very best English type, needless to say the best type of all.
Unfortunately this assessment was at variance with the facts in all but two particulars. Firstly, he was indeed big. Secondly, though sadly lacking in moral courage, he was undoubtedly brave when it came to physical danger. In this respect, as in many others, he was not unlike Raglan of the Crimean War, and indeed some other commanders of subsequent years.
Of Sir 'Reverse' Buller, as he came to be known by his troops, Rayne Kruger writes: 'At the risk of marring [the] contemporary description it should be mentioned that his big bones were particularly well covered, especially in the region of the stomach, and that his square jaw was not especially apparent above a double chin. He had entered the army with no disadvantage, his mother being a Howard and niece of the Duke of Norfolk, and he was very wealthy, which was fortunate in view of his preference for a diet of ample good food and champagne.

Such examples of the Peter Principle, wherein people are raised to their own level of inefficiency, was never better illustrated than in the case of Sir Redvers Buller, who has been described as 'a superb major, a mediocre colonel and an abysmal general'. In this case, high-level military incompetence must be laid at the door of heroic leadership, for this was the quality which eventually put him where he could do the most damage to his own side.

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

I think that we found our best of the best-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXRi28W-ENY

Synoia , July 5, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Eggzactly

Expat , July 5, 2018 at 5:38 am

The US response will be that this unprovoked aggression is an act of war, etc. This ignores our own unprovoked act of aggression, the embargo.
In case any has forgotten, those dastardly Imperialist Japanese launched an "unprovoked" attack on Pearl Harbor because the US put Japan under an embargo.
Embargoes themselves are not acts of war, but blockades are. But this is all technical blather. The US is attempting to strangle Iran. Iran will attempt to strangle the Gulf Arabs and the US. If Iran starts firing missiles or blockading the straits, the US will attack Iran. Iran will in turn launch attacks on the Gulf states. This could drive oil over $200, perhaps higher.
If Iran were clever, they would institute some sort of quarantine or inspection in their territorial waters. Indeed, they should claim jurisdiction over the entire strait in the interest of international security (they could certainly find some US document somewhere and just change the names). Then they could stop every ship going in and out and spend a week or so inspecting each one for contraband, disease, etc. This would not be an act of war but would certainly provoke the US into striking first anyway.

vlade , July 5, 2018 at 6:38 am

Iran has already extended its territorial waters to 12 miles, as did Oman. Given that the strait is 29 miles at the narrowest, and that to deal with the amount of shipping, pretty much all of it passes through either Omani or Iranian territorial waters. Technically, Iran/Oman has right to stop any non "innocent" (read unarmed) shipping trough it territorial waters. Not sure what is Omani relationship with the US/Saudis at the moment, wasn't paying much attention to the Gulf.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2018 at 10:04 am

Thank you, Vlade.

The Omanis would stay out.

The variation of Islam practiced there is very different to Saudi Wahhabism.

Also, many foreigners there, not just Muslims, have Omani nationality.

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 7:48 pm

Sounds like there are 4 miles in the center? The marked shipping lanes are all on the Oman side of the half way point.

JohnnySacks , July 5, 2018 at 9:35 am

Once the US decides to strike first, we're going to be on our own. The Saudis will be completely useless as they always were, understandably not wanting to be cannon fodder for US interests. And with most of Europe and Asia relying on gulf oil, our 'coalition of the willing' is going to be a bit shy of members.
But $200 a barrel and the US a solid producer? Seems to be some win-win money to be made for both Raytheon and Exxon-Mobil.

Felix_47 , July 5, 2018 at 11:04 am

No Saudi just like no rich American will give his life for his country .in the military. Life is just too good for them .why fight in the desert when you can cool it at a cafe in Munich ..why are all the Syrian men of fighting age in Munich and Hamburg? They don't want to fight for their country.

sierra7 , July 5, 2018 at 5:32 pm

Isn't that what the Kuwaiti leaders did during the "First Persian Gulf War"? They fled to Monaco .

EoinW , July 5, 2018 at 7:45 am

Considering the restraint Iran has shown regarding Israeli attacks in Syria, it's safe to assume they want to avoid war at all cost. Don't expect any acts of aggression from them. Talk of closing the strait is trying to see if there is any spark of independence left in Europe's political elite. Unfortunately the Europeans only care about money – what they get personally from the US to run their countries and what their corporations get from doing business with America. There just isn't enough business between Iran and Europe to offset that. Now the more unreasonable Washington becomes the more uncomfortable its allies become, however they will still hold their noses and answer the call to duty. I'm afraid Iran's courting Europe will produce little to help them. Luckily China and Russia, even Turkey and India, are far more important.

The nice thing for Iran's hardliners – assuming the MSM narrative that they are nasty terrorists always looking to cause trouble – is that they don't need to take aggressive action to start a war. They've got America/Israel and that's the cause of every war in the 21st century. That pairing will decide if and when there is to be a war. Russia and China might have the ability to provoke caution but Iran doesn't.

Do not expect any actions from the Iranians to provoke a war. It's a war they cannot win and they know it. it's also a war they can't lose but the price they could pay by surviving might be really horrific. I'm not sure they'd close the strait even in a shooting war because that would risk further escalation. The moment America starts bombing Iran the law of diminishing return kicks in. The US will be looking for any excuse to go nuclear. Therefore I doubt Iranian resistance will be more than defensive. Hopefully Russia is providing them with air defences to be able to shoot down some US planes. Just lay low and ride out the storm. That's been the philosophy of US/Israeli opponents in the Middle East this decade. It's why the Russians take so much crap and keep turning the other cheek. They understand that either they lose such a war or, if they are winning they risk the US going nuclear. Iran can't win a war with America. Iran, however, can inflict unacceptable casualties but then they run the same risk of Washington going nuclear in retaliation. In Asian capitals you have rational players who understand that a nuclear war must be avoided if possible. Thus they avoid any aggressive actions which they fear could lead to such a war. The problem humanity has is that we're not sure if there are any rational players in Washington or Tel Aviv.

Kilgore Trout , July 5, 2018 at 9:53 am

"The problem humanity has is that we're not sure if there are any rational players in Washington or Tel Aviv."
+1
Given our belief in being an "exceptional nation" hasn't this been humanity's problem since the end of WW2?

Synoia , July 5, 2018 at 9:23 pm

hasn't this been humanity's problem since the end of WW2?

No. Ask the Indians.

Ignacio , July 5, 2018 at 8:01 am

Will the sanctions pull Iran enough to such an escalation? Would other countries (apart from Turkey) thing that this is troubling enough to risk US sanctions and disobey? There has been an escalation in language between the UE and US regarding Iran sanctions but it is still too soon to know what will be the EU position. We migth know after tomorrow's meeting in Vienna. I don't know what could happen but be sure the US is running out of "natural allies" by stepping up too much it's support for Saudi Arab. Trump is inaugurating a new era and it doesn't look pretty.

Tom Stone , July 5, 2018 at 9:20 am

Always bet on stupid.

Edward , July 5, 2018 at 9:38 am

Iran is now working with Russia. I wonder what discussions are occurring between these countries on this subject?

Bobby Gladd , July 5, 2018 at 12:22 pm

I have a relation who is a Marine Corps Major and Osprey pilot. His take on a serious major military conflict: "We are SO not ready."

blennylips , July 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Snafu agrees, in spades:

The Army might be in trouble but the Marine Corps WILL BE IN A HURT LOCKER FROM HELL if its ever called on to face Russian forces if they follow thru with published planning.

https://www.snafu-solomon.com/2018/07/dr-phillip-karber-on-russian-way-of-war.html

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 7:55 pm

Lots of hype there – The Russians had a plan to invade the Ukraine! Shocking! Only 1 plan?

[Jul 06, 2018] Trump's Iran Gambit Won't Pay Off by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Notable quotes:
"... Offshore Technology ..."
"... * Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | www.opednews.com
By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

It is as clear as day that President Trump is obsessed with regime change in Iran. What is not made clear is how much his gambit is damaging to Americans and American interests.

Without cause or justification, Mr. Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), striking a hard blow to America's European allies – and its own credibility. Moreover, he threatened European countries with secondary sanctions should they continue to trade with Iran.

To top it all, in his latest move, he has called for all Iranian oil exports to be cut off by November. Or in practical terms, he is imposing an economic blockade on Iran. This is a similar scenario that was played out by the British in 1951 against Iran and Dr. Mossadegh – who was later overthrown in the 1953 British-US coup. But today, the IR of Iran is not the Iran of 1953, and the brunt of American demands and actions will not be borne by Iran alone.

Demanding that no country purchase oil from Iran is in fact an economic blockade. It is an illegitimate use of power to force a sovereign nation to surrender. It must be made clear however, that it is not just Iran that is the target here. The Trump administration's demands arean offensiveexercise of extraterritorial authority with no regard for sovereign equality between states. All states involved in trade with Iran will either have to cower to his demands or be punished.

But there is more than state sovereignty and indignation that is involved. These actions will have a dire effect on the economy of allies, and they will hit Americans in the wallet – hard. If Mr. Trump is giving a November deadline, he hopes to postpone the impact this will have on the November elections. He wants total rule over America before totally bankrupting it.

To fully appreciate how Mr. Trump intends to make 'America great again' where his policy regarding Iranian oil is concerned, one must take a look at some numbers and empirical evidence.

The oil strikes leading up to the toppling of Iran's Shah were felt around the world. During the 1978-79 revolution, Iranian oil production dropped 3.8 million barrels per day for 3 months. Although outside production increased by 1.8 million barrels to make up for the loss, the net loss to the world was 150 million barrels of oil. However, the compounding results of the production loss were significant around the globe.

Many Americans may recall the lines at the fuel pumps, but that was just what met the eyes. The increase in oil prices impacted farming, production, transportation of goods and services, and so on. At that time, China, currently the second biggest oil consumer behind America, was a net exporter of oil. The loss to U.S. economy was estimated at many billions of dollars in 1979 and 1980 (Deese and Nye 308-309) [i] .

Read also: When Netanyahu slept at the Kushners - media tales of Trump's Jewish confidants

More recent studies show that Iranian oil has a major impact on the U.S. economy even though America does not import a single barrel of oil from Iran. In 2008, economists Dean DeRosa and Gary Hufbauer presented a paper in which they claimed that if the United States lifted sanctions on Iran, the world price of oil could fall by 10 percent which would translate into an annual savings of $38-76 billion for the United States [ii] .

But sanctions alone were not responsible for oil price hikes in 2008 and beyond. In July 2008, oil had reached a peak of $142.05/bbl (see chart HERE ). This price hike came on the heels of some important events. In May, President Bush sent a ' warning message' to Iran on the same day that additional aircraft carriers with guided-missile destroyers were sent to the Persian Gulf.

In June of the same year, the New York Times reported that: "Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities."

In July, then presidential candidate Barak Obama asked for tougher sanctions to be imposed on Iran.

It was not until September 2008 when President Bush declined to help Israel attack Iran that oil prices started to relax. They hit a low of just over $53 /bbl in December 2008.

Oil prices continued to rise again under Obama's sanctions and reached well past the $100 mark. The prices climbed down once again during the JCPOA negotiations reaching an all time low of $30.24/bbl in January 2016 – after the signing of the JCPOA.

Today, oil prices stands at $74.30/bbl. A fact not lost on any American who has filled up his/her gas tank lately– and paid for groceries. The deadline for Iran oil cut off is yet months away, but the impact has started.

Given that other countries may step in to compensate for some of the Iranian oil loss, other factors which effect prices must be considered – the most important of which is the security of the Strait of Hormuz. As mentioned previously, the British oil blockade scenario of 1951 will have far different consequences in 2018 should America impose an economic blockade or oil embargo.

Read also: 'Infamous liar': Iran blasts Netanyahu for claims Tehran had nuclear weapons program

In the 1950's, Iran did not have the military might to retaliate to the oil embargo and the naval blockade was aimed at crushing the economy in order to bring about regime change. This economic blockade, should it be allowed to happen, would crush the economy of much of the world.

As it stands, 35% of seaborne oil goes through the Strait of Hormuz 85% of which goes to Asian markets. As the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has stated: "The blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, even temporarily, could lead to substantial increases in total energy costs."Today, Iran not only has the military might to block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation, but it also has the legal right.

The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stipulates that vessels can exercise the right of innocent passage, and coastal states should not impede their passage. Under UNCLOS framework of international law, a coastal state can block ships from entering its territorial waters if the passage of the ships harms "peace, good order or security" of said state, as the passage of such ships would no longer be deemed "innocent" [iii] . Saudi Arabia and the UAE export oil through Iran's territorial waters. Should they help America choke Iran's economy, their passage is not deemed 'innocent'.

Even if Iran simply chooses to merely delay the passage of tankers by exercising its right to inspect every hostile oil tanker that passes through the Strait of Hormuz, such inspections and subsequent delays would contribute to higher oil prices.

No doubt, the Iranian navy is no match for the formidable US navy. However, the shallow, narrow waters of Hormuz do not allow for the maneuvering of US battleships. The very presence of warships can lead to incidents. At its narrowest point, the Strait of Hormuz is 21 miles wide – hardly wide enough for a naval battle to take place and allow the passage of oil tankers at the same time. In recent years (2012), the USS Porter, a US navy destroyer, collided with an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The collision left a big whole in the navy destroyer.

American officials and oil companies have attempted to assuage the concern of over oil shortages by stating that America is one of the top oil producers. Some fact checking is in order.

According to EIA's latest available data, America's total exports in 2018 (thousands of barrels/month) was 7,730 bblin April. The same governmental body stated that total imports for the same month was 310,295. According to the EIA: "In 2017, the United States producedabout 15.4 million barrels of petroleum per day (MMb/d), and it consumed about 19.9 MMb/d. Imports from other countries help to supply demand for petroleum." (Click HERE for explanation of imports and exports).

Read also: After Greece and Cyprus, they prepare to attack Italy

These facts do not stop the spread of such news. As recently as June 4, 2018, Offshore Technology announced America is marching toward being the biggest oil producer. Important factors to bear in mind are that 1. America is the largest oil consumer and continues to have a deficit, and 2. Shale oil production is up thanks to higher oil prices.

While environmentalists objected to shale oil production, oil companies halted the extraction of oil when prices dropped. Anything above $50/bbl makes shale oil production feasible – which also makes it more expensive of the consumer. Although Mr. Trump and his administration have no regard for the environment, many states and countries have banned shale oil production (see LINK for list as of December 2017).

So the American people (and much of the rest of the world) is left with a stark choice. Either cave in to Mr. Trump's demands, accept loss of business, pay much higher oil prices at the pump and for consumer goods, prepare for a potential war, and sacrifice the environment – especially water, and mortgage the future of the earth more than we already have, or, don't heed Trump's demands – even if means a short term loss.

Either way, messing with Iran's oil exports is not an alternative that the world can afford. It may well be that Mr. Trumpis beholden to Mr. Netanyahu. He may well feel comfortable enough to subject the American people – and their allies to financial hardship; but the question is will Americans and the rest of the world sacrifice themselves at the Trump-Netanyahu altar?

* Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.

[Jul 03, 2018] Oil will continue to flow from Iran, there simply isn't a significant supply stemming from the Saudi-Russia alliance or US shale to fill the gap

Notable quotes:
"... The Iranians will lose marketspace, sure, but the inevitable increase of the price of oil will somewhat soften the blow. And anything over $100 per barrel, along with a stronger dollar, is proven to be detrimental to energy importing countries. It will be painful to keep the economy rolling. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

never mind , Jul 1, 2018 4:46:05 PM | 12

Oil will continue to flow from Iran, there simply isn't a significant supply stemming from the Saudi-Russia alliance or US shale to fill the gap.

The Iranians will lose marketspace, sure, but the inevitable increase of the price of oil will somewhat soften the blow. And anything over $100 per barrel, along with a stronger dollar, is proven to be detrimental to energy importing countries. It will be painful to keep the economy rolling.

And when there's less appetite for oil; the price of oil crashes resulting in another big financial crash (due to bad dept) followed by another round of austerity measures which spells political turmoil in a number of countries. And the landscape gradually changes.

Because we've been there before.

Likklemore , Jul 1, 2018 6:05:34 PM | 16

So Trump asked the Saudis to pump 2 million more barrels per day to offset Iranian exports?

Daffy!. Saudis do not have a spare barrel, let alone 2 million. Ask Simmons. Oh wait, he has been offed:


LONDON(Reuters) - The leader of Saudi Arabia has assured U.S. President Donald Trump that the Kingdom can raise oil production if needed and the country has 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity that could be deployed to help cool down oil prices to compensate for falling output in Venezuela and Iran.

In a tweet on Saturday, Trump said Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase output by up to this amount, although a subsequent statement from the White House rowed back on this assertion.

Either way, the kingdom, OPEC's biggest member, can barely raise output by 1 million bpd to 11 million bpd and even that would be difficult, according to industry analysts who forecast a further oil price rally due to a lack of new supply.

Below are comments from some leading OPEC analysts:

[ED: one of several cited below]

"The Saudis do not have 2 million bpd of spare capacity as it would imply production of 12 million bpd. They can likely produce a maximum of 11 million and even that will be running their system at stress levels," said Ross.

He added that with a potential output fall of up to 1.5 million bpd in Iran and further outages in Venezuela and Libya, the world could be short of 2 million bpd of oil output without an increase in Saudi output by the end of the year."

[.]

Reuters

Get ready to shell out at the pump.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 1, 2018 8:50:52 PM | 20
Pepe declares US shale to be a myth, but then says KSA and Russia have teamed up to fight. Us production figures also left out. Disappointing piece from Pepe, especially this glaring contradiction where KSA and Russia has to team up to fight what he calls a myth.
karlof1 , Jul 1, 2018 9:13:17 PM | 22
Pepe's referring to the assumed longevity of shale which is proven to be a gross lie. I can provide documentation about that but it will have to wait until I have more time to work.
Peter AU 1 , Jul 1, 2018 9:22:31 PM | 24
karlof1
Ok so according to Pepe Russia and KSA are joining forces to fight this gross lie.
either shale is a real and major threat, or Russia and KSA are not joining forces. That is the glaring contradiction in Pepes piece. the other option is that both Russia and KSA both of which have some knowledge of oil are mistaken about US shale.
Julian , Jul 1, 2018 10:59:24 PM | 26
Re: Posted by: PutinToTrump | Jul 1, 2018 1:32:09 PM | 6
Re: Posted by: Šabaniri | Jul 1, 2018 2:02:23 PM | 7
Re:

Already have Syria? Not really. Heard of the SDF occupying the North-Eastern third of Syria. If Trump & Putin can't come to an agreement on Iran what's the bet Trump decides to pump money, weapons and US troops into North-Eastern Syria to fully support the Kurds?

NordStream II? Sure, it will be built, but Trump can sanction Germany and German industry - ie automakers - heavily if he so wishes. He might do. He can blame NordStream II. He's certainly been talking about it.

There are certainly ways and means Trump can create huge trouble for Germany/Russia in regards to NordStream II even if it is built.

Crimea? Yeah, Russia has it but it is also used as the bludgeon to impose sanctions on Russia. Perhaps recognising Crimea as part of Russia and dropping all sanctions on Russia will be offered to Putin in return for Russia staying out of any conflict regarding Iran in 2019.

I'd hardly say Trump has nothing to bargain.

Besides, why would Putin select Medvedev as Prime Minister again despite Medvedev being obviously a Euro-Atlanticist?

I'd also add - who do you think Russia fears in the future decades.

Is it a decaying Europe/EU who nevertheless can buy lots of Russian goods including oil & gas obviously?

Or do Russia fear a rising China that always has one eye on the Russian Far East as a possible place for expansion to take care of their oil & gas & mineral needs?

I suspect - and you can look to the history of Russia/China relations for this - that Russia retains a more existential fear of China than anyone else.

Russia always clearly seeks to balance Europe/EU/US/Atlantic against China and others.

Where does Iran fit in all this? If Iran is taken out who benefits? Doesn't Iran being taken out strengthen Russia's hand vis-a-vis China in terms of oil & gas? I'd say it does. Certainly. Without Iranian oil & gas China becomes more dependent on who? RUSSIA!

So I bet Russian thought would tend to say to China. Look, we are not going to put ourselves on the line to defend Iran. But hey, if you want to do that we'll support you doing so, afterall, Iran is of a more of a vital strategic interest to you than us.

We defended Syria, we can't defend anyone and you can't expect us to defend everyone. If you want a country to retain its independence you have to step up to the plate every now and then rather than just relying on the Russian military.

And look - we defended Syria - what did you do in Syria's defence?

Just to finish this comment.

In case you haven't noticed the US has put a date of November 4 on stopping the export/import of Iranian oil. Which is? It is 2 days before the November 6 Mid-Terms...

It's a clear set-up for 2019.

My prediction.

There will be military action against Iran in the first half of 2019.

I suspect March-April-May being the most likely.

At that time you also have Brexit, European Elections (dominated by populists), Ukrainian Presidential Elections, South African Elections, Indian Elections... It's a big few months.

My advice? Buy oil & gas in the second half of this year - it's value is likely to skyrocket in 2019.

What will Iran's response be? I'd say if you are in any of Saudi Gulf Coast, UAE (Dubai & Abu Dhabi), Kuwait or Bahrain - get out before New Year's!!!

Julian , Jul 1, 2018 11:34:55 PM | 31
Re: Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 1, 2018 11:14:41 PM | 27

I'm not judging one way or another on what Putin will necessarily do, but clearly Trump's gambit is to wean Iran off Russian support.

Will it work? Who knows. But Iran clearly has less strategic importance to Russia than Syria.

Let me ask you a question. Do you think Russia prefers Iranian-Qatari oil & gas pipelines through Iraq-Syria-Turkey to Europe or would Russia prefer Saudi-UAE-Qatari oil & gas pipelines to Europe??

Answer: Neither of course.

Bob , Jul 1, 2018 11:53:00 PM | 32
Any effort to understand US foreign policy from actual US interests is a futile exercise in frustration. US foreign policy is driven by two things:

1. The interests of international financiers (heavily Jewish)
2. The Israeli government.

At consideration for actual US interests is secondary if such things considered at all. That should be obvious enough to everyone by now.

The one thing that Russia and/or China could do that would do more to avoid another major power war, is to loudly, clearly and publicly inform the Israelis (the people as well as the government) that any attack upon Russia, China, or their forces by the US or NATO will be treated as a direct attack upon Russia/China by the state of Israel and the Jewish people and these will be utterly destroyed in the first salvo of the Russian/Chinese response.

The second thing that could/should be done, is for Russia to implement a covert campaign of targeted assassinations of Jewish figures who are actively engaged in efforts to undermine Russian interests. This would include people like Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, key players in international finance, etc. No Jew anywhere in the world should feel that they are beyond the reach of Russian retaliation. This is precisely how the Israelis conduct their foreign policy and Russians should not shirk from engaging fire with fire.

Alexander P , Jul 2, 2018 2:09:24 AM | 33
@Julian
I think you underestimate the long term benefit of a stable and prosperous Iran in the greater Eurasian gambit (Infrastructure Node, stability for the region) vs the short term gains Russia may achieve from a destroyed and fractured Iran that is in disarray. Russia doesn't just export energy after all. Exploding oil prices will end up hurting consumer nations, which in turn affects the global economy and by extension oil producers, there is always a delayed feedback loop.

Just because someone competes with you in the energy realm doesn't automatically mean you want that actor weak or destroyed. If that was the case, then why does Russia maintain good relationships with Azerbaijan, a direct competitor to Russian Gas? Similarly Central Asian countries are competitors in the gas market for China, yet Russia would never allow these to be subverted by radical Islamists without acting.

[Jun 28, 2018] Well, Iran sanctions explains why oil prices are up right now.

Jun 28, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 10:19 am

2018-06-26 (Rudaw) When US sanctions were placed on Iran in 2012, the four Asian countries were given a waiver, requiring them to reduce their business with Iran by 20 percent each six months rather than halt trade immediately.

The Asian oil buyers are less likely to receive a similar waiver from the Trump administration Iran may need to resort to a bartering system to continue selling its oil. Under the 2012 US sanctions, India imported $10.5 billion worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth $2.4 billion.

The barter system will be inefficient, as Iran's oil sales are greater than the value of what it imports from these countries. It also cannot use the currencies of these countries for international business transactions.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/business/250620181

Energy News x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 10:29 am
2018-06-26 (Bloomberg) U.S. presses allies to cut Iran oil imports to *zero* by November
* U.S. isn't granting waivers on Iranian oil imports ban
(State Department Official)

added link https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-26/u-s-is-said-to-press-allies-to-end-iran-oil-imports-by-nov-4

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 10:49 am
Well, maybe that explains why oil prices are up right now.
Hightrekker x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 10:59 am
"The global economy looks like the Titanic right now. The iceberg is the incoming oil price spike and the complacent investment community won't even know what hits them. "
-Baby Domer
Guym x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 7:13 am
So, an important question for this board is, could we have reached peak oil production this year? The Permian will increase substantially into 2020. However, that will be partially offset by the Venezuelan drop. Add in other declines, and the drop could easily offset any US production. At some point, OPEC will see that extra production will never meet demand, and not just waste what they have.
Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 7:28 am
It depends totally on political scenarios, not technical and not financial.

There's still a lot of growth potential to offset the declines:
– Permian
– Other US shales to a degree
– Kanada with it's vast heavy oil ressources
– Venezuela
– Russia
– Iraq
– Iran
– SA (nobody knows), at least they can call to their spare capacity
– Kuwait
– UAE
-Brasil

That's 10 locations, some are politically knocked out ( Ven, Iran partly) from growth.

The more important thing for world economy is: How long can they support the consumption growth, additional to the decline of all other countries.

I think peak oil is somewhat more melodramatic: When Ghawar finally dries up, we have reached peak oil. It will dry fast, due to all these horizontal tapping keeping the oil flowing until the last feed of oil column. And replacing these 5 mb/d will require an additional fully developed Permian – something not in sight at the moment.

Energy News x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 2:17 am
Libya's Tripoli-based NOC Says Exports from Benghazi-based NOC in the east are "illegal"

2018-05-26 BENGHAZI, Libya/TUNIS (Reuters) – Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar's forces have handed control of oil ports to a National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in the east, a spokesman said on Monday, a move the internationally recognized NOC in Tripoli dismissed as illegal.
If implemented, the transfer of control would create uncertainty for buyers of Libyan oil who normally go through NOC Tripoli.
In comments later confirmed to Reuters, Ahmed Mismari, spokesman of Haftar's Libya National Army (LNA), said on television that no tanker would be allowed to dock at eastern ports without permission from an NOC entity based in the main eastern city, Benghazi.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-oil/east-libyan-forces-say-oil-ports-handed-to-eastern-based-noc-idUSKBN1JL2DQ
Tripoli-based NOC https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DgkrEMeXUAADLGS.jpg

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 4:22 am
Some kind of summary with some details from Libya (from comments section in HFIR article above – Game Over – Oil Prices Are Going Higher).

Nigeria and Libya are also becoming disruption hotspots. Three of Nigeria's main crude streams (Forcados, Bonny Light and Qua Iboe) are either halted or severely disrupted, but violence in Libya grabbed the recent headlines. Militias led by Ibrahim al Jathran, former head of the local Petroleum Facilities Guard, attacked and briefly seized the 0.35 mb/d Es Sider and 0.22 mb/d Ras Lanuf terminals from Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). Although the LNA are back in control, Libyan oil output has collapsed from 0.95 mb/d to around 0.55-0.60 mb/d because of the fighting and NOC has declared force majeure at the two ports (along with apparently unrelated technical issues undermining production at AGOCO-run fields in the east).
After around 10 days of fighting, the extent of the damage at the two terminals remains unclear. There is currently no information about the status of Es Sider, which exported around 0.30 mb/d in the previous three months. The destruction of two storage tanks at Ras Lanuf, which was exporting around 0.10 mb/d before the clashes, has reduced storage capacity from 0.95 mb to 0.55 mb. Seven tanks at the terminal had already been damaged in previous clashes and the destruction of another two leaves only four tanks capable of operating. Once the fighting is over (and there is a considerable risk of further clashes over the next few weeks), it will take several days to evaluate the status of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. This would be followed by emergency repairs, which could take a week or two, with export capacity recovering only gradually. Consequently, we expect output to remain at 0.55-0.60 mb/d until early/mid-July, even as NOC studies options to bypass Ras Lanuf and possibly divert exports to the Zueitina terminals.

In conclusion: Libya is good for no more than 0.8 Mb/d, but likely less than that in 2018.

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 5:02 am
Regarding the Iran discussion.

The debate seems to be around what effect the risk of secondary sanctions from US government for international companies will have. Some argue that the US allies and their companies will not pick a fight over this with the US right now. In either case, it certainly is not good for the Iranian economy which contracted after the last round of sanctions and boomed when they were lifted afterwards. Also the Iranians want western equipment and competence to develop their oil and gas fields (some of their oilfields are somewhat complicated to develop), and it is not certain Lukoil and russian service companies can be a good enough replacement.

There are some hurdles with switching customers for large oil volumes. Tanker freight and insurance services now done by western companies afraid of sanctions will have to be replaced or the obstacles overcome somehow. But I agree with you that China, while also having a futures market trading in yuan, will look to Iran when shortage arrives. However the perception of shortage has still not arrived in oil markets today. Some reduction of export from Iran is likely both initially and for some time further. Hard to say how much, some argue that it takes 6-12 months to see the full effects of US sanctions. And once sanctions now are in place, even if it was untimely given the supply situation in the oil market, it will not be practical and too confusing as a political move to see them lifted soon (less than 1 year).

[Jun 27, 2018] Iranian condensate will most likely replace US condensate to China as much as possible.

Jun 27, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 06/27/2018 at 4:57 am

From the Bloomberg article: "The U.S. plans to speak with the governments of Turkey, India and China, all of which import Iranian oil, about finding other supplies."

Iranian condensate will most likely replace US condensate to China as much as possible. China is the key to if/when this harsh "embargo" of Iran will ease. They have the strength to stand up against the US and then others will follow suit (e.g. India). A barter system (goods vs. goods trade) or payment in yuan could probably be a good enough way to avoid american banking sanctions. But if China wants to stand up against US at this point is uncertain. If this strangling of Iran is highly successful, it is hard to see the rewards. A high oil price that will be the tipping point for the global economy in the wrong direction or indirectly (hopefully not directly – who needs another war now?) overthrow the Iranian government and thus the creation of new political problems in the country; a repeat of the Iraq experience almost. I almost forgot that there is the nuclear issue there as well, maybe that is also a driver

  1. Boomer II 06/26/2018 at 10:16 pm Reply

[Jun 27, 2018] Unnamed "Senior State Department Official" says the USA "expects all countries to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero or face US sanctions

Jun 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

jayc | Jun 26, 2018 7:25:46 PM | 17

Unnamed "Senior State Department Official" says the USA "expects all countries to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero or face US sanctions."

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/26/politics/us-iran-oil-imports/index.html

"We have a lot of diplomatic muscle memory for urging, cajoling, negotiating with our partners to reduce their investments to zero," the official added.

(This official infers that EU countries will soon capitulate to US demands, but does he believe that, say, India will agree to this? The CNN reporters don't ask.)

[Jun 21, 2018] China's Oil Trade Retaliation Is Iran's Gain by Tom Luongo

Jun 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

China's Oil Trade Retaliation Is Iran's Gain

by Tyler Durden Wed, 06/20/2018 - 23:05 13 SHARES Authored by Tom Luongo,

I've told you that once you start down the Trade War path forever it will dominate your destiny.

Well here we are. Trump slaps big tariffs on aluminum and steel in a bid to leverage Gary Cohn's ICE Wall plan to control the metals and oils futures markets . I'm not sure how much of this stuff I believe but it is clear that the futures price for most strategically important commodities are divorced from the real world.

Alistair Crooke also noted the importance of Trump's 'energy dominance' policy recently , which I suggest strongly you read.

But today's edition of "As the Trade War Churns" is about China and their willingness to shift their energy purchases away from U.S. producers. Irina Slav at Oilprice.com has the good bits.

The latest escalation in the tariff exchange, however, is a little bit different than all the others so far. It's different because it came after Beijing said it intends to slap tariffs on U.S. oil, gas, and coal imports.

China's was a retaliatory move to impose tariffs on US$50 billion worth of U.S. goods, which followed Trump's earlier announcement that another US$50 billion in goods would be subjected to a 25-percent tariff starting July 6.

It's unclear as to what form this will take but there's also this report from the New York Times which talks about the China/U.S. energy trade.

Things could get worse if the United States and China ratchet up their actions [counter-tariffs] . Mr. Trump has already promised more tariffs in response to China's retaliation. China, in turn, is likely to back away from an agreement to buy $70 billion worth of American agricultural and energy products -- a deal that was conditional on the United States lifting its threat of tariffs.

"China's proportionate and targeted tariffs on U.S. imports are meant to send a strong signal that it will not capitulate to U.S. demands," said Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University. "It will be challenging for both sides to find a way to de-escalate these tensions."

But as Ms. Slav points out, China has enjoyed taking advantage of the glut of U.S. oil as shale drillers flood the market with cheap oil. The West Texas Intermediate/Brent Spread has widened out to more than $10 at times.

By slapping counter tariffs on U.S. oil, that would more than overcome the current WTI/Brent spread and send Chinese refiners looking for new markets.

Hey, do you know whose oil is sold at a discount to Brent on a regular basis?

Iran's. That's whose.

And you know what else? Iran is selling tons, literally, of its oil via the new Shanghai petroyuan futures market.

Now, these aren't exact substitutes, because the Shanghai contract is for medium-sour crude and West Texas shale oil is generally light-sweet but the point remains that the incentives would now exist for Chinese buyers to shift their buying away from the U.S. and towards producers offering substitutes at better prices.

This undermines and undercuts Trump's 'energy dominance' plans while also strengthening Iran's ability to withstand new U.S. sanctions by creating more customers for its oil.

Trade wars always escalate. They are no different than any other government policy restricting trade. The market response is to always respond to new incentives. Capital always flows to where it is treated best.

It doesn't matter if its domestic farm subsidies 'protecting' farmers from the business cycle or domestic metals producers getting protection via tariffs.

By raising the price above the market it shifts capital and investment away from those protected industries or producers and towards either innovation or foreign suppliers.

Trump obviously never read anything from Mises, Rothbard or Hayek at Wharton. Because if he did he would have come across the idea that every government intervention requires an ever-greater one to 'fix' the problems created by the first intervention.

The net result is that if there is a market for Iran's oil, which there most certainly is, then humans will find a way to buy it. If Trump tries to raise the price too high then it will have other knock-on effects of a less-efficient oil and gas market which will create worse problems in the future for everyone, especially the very Americans he thinks he's defending.

* * *

Please support the production of independent and alternative political and financial commentary by joining my Patreon and subscribing to the Gold Goats 'n Guns Investment Newsletter for just $12/month.

[May 13, 2018] Possibility of a new war in Middle East the shoot the oil prices to $200 frighten Germany

Notable quotes:
"... Several years ago Putin made a speech at the UN in favor of upholding International Law I thought at the time this "diplomatic statesmanship" was going to be Putin's way of bring Russia back into equal power with the Europeans and the US. Some have wondered and been asking about Putin not being as aggressive as he could be in defending Syria and Iran. Putin's holding off on tough talk/action could be amassing more power in the end. Putin comes off as the voice of sanity..exactly what the Europeans want to hear and see. ..."
May 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , May 12, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT

Several years ago Putin made a speech at the UN in favor of upholding International Law I thought at the time this "diplomatic statesmanship" was going to be Putin's way of bring Russia back into equal power with the Europeans and the US. Some have wondered and been asking about Putin not being as aggressive as he could be in defending Syria and Iran. Putin's holding off on tough talk/action could be amassing more power in the end. Putin comes off as the voice of sanity..exactly what the Europeans want to hear and see.

As Europe turns away from the US they turn to Putin.

If anyone remembers all the Jew rags making fun of "old Europe" during the Iraq war run up and urging that the US break with them as outdated relics no longer needed in the new modern age -- this is what it was all about -- separating the US from its traditional allies who were not as subservient to Israel as the US. So .now we are down to the Jew plan Europe and sanity vr the US Orange Clown and his allies of midget Nazi Israel, Saudi and the UAE.

http://theduran.com/germany-begs-russia-to-pick-up-the-torch-that-us-has-dropped/

Germany begs Russia to pick up the torch that US has dropped

"Germany's Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, who has a history of expressing anti Russian rhetoric relevant to Russia's presence in Syria as well as an alleged cyber attack on the German Foreign Ministry which Maas says that he 'has to assume stemmed from Russia', has turned an about face. He has traveled, for the first time, to Moscow to discuss international diplomacy, the Iran nuclear deal, peace talks on Ukraine, and Syria.

Maas met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, where he encouraged Russia to leverage its influence with Iran to help spur the Middle Eastern state in remaining committed to the nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned earlier in the week.

Germany's Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, who has a history of expressing anti Russian rhetoric relevant to Russia's presence in Syria as well as an alleged cyber attack on the German Foreign Ministry which Maas says that he 'has to assume stemmed from Russia', has turned an about face. He has traveled, for the first time, to Moscow to discuss international diplomacy, the Iran nuclear deal, peace talks on Ukraine, and Syria.

Maas met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, where he encouraged Russia to leverage its influence with Iran to help spur the Middle Eastern state in remaining committed to the nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned earlier in the week.

Maas then declared that Germany was interested in bringing back the peace talks on the Ukraine, together with other European partners. Maas also pointed out that the Syrian conflict can't be settled without Russia, before contributing a wreath to the tomb of the unknown soldier, which is a dedication to Russian soliders who died fighting the Germans in WW2.

Deutsche Welle reports:

Germany's top diplomat Heiko Maas and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov both called for the nuclear deal with Iran to be upheld on Thursday, during Maas' first official visit to Russia. The appeal marks a rare moment of unity between Moscow and Berlin just days after US walked out on the 2015 accord.

In Moscow, Maas urged Russia to influence Tehran and make it stick to the deal, which aims to limit Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. The German foreign minister also said he was seeking details from the US on its plans for future sanctions against Iran
US President Donald Trump has shrugged off pressure from allies to keep the deal in place and called the accord "defective at its core." However, leaders of the UK, France, and Germany all contacted Iranian President Hasan Rouhani in the attempt to salvage the accord.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel called Rouhani on Thursday to reaffirm Germany's commitment to the deal "as long as Iran continues to fulfil its obligations," said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert. Merkel also said she was ready to negotiate about Iran's ballistic missiles and involvement in Syria and Yemen.

Angela Merkel is also set to visit Russia next week.

Visiting Moscow on Thursday, Germany's top diplomat Maas suggested reviving the peace talks between Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia on the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Lavrov responded by saying Russia was "ready to consider" this offer.

Maas also called for "honest dialogue" with Moscow and for Russia to be included in global diplomacy, despite its differences with Berlin. Maas admitted that the conflict in Syria "cannot be solved without Russia."

The German diplomat also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, which is dedicated to the Soviet soldiers killed during World War II.

Also in a bid to get Russia to assume a leadership position relative to preserving the nuclear deal, and by extension, the European economy, Merkel got on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where he mutually voiced his concern over Trump's action, and where Merkel also came forward about the situation in Syria.

TASS reports:

BERLIN, May 11. /TASS/. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier has confirmed that he will visit Moscow at the beginning of the next week, he said in an interview with German radio station Deutschlandfunk released on Friday.

"I will follow my colleague [German Foreign Minister Heiko] Maas, who attended negotiations in Moscow yesterday. I will be there on Monday and Tuesday, and Chancellor [Angela Merkel will visit Sochi -- TASS] during the week," Altmaier said.

continued,,,,,,

[Dec 09, 2017] The great Middle East energy game Winners and losers - Opinion

Dec 09, 2017 | www.jpost.com

Simultaneously, it has managed to develop fairly profitable, albeit at times tense relationships with other major or rising world powers. Those include Russia, China and Turkey. At the same time it is engaging a large number of European countries, South Korea, India, and others in assorted trade agreements. Iran has managed to place itself front and center – not only as a bad actor bent on colonization of the "Shi'a Crescent" and possibly beyond – it has also gained increasing political and economic legitimacy among its former adversaries.

Iran has even managed to get the United States under the Trump administration to wage limited war against ISIS, first in Iraq and Syria and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan, despite conflicts and occasional confrontations between US forces and the terrorist group's own militias. While Iran's various financial deals are to some extent being tracked, what remains noteworthy is the issue of energy control in the region, a factor that fuels the numerous conflicts, or at least finances them.

... ... ...

The US has miscalculated by believing other countries are incapable of pursuing independent interests without its involvement, or by thinking such nations cannot use energy markets effectively to marginalize any state that is not already in an active leadership position. The US should take stock of the way the energy assets are being played by various states. It should either separate the authoritarian regimes which only grow stronger with the greater access and interconnections such valuable assets provide, or by outplaying those states at their own game.

[Nov 22, 2017] An attack on Iran would probably result in the oil supplies through the Persian Gulf being blocked.

Nov 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Tsar Nicholas , November 20, 2017 at 3:07 am GMT

An attack on Iran would probably result in the oil supplies through the Persian Gulf being blocked.

That wouldn't just affect the ability of westerners to drive. Their holidays would be wrecked, industry would go on short time, food supplies would be disrupted. We live in a very complex world with most businesses reliant on just-in-time delivery. This is not 1917 or 1940.

[Oct 17, 2017] Trumps tough talk on Iran could end in a big, blame-evading dodge

Effect of Trump move on energy market remains to be seen... Might well be another step toward fiscal collapse...
Notable quotes:
"... Better refresh. The United States is by definition, an empire. Has been since December 10, 1898. Not all empires have or have had emperors. At least, as an official title. We even still possess a few de facto colonies, Puerto Rico being the most populous. The Philippines were part of the American empire from December 10, 1898 to July 4, 1946. ..."
"... The Philippines' colonial history has been described by one historian as "500 years in a convent, followed by 50 years at Disneyland." ..."
"... This is the result of our long string of wars since Reagan took on Grenada. Then Bush in Panama. And on and on until today. We've chosen to do battle with small weak countries that don't have a hope in hell of winning or even inflicting major harm. ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

-> Ponderbelle , 13 Oct 2017 02:21

Saudis bought 15 billion dollars antirocket system. Its one deal only. Just to get Trump to stop messing around and crash the Persians they also bought Russian system.

, 12 Oct 2017 23:32

"A peculiar pattern of Trumpian behavior is emerging. First, his fragile ego forbids him to ever take responsibility for anything. Ever. Second, because he craves the adulation of his base, he will to shift blame or throw any and all supporters and allies under the bus."

He also has a tendency to want to take revenge for any imagined or real slight that bruise his fragile ego. Not a statesman or leader by any strength of the imagination.

-> ghstwrtrx7 , 12 Oct 2017 22:51

The good news is that ALL empires, throughout history, have fallen. Looking forward to the fall of the American Empire.

-> Fred Fawcett , 12 Oct 2017 22:46

Yes laughable and tragic all at the same time. Even the guy whose nickname actually is "Mad Dog" (James Mattis) has gone on record with some intelligent comments on why the Iran nuclear deal should be kept in place.

I'm not surprised you got so much hate on that comment board. The Neo-Nazis seem to loiter where they know they can get away with crap that isn't monitored properly.

, 12 Oct 2017 20:45

US citizens who believe they're 'victims' of a 'deep state' have no idea how their war-mongering nation is viewed abroad...

-> lefttheleft , 12 Oct 2017 18:25

He's the best shot that the USA becomes truly 3rd world.

-> Rigobertus , 12 Oct 2017 17:25

Trump is the antidote. You may not like it but he's the best shot at pulling the USA from the brink of ruin.

-> Abigailgem , 12 Oct 2017 17:20

America's been piling on the bad karma since Vietnam. It could well cause the world egregious trauma, but no one will shed a tear when the beast is brought low by its episodic-tho-predictable bouts of cluster-fuck. Methinks they've hit the Big One.

And aren't its politicians infinitely grateful for a citizenry so simply and quickly distracted by Hollywood shenanigans (as awful as they are in this instance) whilst a) 3 million of its own have been blown into third world living standards; b) 528 took a bullet from a shooter in the span of less than 10 minutes; and c) Californians are being roasted alive in the latest indication that something's gone screwy in our biosphere? The Oaf and Chief considers Weinstein as nothing more than relief.

Riddle: What's the difference between a President and a leader?

A: There shouldn't be difference, but now there is.

-> GatesOfRome , 12 Oct 2017 16:08

Iran is a danger to the region and the world.

I know enough of Iran to respectfully disagree. In many respects, Iran is similar to China, 30 years ago. Under the right leadership, it has the potential of becoming an economic engine for the South-West Asia, helping economic growth of itself and many of its neighboring countries.

Iran has a well-educated population that does not like the US, mainly because of the past US behaviour both in their country and in the surrounding region. The people there revolted against a US-installed government and used religion as a unifying ideology. Now they should be left alone to sort out the problems that religion has brought to them.

In case of China, Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted to say:

Let China Sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world

As the journal Economist once suggested, it is also better to leave the Persian Lion alone. Indeed, the Bonaparte's quote can be restated to apply to Iran; it could read:

Let the Persian Lion Sleep, for when it wakes, it will never live like a sheep

For those interested in military mind-set, it is worth mentioning here that Afghans and Iranians are in fact the same people and approach war and fighting in the same manner. The difference between the two is the cunning and sophistication of the latter.

, 12 Oct 2017 14:53

Mr. McLean's analysis is largely on the mark. Indeed much of it is supported by Mr. Trump's behavioral pattern, which has been witnessed by the world public during the past 11 months. There is, however, an area where - like many others - Mr. McLean tries to play safe. When he says::

But he promised his loyal base, Fox News and Steve Bannon, he would dump the accord

he is apparently leaving out an important - and probably the most critical - constituency of Mr. Trump. When Mr. McLean says:

He has Bannon and Breitbart howling on his heels, along with most of the rabid rightwing noise machine.

he is getting close; but, then then he shies away from identifying who are the people behind that "rabid rightwing noise machine.".

Many believe that Mr. Trump decisions are influenced by this "rabid rightwing machine" more than anything or anyone else. He has been reported to call many of the machine's "operators" after hours, from the WH as well as his Mar-a-Lago palace, in every opportunity he gets. As examples of the power of this machine, they refer to its ability:

1. To undo the harm of Pope Francis condemnation of candidate Trump, clling him "not being Christian", after his pledge to deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall between US and Mexico. The machine undermined Vatican's moral authority by overnight flooding of the world media with the old story of Pope John Paul II having a close relationship with a Polish women;

2. To pump out billions of dollars into the US futures market on the night of Mr. Trump's election victory to reverse its steep drop of almost 1000 points .

Now the "rabid rightwing machine" wants US decertification of the nuclear treaty with Iran. Mr. Trump is a businessman and no doubt understands how transactional relationships work. He is indebted to this machine, and has to reciprocate its favours in order to receive more of the same in future. Note that he has already registered as a canadidate, to be re-elected the US president for his second term!

-> Durangotang , 12 Oct 2017 11:43

And the US did not attack North Korea?

-> GatesOfRome , 12 Oct 2017 05:23

Iran is a danger to the region and the world.

The facts don't support this assumption. Clearly and without a doubt by far the most dangerous, the most destructive, the most deadly player in the region has been the United States. This fact is indisputable to the sincere.

-> Daniel Berg , 12 Oct 2017 05:15

Better refresh. The United States is by definition, an empire. Has been since December 10, 1898. Not all empires have or have had emperors. At least, as an official title. We even still possess a few de facto colonies, Puerto Rico being the most populous. The Philippines were part of the American empire from December 10, 1898 to July 4, 1946.

The Philippines' colonial history has been described by one historian as "500 years in a convent, followed by 50 years at Disneyland."

, 12 Oct 2017 05:02

Trump makes a big medicine show of cancelling "the worst deal ever" (Man! Trump can go from 0 - Hyperbole in no time flat, eh?) but that's easier said than done. The United States simply cannot arbitrarily walk away from the deal. Not legally. Aside from that Trump no longer enjoys the support of the GOP to cancel the agreement.

Oh! Make no mistake. These very same Republicans were all for walking away from the deal when Obama made it and they didn't control all three branches of government (although I'm not sure who or what controls the executive at the moment). Now that they do, having nothing but years of obstructionism to bring to the table, the GOP, lacking any governing skills whatsoever, is as impotent as ever and tearing itself apart from the inside besides.

I tell ya'. The GOP, already severely weakened by the Koch Brothers'-funded grassroots Tea Party movement, may very well just not survive the cancer of Trump.

-> GatesOfRome , 12 Oct 2017 04:50

Again, not the topic. The question is asked: Is Iran in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action? The answer, of course, is yes. Trump's entire domestic and foreign policy decisions appear to be based entirely on if Obama had anything to do with it, then it has to go. Bad or good. Right or wrong . This is not a viable method of sound government. It is petty, however. Childish and puerile, to say the least.

At any rate, if Trump renegades on this deal as he has on so many since he's been in office, then it will be the United States which will be in noncompliance with the treaty and it will be the reputation of the United States which will suffer yet another blow delivered by none other than our Buffoon-in-Chief.

Besides, Iran is not the only other nation muckraking about in the region. There are other players in the game. I hear rumors of another, more powerful, more destructive, far more deadlier entity stomping about the place, making a mess of just about everything. Been doing it for decades now. Just keeps making matters worse.

-> Fred Fawcett , 11 Oct 2017 22:37

I know it's sexy to blame Rethugs for everything, but American wars against weak countries didn't begin with Reagan. From the halls of Montezuma...

-> phubar , 11 Oct 2017 21:38

North Korea might just decide that it's own best interests would be served by selling Iran a working bomb. With Trump's sanctions interfering with North Korea obtaining oil, Iran might just pay the tab that way. The world could very quickly become a much more dangerous place because of Trump's antics.

-> ID4752094 , 11 Oct 2017 21:32

Israel is probably mentioned because Netanyahu is an active partner in Trump's war on the Iran Deal.

-> zolotoy , 11 Oct 2017 21:25

This is the result of our long string of wars since Reagan took on Grenada. Then Bush in Panama. And on and on until today. We've chosen to do battle with small weak countries that don't have a hope in hell of winning or even inflicting major harm.

With each new painless war the American people have been conditioned to believe that because it hasn't caused personal suffering that war is somehow painless. Now we've worked our way up to North Korea and Iran. Both of them a whole different ball game. War with either or both would likely result in a return of the draft.

Trump's scumbag supporters would quickly be singing a different tune as soon as they found themselves being forced to participate.

-> Stranger1548 , 11 Oct 2017 21:09

Well said.

[Oct 17, 2017] For War Hawks, Iran Deal Dump Is Music to the Ears

As one commenter aptly said: " 'Moron', as Tillerson would say." and as another noted "Don the Neocon.. We can keep the military in the end-stateless, goal-less, sinkhole known as Afghanistan for decades, STILL subsidize the defense of rich EU and Asian countries, fight the latest "Al Qaeda offshoot" everywhere on the African continent but we can't afford universal healthcare like US welfare baby Israel or about every other developed country, or restore power or drinking water in a US territory."
Notable quotes:
"... the question is, who are these people all excited about Iran? Other than politicians who may be working for foreign lobbies? ..."
"... This is pure lawlessness. We are breaking an agreement and by advocating regime change against a govt that has not attacked us or even threatened us in a serious manner are breaking the U.N. charter. ..."
"... Screw Trump. I mean really, screw him. He got my vote because I thought he was going to first crush ISIS and then get us out of the Middle East. Instead he's intensifying nearly every aspect of our Middle East entanglements. ..."
"... Now he's creating a new mess of his own. And this crap he's pulling with Iran is for Saudi Arabia and Israel. America First really? ..."
"... Of all of the Obama-era foreign policy decisions Trump could pull back, he's hell-bent on crushing one of the only good ones. I'd be shocked if he has even an elementary understanding of the agreement. "Moron", as Tillerson would say. ..."
"... "Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore." ..."
"... It appears that Trump's strategy is to insult and ruin Ran's economy to the point where he can get Iran to do something that will allow him to declare war against Iran because they attacked us. ..."
"... And how many countries has Iran invaded in the last 200 years? And how many countries has Israel invaded in the last 80 years? ..."
"... We will really find out who the Swamp creatures are now. Any congressman or Senator who votes for new sanctions against Iran – a country that poses virtually no threat to the United States – exposes himself as a bought-and-paid-for tool of Saudi Arabia and the jihadist fanatics the Saudis support. ..."
"... it's less that Trump wants to undo what Obama did and more that he wants to do what Netanyahu wants. ..."
"... Any notion of American excellence has now been erased. Our country will not soon recover all that Trump has tossed away and as citizens, we cannot absolve ourselves from blame. We have elected the most odious leader in our history and have allowed (mostly) a Republican Party to participate in government without having made a single contribution to the welfare of the American republic. Cotton is not alone in his folly that dismisses all real national interest. Like others, there have been many times I have despaired at the state of affairs in our Country, but this is different. Trump and his vandal allies I believe have inflicted permanent and irreversible damage to our country. Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm One follow up to earlier post: with this action, Trump has proven beyond doubt that the Mullah regime in Iran is a far more trustworthy nation than the United States. Well done Donald ..."
Oct 13, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Fran Macadam , says: October 13, 2017 at 12:48 am

Making war in other people's countries is what an American government captured by globalist financial elites is all about. For elites, such wars, paid for by the deplorable ordinary Americans they loathe, have no downside and carry no risk to them. Lose-lose for the American public is win-win for them, they cannot lose, especially since wars that can't be won will never end, perfect profit streams.
80 Percent Polyester , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:39 am
"Cotton was among the fiercest and loudest opponents of the agreement before it was made, and he has continued to look for ways to sabotage it."

Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore.

He's more like a member of the Netanyahu government who somehow ended up in one of Arkansas's US Senate seats.

Early To Rise , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:58 am
Does anyone here know any real Americans who are pushing for this policy against Iran? My family and friends are nearly all real Americans, and not one of them has any interest in ending the deal with Iran. Most of them wish we would get out of the Middle East altogether.

So the question is, who are these people all excited about Iran? Other than politicians who may be working for foreign lobbies?

Christian Chuba , says: October 13, 2017 at 7:16 am
This is pure lawlessness. We are breaking an agreement and by advocating regime change against a govt that has not attacked us or even threatened us in a serious manner are breaking the U.N. charter.

We are doing this while condemning other countries for not following a 'liberal, rules based world order' (whatever that is, oh, wait, it is following Caesar's decrees). Our Hubris will catch up to us, whether it will be by the Almighty that the Haley's and Cotton's claim to serve or just the law of reciprocity, I don't know. No one is more blind than those corrupted by power.

John Quincy Adams, "But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force . She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."

He was able to see this because we were not yet intoxicated by power.

Everything Must Go , says: October 13, 2017 at 8:01 am
Screw Trump. I mean really, screw him. He got my vote because I thought he was going to first crush ISIS and then get us out of the Middle East. Instead he's intensifying nearly every aspect of our Middle East entanglements.

Now he's creating a new mess of his own. And this crap he's pulling with Iran is for Saudi Arabia and Israel. America First really?

Frederick Martin , says: October 13, 2017 at 9:38 am
Of all of the Obama-era foreign policy decisions Trump could pull back, he's hell-bent on crushing one of the only good ones. I'd be shocked if he has even an elementary understanding of the agreement. "Moron", as Tillerson would say.
Fred Bowman , says: October 13, 2017 at 10:14 am
What seem to be missing here is anybody talking about Israel nuclear capability. That's the "dirty little secret" that nobody talks about. Imho, as long as Iran is in compliance the deal should. Of course Trump and the Hawks in Congress are going to do everything to scuttle it and bring about a war with Iran which will end up being a World War and will necessitate the US returning to a military draft to fight this war. It will be a sad way to "wake up" America to what is being done militarily in their name. But perhaps when they see their little "Johnny and Jill" marched off to war, they'll see what has been done in these endless, unwinnable wars in the Middle East.
AR complaint , says: October 13, 2017 at 10:31 am
[Tom Cotton gets] "Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified."

He got a $700,000 check from a single Israel donor in 2014. You think anybody in Arkansas not named "Walton" can match that? No sir. Tom Cotton does what Israel tells him to do. Scuttle the Iran deal? No problem.

It's time that my fellow Arkansans did for Tom Cotton what those upstanding Virginians did for Eric Cantor back in 2014, and for the same reason: we want our government back from corrupt politicians working for foreign interests.

SDS , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:53 am
I second EVERYTHING said above by all –
Steve Waclo , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:53 am
" the president made clear over the summer, he didn't "believe" Iran was in compliance and would not certify again."

Wait, what?! What does Trump know that the IAEA has been unable to learn and at the risk of compromising intelligence sources, why has he not shared that knowledge? As with many of the man's "beliefs", such attitudes do not make issues remotely true. We don't need to stir the Iran pot, for goodness sake. Has not this man kicked enough hornets nests around the world?

Stephen J. , says: October 13, 2017 at 11:58 am
I believe the "War Hawks"are leading Trump into another war. Therefore, I asked on: February 4, 2017 Will There Be War With Iran?
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/02/will-there-be-war-with-iran.html
Steve in Ohio , says: October 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm
"Cotton is one of the biggest Israel money guys in the Senate, if not the biggest. Really whopping contributions – "the Swamp" personified. In return for Israel money he has tirelessly pushed the core Israeli policy of hostility to Iran, so much so that it hardly makes sense to think of him as an American senator anymore."

Cotton is wrong on this issue, but he's hardly a Swamp politico. He understands the dangers of mass immigration and looks likely to replace Jeff Sessions as the leading immigration hawk in the Senate. Unfortunately, I suspect he has presidential ambitions and being pro Israel is a must in GOP primaries.

Rand Paul, on the other hand, like his dad, is good on foreign policy, but doesn't get the immigration issue. People like me who want a non interventionist FP and low immigration seldom have candidates that believe in both to support. I had high hopes for Trump, but he seems to have too many generals around him telling him the wrong things.

the times they are a'changing , says: October 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm
"Cotton is wrong on this issue, but he's hardly a Swamp politico. He understands the dangers of mass immigration and looks likely to replace Jeff Sessions as the leading immigration hawk in the Senate. Unfortunately, I suspect he has presidential ambitions and being pro Israel is a must in GOP primaries. "

No it's not. It was a litmus test for the old neocon Establishment GOP, and it's gone the way of Eric Cantor. You have to go to New York, DC, or some left coastal city to find anyone who gives a goddamn about it, and those places don't vote Republican anyway.

Politicians who take the Israel dollar care about it a lot, naturally. And Cotton's near the top of the list.

jk , says: October 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm
Don the Neocon.. We can keep the military in the end-stateless, goal-less, sinkhole known as Afghanistan for decades, STILL subsidize the defense of rich EU and Asian countries, fight the latest "Al qaeda offshoot" everywhere on the African continent but we can't afford universal healthcare like US welfare baby Israel or about every other developed country, or restore power or drinking water in a US territory.

"NO KIN IN THE GAME": STUDY FINDS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WITHOUT DRAFT-AGE SONS WERE MORE HAWKISH"

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/11/congress-war-hawkish-policies-study/

That explains "lifetime bachelor" Graham's behavior!

Kent , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm
To our neocon friends:

1. Even though Iran and Iraq are 4 letter words and share the first 3, they are very, very different animals. Iran is an industrial state of 85 million capable of designing and building effective rockets. It is highly unlikely the US can defeat Iran in a conventional war on its own turf.

2. Even if we did defeat them, there is nobody there yearning for American style pseudo-democracy. While they are not perfectly happy with their own government, they'll be dammed if they're going to accept one from us. So you'd have to put millions of American troops in harms way against the civilian population essentially forever.

And a note on the President. I don't believe he knows or cares a thing about Iran or their capabilities. What he does know, after watching Fox News for the last 8 years is: Obama bad. So the only reason, I'm certain, that Trump cares about this is because it was an Obama initiative.

Robert Charron , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:34 pm
It appears that Trump's strategy is to insult and ruin Ran's economy to the point where he can get Iran to do something that will allow him to declare war against Iran because they attacked us.

And how many countries has Iran invaded in the last 200 years? And how many countries has Israel invaded in the last 80 years?

As I recall we made a regime change in the Iranian government when we had the CIA along with the English intelligence by replacing the elected Prime Minister of Iran with the despotic, tyrannical Shah.

As an American, Trump has desecrated our flag with his flat out lies, not the NFL athletes who simps knelt during the National Anthem.

simon94022 , says: October 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm
We will really find out who the Swamp creatures are now. Any congressman or Senator who votes for new sanctions against Iran – a country that poses virtually no threat to the United States – exposes himself as a bought-and-paid-for tool of Saudi Arabia and the jihadist fanatics the Saudis support.

Let them be counted!

Ollie , says: October 13, 2017 at 4:26 pm
No president in history has been more feckless and reckless than Trump. The danger demands that the 25th amendment be asserted.
Why Does The Heathen Rage? , says: October 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm
"So the only reason, I'm certain, that Trump cares about this is because it was an Obama initiative."

I've heard this before, but if it were true than why is Trump helping the Saudis wreck and starve Yemen? That was an Obama initiative too. That's why I now think that it's not really the Obama connection so much as the Netanyahu connection that drives Trump. In other words, it's less that Trump wants to undo what Obama did and more that he wants to do what Netanyahu wants.

Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:05 pm
Any notion of American excellence has now been erased. Our country will not soon recover all that Trump has tossed away and as citizens, we cannot absolve ourselves from blame. We have elected the most odious leader in our history and have allowed (mostly) a Republican Party to participate in government without having made a single contribution to the welfare of the American republic.

Cotton is not alone in his folly that dismisses all real national interest. Like others, there have been many times I have despaired at the state of affairs in our Country, but this is different. Trump and his vandal allies I believe have inflicted permanent and irreversible damage to our country.

Joe F , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm
One follow up to earlier post: with this action, Trump has proven beyond doubt that the Mullah regime in Iran is a far more trustworthy nation than the United States. Well done Donald
Liam , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm
Regarding the 25th amendment option: how far down the line of succession must one go to find someone who has solid, bona fide cred to stop this inanity?
picture window , says: October 13, 2017 at 5:45 pm
The Economist today opines that Xi Jinping has more clout than Donald Trump.

And I read on TAC that Trump is p***ing away our wealth and power doing favors for Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, like scuttling the Iran deal and picking fights with the Iranian government. And I conclude that the reason that the Economist may be right about Xi Jinping is because Trump is doing what I read about in TAC, wasting our time, blood, money, and focus on appeasing a bunch of goddamn foreigners in the form of the Israel and Saudi lobbies.

Pretty damn grim.

[Oct 17, 2017] Rerry on attempt to destuct Iran economy by blocking purchases of oil from China and India

Oct 16, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | Oct 15, 2017 5:22:59 PM | 12

In the final days of the Iran Deal negotiations, August 2015, I completely missed the interview Kerry did with Reuters, https://2009-2017.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/08/245935.htm that Mercouris parses for his detailed article proving the Outlaw US Empire's Imperial Policy is now "irrational"--utterly I'd say since for me it's been irrational for decades when weighing the actual interests of the United States's populous. The key excerpt:

"But if everybody thinks, 'Oh, no, we're just tough; the United States of America, we have our secondary sanctions; we can force people to do what we want.' I actually heard that argument on television this morning. I've heard it from a number of the organisations that are working that are opposed to this agreement. They're spreading the word, 'America is strong enough, our banks are tough enough; we can just bring the hammer down and force our friends to do what we want them to.'

"Well, look – a lot of business people in this room. Are you kidding me? The United States is going to start sanctioning our allies and their banks and their businesses because we walked away from a deal and we're going to force them to do what we want them to do even though they agreed to the deal we came to? Are you kidding ?

"That is a recipe quickly, my friends, for them to walk away from Ukraine, where they are already very dicey and ready to say, 'Well, we've done our bit.' They were ready in many cases to say, 'Well, we're the ones paying the price for your sanctions.' We – it was Obama who went out and actually put together a sanctions regime that had an impact. By – I went to China. We persuaded China, 'Don't buy more oil.' We persuaded India and other countries to step back.

"Can you imagine trying to sanction them after persuading them to put in phased sanctions to bring Iran to the negotiating table, and when they have not only come to the table but they made a deal, we turn around and nix the deal and then tell them you're going to have to obey our rules on the sanctions anyway?

"That is a recipe very quickly, my friends, businesspeople here, for the American dollar to cease to be the reserve currency of the world – which is already bubbling out there .." (Bold italics in original.)

[Oct 17, 2017] Trump Decertifies Iran Deal, Vows New Sanctions by Jason Ditz

The immediate costs of decertification for the USl include the loss of the trust of allies, increased tensions with Iran, and much greater skepticism from all other governments. It also create additional difficulties the next time America wants to negotiate a major international agreement as some countries will view the USA as a rogue nation which is unable to keep its word. If decertification leads to the U.S. breaching its obligations under the nuclear deal, as seems likely, that the costs will increase even more, and so will the chances of war with Iran.
It might well be that Trump made a step increasing the probability of his removal from the current position by cabinet members.
Looks like Trump focus on appeasing a bunch of foreigners in the form of the Israel and Saudi lobbies.
Pretty damn grim.
Oct 13, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

President Trump started his long-anticipated anti-Iran speech by complaining about the 1979 hostage situation. What followed was an increasingly fantastical and absurd accounting of Iran's history, before finally announcing he is decertifying the nuclear deal for "violations," and announcing new sanctions.

The allegations against Iran went from things that happened a generation ago to treating things like the specious "Iranian plot" to attack a DC restaurant as not only the government's fault, but absolute established fact. Beyond that, he blamed Iran for the ISIS wars in Iraq and Syria, repeatedly accused them of supporting al-Qaeda, and claimed Iran was supporting the 9/11 attackers.

The allegations were so far-fetched by the end, that even President Trump appeared cognizant that many won't be taken seriously. Later in his speech, he insisted that the claims were "factual."

When addressing "violations" of the P5+1 nuclear deal, Trump similarly played fast and loose with the facts, citing heavy water claims that are really more the international community's violation than Iran's (Iran was guaranteed an international market for the water, but after Congress got mad the US has refused to buy any more, meaning Iran's totally non-dangerous stock grew), and accusing them of "intimidating" inspectors, insinuating that was the reason there aren't investigations at Iranian military sites.

In reality, Iranian military sites are only subject to investigation in the case of a substantiated suspicion of nuclear activities, and there simply are none. The IAEA has in recent days clarified multiple times that they don't need or want to visit any military sites right now. The only allegations about the sites are from the Mujahedin-e Khalq, which has been the source of repeated false accusations in the past.

And while this was supposed to be a speech about the nuclear deal, Trump closed it off with comments that very much sound like his goal is regime change, saying Iran's people want to be able to interact with their neighbors (despite Iran being on very good terms with most of its neighbors already), and suggesting that whatever he's going to do will lead to "peace and stability" across the Middle East.

[Oct 14, 2017] Trump Is Signaling an Unprecedented Right Turn on Foreign Policy by John Feffer

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... By handing off any real decision to Congress, [Trump] can avoid having to make a hard decision himself. And by picking a fight with Corker, he has a scapegoat if his supporters grow frustrated with a lack of action in Congress. It seems plausible that Trump's allies are simply being prepared for another legislative failure. ..."
Oct 14, 2017 | fpif.org

For Trump's critics, including virtually all Iran policy experts at the moment, this attempt at scuttling the world's most sophisticated arms control agreement sends absolutely the wrong signal to Iran. Trump is essentially saying, "It doesn't really matter whether you have adhered to the letter of the agreement, we're still going to break our commitment because, honestly, we just don't like you. And by the way, you can't count on the United States to keep its word in the future."

Trump is sending an even more damaging message to the rest of the world: "We as a country suffer from mood swings so severe and delusions so enduring that we can no longer be a responsible member of the international community."

After deep-sixing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, the Trump administration is making good on this one campaign promise even as all the others stall in Congress or the courts. Trump will make America First even if it means going against obvious American national interests, even those defined by the Chamber of Commerce.

This is not the first time that other countries have witnessed the political instability of the United States. But in the past, some underlying continuity provided a measure of reassurance to other countries. Voters might choose vanilla or chocolate, but the world still expects in the end to get some variety of ice cream.

What makes the Trump era different is the lack of that underlying continuity.

... ... ...

It's not just the North Koreans. The democratic world, for instance, found the transition to the George W. Bush years particularly bewildering. Even before the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration announced that it wouldn't implement the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. After the attacks, the administration broke with international law by embarking on a "preventive" war, violating the Geneva Conventions on treatment of captured combatants, and engaging in torture. The administration also backed away from the Rome statute establishing the International Criminal Court in May 2002 and withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Russia in June 2002. All of these actions profoundly troubled America's allies.

... ... ...

In other words, even with its sharp turn toward unilateralism, the Bush administration held to a bipartisan consensus in favor of multilateral initiatives that benefit the United States. In some ways Bush offered only a variation on the Clinton theme of "a la carte multilateralism" in which the United States picks and chooses the international structures with which it wants to cooperate.

This kind of Bush-style unilateralism wrapped in a-la-carte multilateralism has returned to the White House. It's represented by most of the top administration officials involved in foreign affairs: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Pentagon chief James Mattis, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. These are the so-called adults in the room .

But Trump is something different. And that's what has thrown Republicans like Bob Corker (R-TN) into a tizzy.

... ... ...

Bob Corker is not a moderate Republican. He has an 80 percent ranking from the American Conservative Union for 2016 (by comparison, Susan Collins of Maine clocks in at 44 percent). He's no softie on Iran, either. Last year, he continued to try to pile on additional sanctions against Iran. Ultimately, he had to content himself with an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act for another 10 years. During the presidential campaign, Corker advised Donald Trump on foreign policy and was even in the running for secretary of state.

Corker is cut from the same cloth as Rex Tillerson. They're conservative Republicans who believe in "America First." But they're also committed to preserving a measure of professionalism, if nothing else, when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. They want to preserve U.S. alliances. They want to advance the interests of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

They're not isolationists, and they're not exactly internationalists either. They occupy the right wing of the underlying foreign policy consensus that encompasses the think tanks, lobby shops, and mainstream media in DC. They play ball whether it's a Democrat or a Republican in the White House and whichever party controls Congress. They are part of the continuity in American foreign policy that transcends the elections.

So, when Bob Corker takes aim at Donald Trump, it represents a serious breach not just within the Republican Party but within the foreign policy establishment. Over the weekend, Corker charged that Trump was making threats toward other countries that could send the United States reeling toward "World War III." Later, Corker tweeted in response to Trump, "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning." Having decided not to run for re-election, Corker is now free to speak truth to power.

... ... ...

So, why pick a fight with Corker just when the president will need him most on the congressional battle over any new Iran sanctions? Writes Adam Taylor in The Washington Post :

By handing off any real decision to Congress, [Trump] can avoid having to make a hard decision himself. And by picking a fight with Corker, he has a scapegoat if his supporters grow frustrated with a lack of action in Congress. It seems plausible that Trump's allies are simply being prepared for another legislative failure.

In other words, it's all about the war that Trump and his still-loyal lieutenant Steve Bannon, assisted by UN ambassador Nikki Haley, have declared on the "deep state." They want to dismantle the foreign policy establishment that has presided over America's engagement in the world. A progressive might find much to rejoice in this attack, given that America's engagement with the world has often been through war and corporate penetration. But the establishment is more than that, and Trump/Bannon also want to unravel everything of diplomatic and humanitarian value as well.

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus and the author of the dystopian novel Splinterlands .

[Oct 13, 2017] Trump threatens to rip up Iran nuclear deal unless US and allies fix 'serious flaws'

If Washington takes action without consulting its allies, the alliances could fray.
Oct 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Trump says he will not recertify deal but stops short of pulling out entirely President says US participation 'can be cancelled by me at any time'

... ... ...

For European diplomats seeking to salvage the JCPOA, the days leading up to Trump's long-awaited speech were a roller-coaster. Initially fearful that Trump could immediately trigger a possible collapse of the deal, the Europeans were buoyed when they were briefed that Trump would not call for the reimposition of sanctions by Congress .

However, in the wake of the president's speech on Friday, the JCPOA's survival looked tenuous.

In the speech, Trump declared: "I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal's many serious flaws so the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons."

He noted that congressional leaders were already drafting amendments to legislation that would include restrictions on ballistic missiles and make the curbs on Iran's nuclear programme under the 2015 deal permanent, and to reimpose sanctions instantly if those restrictions were breached.

However, any such changes would need 60 votes in the US Senate to pass, and Democrats are high unlikely to give them their backing. Even if they did pass into law, the restrictions would represent a unilateral effort to change the accord that would not be acceptable to the other national signatories.

Hours earlier, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson had acknowledged that it was very unlikely that the JCPOA agreement could be change, but suggested that the issue of Iran's ballistic missile programme and the time limits on some of the nuclear constraints in the deal, could be dealt with in a separate agreement that could exist alongside the JCPOA.

[Dec 11, 2016] Iran's total crude oil and condensates sales likely reached around 2.8 million barrels per day in September

Dec 11, 2016 | peakoilbarrel.com
Watcher says: 12/08/2016 at 10:19 am
Iran exported condensate around the sanctions. This was called oil. Probably still do.
AlexS says: 12/08/2016 at 10:46 am
"Iran's total crude oil and condensates sales likely reached around 2.8 million barrels per day in September, two sources with knowledge of the matter said, nearly matching a 2011 peak in shipments before sanctions were imposed on the OPEC producer.

Iran sold 600,000 bpd of condensates for September, including about 100,000 bpd shipped from storage, to meet robust demand in Asia, the two sources said. September crude exports increased slightly from the previous month to about 2.2 million bpd, they said."

http://financialtribune.com/articles/energy/51005/condensates-drive-iran-oil-export-pre-sanctions-high

"Iran's condensate production has exceeded 610,000 b/d this year, with 561,000 b/d of this - or around 90% - coming from the 16 operating phases at the giant offshore South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, Akbary said.

The latest additions to the project were phases 17, 18 and 19, which came into operation this year, Akbary said.

In addition, eight new phases are currently being installed at the field. Phases 20 and 21 will become operational in 2017, Akbary said, while phases 13 and 22-24 are expected to begin in 2018. Iran hopes the entire development will be completed in 2021.

By then, South Pars condensate production will exceed 1 million b/d.

Smaller offshore fields under development could add another 50,000 b/d, with a further 55,000 b/d on top of this should additional projects be approved.
Onshore fields could add a further 115,000 b/d, taking total capacity to more than 1.2 million b/d.

Iran's domestic consumption currently stands at around 260,000 b/d, leaving a surplus of more than 350,000 b/d this year. But consumption is forecast to rise to more than 700,000 b/d by 2021 with the completion of new condensate splitters, such as the 360,000 b/d Persian Gulf Star.
as a result, Iran's condensate exports are expected to drop to around 250,000 b/d in 2021."
http://www.platts.com/latest-news/natural-gas/dubai/major-investment-needed-to-avoid-output-fall-26601277

[Nov 19, 2016] Is Trump a Death Sentence for the Iran Deal

Notable quotes:
"... Another tactic is to discourage international companies from doing business with Iran, an effort coordinated by the Iran Project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a premier anti-JCPOA lobbying center supported by Sheldon Adelson, a prominent donor to the Republicans and Trump. For instance, the FDD took a lead in denouncing the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for easing controls on dollar transactions between Iran and foreign banks and companies. ..."
"... With so much at stake, Iranians followed the American election with great interest. The Hezb-e Etedal va Toseh (Moderation and Development Party) of President Hassan Rouhani and Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has the most to lose from the Trump presidency. ..."
"... Rouhani came to power in 2013 with a promise to fix the Iranian economy broken by years of mismanagement and sanctions. He managed to push through the JCPOA with assurances that the economic benefits would outweigh the cost of giving up the nuclear project-so much so that the Moderation and Development Party gained a majority in the 2016 parliamentary election. ..."
"... Even a cursory perusal of the Rouhani-affiliated media, such as Iran, Etemad and Arman newspapers, among others, indicates more than a passing level of anxiety about his chances in the wake of Trump's election. ..."
"... Rouhani's normalization plan, more than the JCPOA, puts the moderates on a collision course with the Revolutionary Guards and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The former are incensed about Rouhani's new banking regulations, while the latter opposes the type of broad opening to the world that the moderates are pushing. The supreme leader is known to worry that liberalization and Westernization would further undermine the corroding legitimacy of the theocratic state. Not surprisingly, hard-liners have reacted to Trump's victory with glee. Depicting Trump's election as "a victory of the insane over the liar," Kayhan, representing the Supreme Leader, called Trump "a shredder of the JCPOA, an agreement which had zero benefit for Iran." Javan, a mouthpiece for the Revolutionary Guards, wrote that Trump is better for Iran because he would undermine the credibility of the moderates. ..."
"... The hotly disputed ballistic-missile tests conducted by the Revolutionary Guards in the past year would also come under a review by the new administration; Congress is already crafting legislation that would further sanction implicated countries, companies and individuals. Even small infringements-like the recent incident in which the IAEA reported Iran exceeding the amount of heavy water allowed under the deal-can trigger more measures. ..."
"... Under Obama, such disputes were resolved by a special team of State Department and National Security Council officials, working with the IAEA. Whether the Trump administration would retain the team is doubtful, especially as such a move would be opposed by Bolton or other hard-liners, should they join the administration. Bolton, who accused the IAEA of covering up for Iran, would be most likely press for a more vigilant oversight of Iran's compliance, creating additional friction. This, in turn, can trigger potentially damaging developments. Under the JCPOA terms, Iran is not due additional sanction relief until 2023, but the president is required to sign periodical waivers on sanctions that are on the books if Iran is judged to be in compliance. By refusing to issue the waivers, the Trump administration would essentially abrogate American participation in the accord. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | nationalinterest.org

Overlooked in the speculations about Trump's future decisions is the dominant role that Congress would play in shaping American policy toward the JCPOA. In 2015, in conjunction with the government of Israel and the Israel lobby in Washington, congressional Republicans mounted an unprecedented but ultimately an unsuccessful campaign to derail the deal. Still, the lobby and its congressional patrons have not abandoned their effort to limit the economic benefits of the deal to Iran. One effective tool is new sanctions-generating legislation. Lawmakers from the House Republican Israel Caucus introduced several bills which would, among others provisions, extend the Iran Sanctions Act due to expire in December 2016, block the sale of eighty Boeing planes to Iran and prohibit the Export-Import Bank from financing business with Iran. Unlike President Obama, President-elect Trump is not expected to veto the anti-Iran legislation, setting a relatively low bar for its passage.

... ... ...

Another tactic is to discourage international companies from doing business with Iran, an effort coordinated by the Iran Project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a premier anti-JCPOA lobbying center supported by Sheldon Adelson, a prominent donor to the Republicans and Trump. For instance, the FDD took a lead in denouncing the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for easing controls on dollar transactions between Iran and foreign banks and companies.

After initially banning all dollar-denominated transactions, OFAC reversed itself authorizing such dealings provided they are not processed by the American financial system. In yet another effort to spur international business with Iran, OFAC declared that foreign companies could transact business with non-sanctioned Iranian companies even if a sanctioned entity held a minority share of its assets. The Treasury also relaxed the requirement that foreign companies contracting with Iranian counterparts do automatic due intelligence. Since the Revolutionary Guards have operated numerous ventures with legitimate entities, the FDD decried this step as "green-lighting" business with the Guards.

... ... ...

With so much at stake, Iranians followed the American election with great interest. The Hezb-e Etedal va Toseh (Moderation and Development Party) of President Hassan Rouhani and Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has the most to lose from the Trump presidency.

Rouhani came to power in 2013 with a promise to fix the Iranian economy broken by years of mismanagement and sanctions. He managed to push through the JCPOA with assurances that the economic benefits would outweigh the cost of giving up the nuclear project-so much so that the Moderation and Development Party gained a majority in the 2016 parliamentary election. There is little doubt that a serious reduction of the economic benefits accruing from the deal would hurt Rouhani's chances in the 2017 presidential election. Even a cursory perusal of the Rouhani-affiliated media, such as Iran, Etemad and Arman newspapers, among others, indicates more than a passing level of anxiety about his chances in the wake of Trump's election.

... ... ...

Under Obama, such disputes were resolved by a special team of State Department and National Security Council officials, working with the IAEA. Whether the Trump administration would retain the team is doubtful, especially as such a move would be opposed by Bolton or other hard-liners, should they join the administration. Bolton, who accused the IAEA of covering up for Iran, would be most likely press for a more vigilant oversight of Iran's compliance, creating additional friction. This, in turn, can trigger potentially damaging developments. Under the JCPOA terms, Iran is not due additional sanction relief until 2023, but the president is required to sign periodical waivers on sanctions that are on the books if Iran is judged to be in compliance. By refusing to issue the waivers, the Trump administration would essentially abrogate American participation in the accord.

Even without a formal abrogation, an aggressive American policy would make it hard for Rouhani to protect all the aspects of JCPOA-mandated compliance. Hard-liners may be encouraged by the fact that the EU, Russia and China are not likely to agree on snapping back sanctions, because they would hold the Trump administration responsible for disrupting flourishing trade with Tehran. It is virtually impossible to predict whether Iran, under a hard-line leadership, would resume its nuclear project. It is equally difficult to foresee whether an Obama-type coalition behind the JCPOA could be recreated in the future, should the need arise.

A Trump administration could let Tehran's hard-liners sabotage the JCPOA.
Farhad Rezaei

November 16, 2016

Rouhani's normalization plan, more than the JCPOA, puts the moderates on a collision course with the Revolutionary Guards and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The former are incensed about Rouhani's new banking regulations, while the latter opposes the type of broad opening to the world that the moderates are pushing. The supreme leader is known to worry that liberalization and Westernization would further undermine the corroding legitimacy of the theocratic state. Not surprisingly, hard-liners have reacted to Trump's victory with glee. Depicting Trump's election as "a victory of the insane over the liar," Kayhan, representing the Supreme Leader, called Trump "a shredder of the JCPOA, an agreement which had zero benefit for Iran." Javan, a mouthpiece for the Revolutionary Guards, wrote that Trump is better for Iran because he would undermine the credibility of the moderates.

... ... ...

The hotly disputed ballistic-missile tests conducted by the Revolutionary Guards in the past year would also come under a review by the new administration; Congress is already crafting legislation that would further sanction implicated countries, companies and individuals. Even small infringements-like the recent incident in which the IAEA reported Iran exceeding the amount of heavy water allowed under the deal-can trigger more measures.

Under Obama, such disputes were resolved by a special team of State Department and National Security Council officials, working with the IAEA. Whether the Trump administration would retain the team is doubtful, especially as such a move would be opposed by Bolton or other hard-liners, should they join the administration. Bolton, who accused the IAEA of covering up for Iran, would be most likely press for a more vigilant oversight of Iran's compliance, creating additional friction. This, in turn, can trigger potentially damaging developments. Under the JCPOA terms, Iran is not due additional sanction relief until 2023, but the president is required to sign periodical waivers on sanctions that are on the books if Iran is judged to be in compliance. By refusing to issue the waivers, the Trump administration would essentially abrogate American participation in the accord.

Even without a formal abrogation, an aggressive American policy would make it hard for Rouhani to protect all the aspects of JCPOA-mandated compliance. Hard-liners may be encouraged by the fact that the EU, Russia and China are not likely to agree on snapping back sanctions, because they would hold the Trump administration responsible for disrupting flourishing trade with Tehran. It is virtually impossible to predict whether Iran, under a hard-line leadership, would resume its nuclear project. It is equally difficult to foresee whether an Obama-type coalition behind the JCPOA could be recreated in the future, should the need arise.

Dr. Farhad Rezaei is a research fellow at Middle East Institute, Sakarya University, Turkey. He is the author of the forthcoming Iran's Nuclear Program: A Study in Nuclear Proliferation and Rollback (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

[Nov 16, 2016] Iran acts as a spoiler of OPEC effects to limit oil production

Nov 16, 2016 | peakoilbarrel.com
AlexS 11/15/2016 at 4:59 pm
Iran opens three new oilfields as it boosts output

Nov 13, 2016
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-oil-idUSKBN1380FJ

Iran opened three oilfields with a total production of more than 220,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Sunday, as the country ramps up its production after the lifting of sanctions.
President Hassan Rouhani officially launched the first phases of the Yadavaran and North Azadegan fields as well as the North Yaran field, which are shared with neighboring Iraq, the Iranian oil ministry's news agency SHANA reported.
Yadavaran will have a production of up to 115,000 bpd in its first phase and North Azadegan's output is 75,000 bpd, SHANA said.
North Yaran will initially produce 30,000 bpd, the news agency reported last week.

[Aug 25, 2016] Iran production will increase, but domestic consumption will also increase rapidly

Notable quotes:
"... My personal prejudice is that with the removal of sanctions that much of Iran's production increase eventually will be gobbled up by domestic use – their population seems to be too large for it to be otherwise. ..."
Aug 25, 2016 | peakoilbarrel.com
clueless , 08/22/2016 at 2:28 pm
Nick , "KSA, for instance, is already using more per capita than almost anyone."

Is that really true? Does that include all the amounts that run through its refineries and chemical plants for export? I casually observe that Iran, with many more people, uses much less. Iran has no substantial refineries, etc. But, they appear to have much more military/industrial capability.

Maybe someone here knows of a reference that discusses the uses of oil by KSA viz-a-viz the uses by Iran. My personal prejudice is that with the removal of sanctions that much of Iran's production increase eventually will be gobbled up by domestic use – their population seems to be too large for it to be otherwise.

Nick G , 08/23/2016 at 10:42 am
Does that include all the amounts that run through its refineries and chemical plants for export?

It just includes domestic consumption. Iran prices gasoline somewhere near it's market price, while KSA greatly underprices it for domestic consumers. Iran uses a lot of CNG for personal transportation, I believe.

KSA uses oil for electrical generation, which is ridiculous – it's far more expensive. But, that's the political power of legacy industries…

[Aug 12, 2016] It sounds like Iran might have started to sell some of its condensates stockpile

peakoilbarrel.com
Chart Monkey , 08/09/2016 at 3:48 am
Iran oil news…

Iran July crude output 3.63 mill b/d, flat from June, according to PlattsOil OPEC survey. 1st time this year no month-on-month increase
Last month: Iran oil output 3.66 mln bpd in June, up 50,000 bpd on May and up 750,000 bpd since sanctions were lifted.
Iran says, oil exports over 2.5 million bpd, near pre sanctions level
Iran: VP Jahangiri on Sunday: IPCs soon to be signed. $220 billion worth of projects are ready for investment in the oil sector.

George Kaplan , 08/09/2016 at 4:28 am
Iran are just finalising the petroleum contract details and will start engaging foreign companies for JVs, although the coming Presidential elections might mean they have to start all over again. I can't see there is that much difference now to what was happening before the sanctions, but the important point will be how much per barrel the outside companies can negotiate.

The oil is mostly in mature, carbonate reservoirs; often originally developed without pressure support but now with gas and some water injection. I think they are only getting around 20 to 25% recovery. They are looking for more of the same to support increased production but also EOR (e.g. maybe miscible gas?) to increase recovery. Gas injection is not cheap – the gas has to be bought (might be 10 to 15% of the oil price if natural gas is used – even if you get it back during end of life blow down it doesn't help current NPV much), and the compressors, treatment plants and pipelines needed are capitally and operationally intensive, and take some time to design and install. So Iran will be asking the foreign majors to take on even more debt and risk to increase production some years in the future, based on probably flat rate per barrel payments. It will be interesting to see how the negotiations turn out (e.g. what price per barrel the companies are looking for, their appetite to take all the debt burden and how much they get to know about the reservoirs), especially as the similar Iraq efforts may be looking a bit disappointing to some at the moment.

Chart Monkey , 08/10/2016 at 8:08 am
It sounds like Iran might have started to sell some of its condensates stockpile…

ThomsonReutersEnergy – Iran oil exports mixture shifts as condensates represent more than 20%, from 8% in Jan.

George Kaplan , 08/10/2016 at 12:34 pm
With South Pars still ramping up they should be around 18 to 20% condensate in their overall production mix, so maybe they took condensate out of the export's while their were sanctions. Alternatively they have a strong petrochemical industry and use LPG for domestic car fuel as well so maybe the export mix is different.
AlexS , 08/11/2016 at 10:37 am
Iran's refinery expansion program includes construction of five new refineries and expansion of existing plants.
At least three of the new processing plants should accommodate the country's rising condensate supplies:

• Already under construction in Bandar Abbas, the Persian Gulf Star Refinery, due for startup in 2017, will have capacity to process 360,000 b/d of condensate from South Pars field

• Also under construction is 480,000-b/d gas condensate refinery in Siraf, which should process stabilized gas condensate feedstock from different phases of South Pars.

• 120,000-b/d Pars condensate refinery in Shiraz, scheduled for startup in 2025.

[Apr 25, 2016] The Iranians are now saying that their oil production will reach 4 million bbl per day by June of this year

Notable quotes:
"... Lifting of the sanctions has given a major lift to Iran's economy. Last week the IMF reported that it expects Tehran's economy to grow by 4 percent this year. Iran is making an effort to collect the oil revenues from those countries that continued to take Iranian oil during the sanctions but were unable to transfer money to Tehran. Some 6.5 billion euros are said to be owing. ..."
Peak Oil Review - Apr 25

Iran: The Iranians are now saying that their oil production will reach pre-sanctions levels of 4 million b/d by June of this year, up from the 3.5 million b/d they claim to have produced in March. The addition of another 500,000 b/dwithin two months is certainly faster than anybody anticipated, but some analysts are now saying it is possible. India's Reliance Industries recently announced a long-term oil deal with Tehran.

Among the problems Iran would have in increasing production by 500,000 b/d in the next few months is the lack of ships to move the oil to customers, if they can find them. Many of the worlds' tankers are tied up in massive queues at import and export terminals that are at loading and unloading capacity. Lingering issues about US sanctions have left some tanker owners reluctant to get involved with Tehran for fear they could be banned from doing business with the US. Much of Iran's tanker fleet no longer meets safety standards and must be overhauled before visiting foreign ports.

Lifting of the sanctions has given a major lift to Iran's economy. Last week the IMF reported that it expects Tehran's economy to grow by 4 percent this year. Iran is making an effort to collect the oil revenues from those countries that continued to take Iranian oil during the sanctions but were unable to transfer money to Tehran. Some 6.5 billion euros are said to be owing.

Tehran's final problem in increasing its oil export is to find foreign investors willing to put money into its aging oil industry. While it may be possible to increase oil production by the 500,000 b/d that Tehran is aiming for, further production increases will require massive amounts of investment that will have to be raised from foreign sources. Arguments in Tehran about how much foreigners should be allowed to profit from exploiting Iranian oil continue. Iran's latest revisions to proposed contracts for foreign oil companies are so unfavorable that some doubt there will be many offers.

[Mar 22, 2016] Grave reservations about the alleged spare capacity of Iran

Notable quotes:
"... I have grave reservations about the alleged spare capacity of Iran. The assumption is that the big, bad sanctions resulted in a huge drop in Iran's oil production. I am not buying it. I think the sanctions were a joke. For starters many nations refused to take part in the sanctions. Nations like India, china, japan and South Korea for starters. It would not be difficult to then reexport this oil to the rest of the world on the sly. Would you please comment on this important matter. Does anyone have any inside information about this? nuassembly 20 Mar 2016, 11:25 AM Comments (13) | + Follow | Send Message Agree, most of us follow news as herd effect, but devil is in the detail. Before the sanction, Iran was export 2.5 million barrels of oil per day but had to import almost 0.5million barrels of processed fuel, gasoline and diesel. ..."
"... Now, 4 years after the sanction starts, Iran already built up the refinery capacity, so it will no longer need import of refined fuels; instead it will be exporting, how much is yet to be decided. So, right there, we will see over 0.5 million barrels of reduction in the oil to be exported from Iran. Yes, the sanction reduced the Iranian oil export from 2.5million to 1.5million per day, but the net effect after sanction now will be less than 0.5 million per day to the world market. ..."
seekingalpha.com
Forty Years a Speculator 21 Mar 2016, 07:06 PM Comments (50) |+ Follow |Send Message
I have grave reservations about the alleged spare capacity of Iran. The assumption is that the big, bad sanctions resulted in a huge drop in Iran's oil production. I am not buying it. I think the sanctions were a joke. For starters many nations refused to take part in the sanctions. Nations like India, china, japan and South Korea for starters. It would not be difficult to then reexport this oil to the rest of the world on the sly.

Would you please comment on this important matter. Does anyone have any inside information about this?

nuassembly 20 Mar 2016, 11:25 AM Comments (13) |+ Follow |Send Message
Agree, most of us follow news as herd effect, but devil is in the detail.

Before the sanction, Iran was export 2.5 million barrels of oil per day but had to import almost 0.5million barrels of processed fuel, gasoline and diesel.

Now, 4 years after the sanction starts, Iran already built up the refinery capacity, so it will no longer need import of refined fuels; instead it will be exporting, how much is yet to be decided. So, right there, we will see over 0.5 million barrels of reduction in the oil to be exported from Iran. Yes, the sanction reduced the Iranian oil export from 2.5million to 1.5million per day, but the net effect after sanction now will be less than 0.5 million per day to the world market.
Michael Filloon, 20 Mar 2016, 01:47 PM Comments (4564) |+ Follow |Send Message
40 years, I would be surprised if you didn't have reservations. You aren't the only one. Iran's infrastructure wasn't that great before the sanctions so I would guess they are abysmal now.

I don't think they can get to 4 million this year, but the problem with that is I am speculating so we will just have to track its exports and see what happens. Right now, I think it would be ok to reduce that number by 400K BO/d.

I think the biggest issue is Iran thinks its possible, so maybe there is something going on we haven't thought about. Probably not, but it is still something to consider. I wasn't a big fan of the sanctions either, but some politicians would say they worked. I think it is very possible to re-export the oil the only problem is the very large volumes Iran can produce. If this was a small producer it is probably easy if you sell it cheap enough (like ISIS does).

<

[Mar 16, 2016] Iran faces hurdles hiking oil production when sanctions lifted

Notable quotes:
"... Iran's condensate production is increasing along with production of natural gas. Gains followed completion a few months ago of several development phases at giant offshore South Pars field, including phases 12, 15-16, and 17-18, which added 120,000 b/d of condensate ready for export. Most of the condensate is being stored at sea, occupying two thirds of Iran's current floating capacity and awaiting a buyer. Iran's condensate production is expected rise even further in 2016. ..."
"... It is thus conceivable that Iran can raise its crude oil production about 500,000-700,000 b/d within 3 months, and up to 800,000 b/d within 6 months. ..."
"... Most of Iran's competitors supplying similar crude oil to the same markets, mainly Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have secured their sales by signing term agreement with customers. These commitments are usually for at least 1 year. ..."
"... Since Iran lacks a huge capacity to store unsold oil, it could increase crude oil production only slowly and cautiously. ..."
"... The outlook for Iranian condensate is different. High in sulfur, Iran's condensate is considered a light crude and is traded at prices higher than those of its heavy oil. Iran has fewer competitors for condensate-for which demand, particularly in Asia, is high-than for oil. ..."
"... Condensate flow will increase with gas production, particularly from South Pars field, an extension of Qatar's supergiant North field. The field has been Zangeneh's highest priority for development. ..."
www.ogj.com

Oil & Gas Journal

Iran's mature oil fields are in advanced stages of decline. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that Iranian oil fields have natural decline rates of 8-11% and recovery rates of 20-25%.

Iran had planned to employ water and gas injection for enhanced oil recovery. Gas injection in mature field was to have reached 330 million cu m/day by the end of 2016. Since 2011, however, Iran hasn't been able to reach more than 60% of its gas-injection goals. The average of actual gas injected between March 2006 and March 2011 never increased more than 75% of what was originally planned.

... ... ...

After the European Union-imposed embargos on exports and shipping insurance in 2012, Iranian oil exports fell to almost half their level of a year earlier, forcing National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) to cut production and shut down some of its fields. The cuts of course focused on very mature, inefficient fields and wells, especially those producing heavy and extra-heavy crude oil.

In all, Iran's production and production capacity have been hammered. Since Iran cannot produce crude oil at maximum potential rates, and because it has had to halt production from some of its older fields, analysts cannot precisely estimate Iran's production capacity. Estimating potential recovery from idle fields would be guesswork.

The Iranian oil ministry estimates the country's crude oil production capacity at 3.5-3.7 million b/d. With condensate considered to be light crude oil, production capacity rises to perhaps 4 million b/d.

Production rebound

Aside from real uncertainties about oil production capacity, Iran's ability to increase production in case of sanctions relief is another major question. If sanctions are lifted, how much and for how long will it take Iran to increase its production?

Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh announced that Iran's production could increase by up to 1 million b/d quickly. The International Energy Agency estimates that Iran's production capacity is 3.6 million b/d and that the country can increase output by 600,000-800,000 b/d within 3 months. In May, the IEA reported Iranian production in April of 2.88 million b/d, up 90,000 b/d from March.

Two main uncertainties hamper predictions about Iran's oil production rebound. The first is Iran's technical ability to raise output. The second is the country's ability to export oil.

Some observers argue that production cuts in old fields have enabled reservoir pressures to increase and might allow production to resume at high rates. Gas injection also might boost output in mature fields within 3-6 months.

Iran's condensate production is increasing along with production of natural gas. Gains followed completion a few months ago of several development phases at giant offshore South Pars field, including phases 12, 15-16, and 17-18, which added 120,000 b/d of condensate ready for export. Most of the condensate is being stored at sea, occupying two thirds of Iran's current floating capacity and awaiting a buyer. Iran's condensate production is expected rise even further in 2016.

It is thus conceivable that Iran can raise its crude oil production about 500,000-700,000 b/d within 3 months, and up to 800,000 b/d within 6 months.

But the other question, access to the market, remains unanswered. The sanctions target Iranian exports. It might take at least 3-6 months from the time of a nuclear agreement for sanctions to be lifted significantly. And removal of the ban on imports of Iranian oil in Europe requires a consensus of EU members. This might be hard to achieve quickly.

There is no doubt that any nuclear deal will have an immediate psychological effect on the market. Sales negotiations will start, and Iran at least could slightly increase its crude oil and condensate exports, particularly by the last quarter of this year when a seasonal demand increase in Iran would absorb some of the incremental production.

Regaining market share

Beyond sanctions, Iran's other challenge for raising its oil exports is regaining lost market share. This problem is particularly acute at a time of oversupply and low oil prices.

Most of Iran's competitors supplying similar crude oil to the same markets, mainly Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have secured their sales by signing term agreement with customers. These commitments are usually for at least 1 year.

So Tehran has no choice other than to sell most of its oil in the spot market for the next year. It will have to create incentives for signing term contracts to regain long-term market share. Since Iran lacks a huge capacity to store unsold oil, it could increase crude oil production only slowly and cautiously. With prices low, it doesn't make sense for Iran to rent tankers as floating storage and sell oil at further discounts. Oil stored at sea will encourage Iran's customers to push for further discounts.

The outlook for Iranian condensate is different. High in sulfur, Iran's condensate is considered a light crude and is traded at prices higher than those of its heavy oil. Iran has fewer competitors for condensate-for which demand, particularly in Asia, is high-than for oil.

Condensate flow will increase with gas production, particularly from South Pars field, an extension of Qatar's supergiant North field. The field has been Zangeneh's highest priority for development.

Condensate makes up much of the 30 million bbl of oil Iran currently holds in floating storage, which will provide the first cargos ready for immediate export when sanctions are lifted. This offloading would reduce rental costs while Iran prepared to boost production. Therefore, we can expect an immediate release of oil from floating storage upon any possible deal at the end of June or in early July.

If negotiations lead to a comprehensive deal on Iran's nuclear program by the end of June or early July, Iranian production and exports will rise about 200,000 b/d by the end of 2015 because at least some of the sanctions might then have been eased and because global demand will be seasonally high. The rest of the country's production and export increase would enter the market gradually through mid-2016.

An open question is how extra Iranian supply would affect the global oil market. While predictions vary for production from shales and other low-permeability formations in 2016, most analysts expect low oil prices at least to suppress growth rates from these sources if not to cause declines in the next year or two. Decline forecasts have been as high as 1 million b/d of so-called tight oil.

A gradual rise of crude and condensate from Iran thus might be offset by a decline from shale next year and have a modest impact on the price of oil. That balance, of course, has a broader geopolitical context as crises in Yemen and Iraq keep upward pressure on the crude price.

The author
Sara Vakhshouri is founder and president of SVB Energy International, a strategic energy consulting firm based in Washington, DC. She advises international corporations, think tanks, investment banks, and law firms on global energy markets, geopolitics of energy, and investment patterns. During 2000-08, she worked in the public and private sectors of the Iranian energy industry. From 2004 to 2005, she worked as an advisor to National Iranian Oil Co. International, a division responsible for marketing and sale of Iranian crude oil and products. Vakhshouri holds a PhD in energy security and Middle Eastern studies and was a visiting fellow at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. She has MA degrees in business management (international marketing) and international relations.

[Mar 16, 2016] Iran's Return To The Oil Markets Less Damaging Than Expected

OilPrice.com
For last month, OPEC's crude oil production dropped 90,000 barrels per day, on some small losses in Iraq, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates, but new production from Iran and the maintenance of the production status quo in Saudi Arabia has kept losses to an overall minimum. Production from Iraqi, Nigeria and UAE combined fell by 350,000 barrels per day in February.

We could also expect continued declines of exports coming from Iraq in March

[Mar 10, 2016] Iran ordered to pay $10.5 billion for 9-11 by US judge

Notable quotes:
"... A US judge ordered Iran to pay over $10 billion in damages to families of victims who died on September 11, 2001 – even though there is no evidence of Tehran's direct connection to the attack. The same judge earlier cleared Saudi Arabia from culpability. ..."
"... The default judgement was issued by US District Judge George Daniels in New York on Wednesday. Under the ruling, Tehran was ordered to pay $7.5 billion to 9/11 victims' families, including $2 million to each victim's estate for pain and suffering, and another $6.88 million in punitive damages. Insurers who paid for property damage and claimed their businesses were interrupted were awarded an additional $3 billion in the ruling. ..."
"... Saudi Arabia was legally cleared from paying billions in damages to families of 9/11 victims last year, after Judge Daniels dismissed claims that the country provided material support to the terrorists and ruled that Riyadh had sovereign immunity. Saudi attorneys argued in court that there was no evidence directly linking the country to 9/11. ..."
"... "absurd and ridiculous." ..."
"... "I never heard about this ruling and I'm very much surprised because the judge had no reason whatsoever to issue such a ruling… Iran never took part in any court hearings related to the events of September 11, 2001," ..."
"... "Even if such an absurd and ridiculous decision has been made, the charges simply hold no water because Iran has never been mentioned at any stage of the investigation and the trials that followed." ..."
"... While Sheikholeslam argued that Iran didn't take part in related hearings, that lack of participation may have contributed to the decision. A default judgment is typically issued when one of the parties involved in a case does not respond to court summons or appear in court to make their case. ..."
"... "advice and training" ..."
"... "provided material support" ..."
"... "direct support" ..."
"... "There was no direct connection between Iran and the attacks of September 11." ..."
"... "The people who committed those terrorist attacks were neither friends nor allies of Iran," ..."
"... "They were our sworn enemies, members of Al-Qaeda, which considers Iran as their enemy. Fifteen out of the 19 terrorists were Saudi citizens, which happens to be America's best friend. The remaining four terrorists lived in Saudi Arabia and enjoyed Saudi support. Therefore the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with Iran." ..."
Mar 10, 2016 | RT USA
© Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

A US judge ordered Iran to pay over $10 billion in damages to families of victims who died on September 11, 2001 – even though there is no evidence of Tehran's direct connection to the attack. The same judge earlier cleared Saudi Arabia from culpability.

The default judgement was issued by US District Judge George Daniels in New York on Wednesday. Under the ruling, Tehran was ordered to pay $7.5 billion to 9/11 victims' families, including $2 million to each victim's estate for pain and suffering, and another $6.88 million in punitive damages. Insurers who paid for property damage and claimed their businesses were interrupted were awarded an additional $3 billion in the ruling.

The ruling is noteworthy particularly since none of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were Iranian citizens. Fifteen were citizens of Saudi Arabia, while two were from the United Arab Emirates, and one each from Egypt and Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia was legally cleared from paying billions in damages to families of 9/11 victims last year, after Judge Daniels dismissed claims that the country provided material support to the terrorists and ruled that Riyadh had sovereign immunity. Saudi attorneys argued in court that there was no evidence directly linking the country to 9/11.

In response to the latest ruling, Hossein Sheikholeslam, a senior aide to Iran's parliamentary speaker, called the decision "absurd and ridiculous."

"I never heard about this ruling and I'm very much surprised because the judge had no reason whatsoever to issue such a ruling… Iran never took part in any court hearings related to the events of September 11, 2001," he told Sputnik. "Even if such an absurd and ridiculous decision has been made, the charges simply hold no water because Iran has never been mentioned at any stage of the investigation and the trials that followed."

While Sheikholeslam argued that Iran didn't take part in related hearings, that lack of participation may have contributed to the decision. A default judgment is typically issued when one of the parties involved in a case does not respond to court summons or appear in court to make their case.

Judge Daniels found that Iran failed to defend itself against claims that it played a role in 9/11. Iran believes the lawsuit is unnecessary because it says it did not participate in the attack.

In the US, Tehran's role in 9/11 has been debated heavily over the years. The 9/11 Commission Report stated that some hijackers moved through Iran and did not have their passports stamped. It also stated that Hezbollah, which the US designates as a terrorist organization supported by Iran, provided "advice and training" to Al-Qaeda members.

In a court document filed in 2011 regarding the latest case, plaintiffs claimed Hezbollah "provided material support" to Al-Qaeda, such as facilitating travel, plus "direct support" for the 9/11 attacks. As a result, the plaintiffs argued Iran was liable.

However, the commission report itself found no evidence to suggest Iran was aware of the 9/11 plot, and suggested the possibility that if Hezbollah was tracking the movements of Al-Qaeda members, it may not have been eyeing those who became hijackers on 9/11.

While the report suggested further investigation into the issue, President George W. Bush has said, "There was no direct connection between Iran and the attacks of September 11."

Iran, inhabited mostly by Shia Muslims, has also denied any connection to Al-Qaeda – a militant Sunni group – and cooperation between the two has been questioned due to religious differences. Al-Qaeda views the Shia as heretics, for example.

"The people who committed those terrorist attacks were neither friends nor allies of Iran," Iran Press Editor-in-Chief Emad Abshenas told Sputnik. "They were our sworn enemies, members of Al-Qaeda, which considers Iran as their enemy. Fifteen out of the 19 terrorists were Saudi citizens, which happens to be America's best friend. The remaining four terrorists lived in Saudi Arabia and enjoyed Saudi support. Therefore the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with Iran."

How the case moves forward after Daniels' ruling is unclear. According to Bloomberg, it can be very hard to obtain damages from another country, but plaintiffs might try to do so by targeting Iranian funds frozen by the US.

[Mar 09, 2016] Iran Slowly But Steadily Increasing Oil Market Share OilPrice.com

oilprice.com
By Rakesh Upadhyay 09 March 2016 21:1

Iran is expected to raise the April Official Selling Price (OSP) of its flagship light crude oil to Asia to 25 cents above the Saudi's similarly graded Arab light. This is the highest premium since 2011 and is an increase of 30 cents over the previous month.

Iran will likely price its light crude at 50 cents a barrel below the average of Oman and Dubai quotes, whereas the OSP for Iran Heavy will likely be $2.60 a barrel below Oman and Dubai quotes.

But not all crudes are equal, and when it comes to Iran Heavy Grade , pricing will remain aggressively competitive. Heavy Grade is Iran's main export grade, which must compete with Latin America, Iraq and Saudi Arabia-all of whom supply a similar grade.

Related: Six Reasons The Current Oil Short Covering May Have Legs

When it comes to its light crude, though, the competitive price Iran has offered so far was for internal reasons and intended to reduce gasoline imports.

Many experts believed that Iran would offer large discounts to regain the market share it lost under the sanctions regime. However, Iran is using a calculative approach towards increasing its share and is looking to consolidate and increase exports to its existing partners such as China, South Korea, and India, in Asia.

Iran expects to increase exports to India to 460,000 bpd from the current 260,000 bpd. Similarly, it expects to further increase its exports to South Korea , which has already imported 203,165 bpd-its highest level since 2012.

Related: Oil Rally Stalls As Storage Concerns Spike

Demand from Europe has been a little slow to pick up due to ship insurance and banking-related issues. Nevertheless, the first shipment to Europe landed in Southern Spain on 6 March 2016. Three more tankers--one bound for Romania , another to France and a third to the Mediterranean--are expected to reach their destinations soon.

$80 Oil By June – Do NOT Be Fooled By The Mainstream Media

The current market turmoil has created a once in a generation opportunity for savvy energy investors.
Whilst the mainstream media prints scare stories of oil prices falling through the floor smart investors are setting up their next winning oil plays.

Click here for more info on successful oil investing

BIMCO's chief shipping analyst, Peter Sand, said, "Former clients of Iran are the ones who are likely to return as buyers... Italy, Spain and Greece were the top EU importers in 2011."

The mid-March meeting between OPEC, Russia and other major producers offers a window of opportunity for Iran to increase production gradually, since the major nations have agreed to a production freeze. On top of that, Russia is planning to offer a different deal to Iran, which will allow it to ramp up its production to pre-sanction levels.

Related: The $9.2 Billion Bet Against OPEC Dominance

The lifting of sanctions couldn't have come at a better time for Iran. It is benefitting from the strong bounce in oil, and it is unlikely to face huge competition, barring U.S. exports, if the production freeze is adhered to by the major oil producers.

Tehran has cause for celebration, indeed. This was clear when Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said : "We look forward to the beginning of co-operation between Opec and non-Opec countries and we support any measure that can stabilise the market and increase prices."

The world can take comfort from the fact that Iran has not flooded the market with cheap oil as previously envisaged by the experts. Capturing market share is one thing, but there are internal needs to consider as well.

By Rakesh Upadhyay for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

[Feb 23, 2016] Iran Calls Proposed Saudi-Russian Oil-Output Freeze `Ridiculous'

Probably disinformation...
Bloomberg Business

Iran called a proposal by Saudi Arabia and Russia to freeze oil production "ridiculous" as its seeks to boost its own output after years of sanctions constrained sales.

The proposal by Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar for oil producers to cap output at January levels puts "unrealistic demands" on Iran, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Tuesday, according to the ministry's news agency Shana.

"It is very ridiculous, they come up with the proposal on freezing oil production and call for this freeze to take place in their 10 million barrels a day production vis-a-vis Iran's 1 million barrels a day" planned production boost, he said. "If Iran's crude oil production falls, it will be overtaken considerably by the neighboring countries."

The three OPEC members and Russia are seeking to stop the 40 percent drop in oil prices over the past year caused by a global crude glut. Iran is seeking to boost output by 1 million barrels a day this year after international sanctions on its oil industry were lifted last month.

[Feb 21, 2016] French bank BNP Paribas last week confirmed it would halt funding oil and gas companies with large capital requirements

peakoilbarrel.com
George Kaplan, 02/21/2016 at 3:50 pm
Oil firm bankruptcy in North Sea: http://www.oilandgaspeople.com/news/7398/suttie-pulls-plug-on-first-oil/

This is quite interesting from the article: "French bank BNP Paribas last week confirmed it would halt funding oil and gas companies with large capital requirements, particularly in the US."

[Feb 21, 2016] As one banker put it, we are looking to save ourselves now

Notable quotes:
"... It is estimated that ~250,000 people have lost their jobs in the industry in the last 18 months. ..."
"... Ive mentioned this a few times...but in the 80s you SAW the economic crush all around you. For those who do not live in our visit Houston, Im telling you....something is very bizarre here that puzzles the shit out of me.....malls are packed, and you dont see crush anywhere...I dont get it. ..."
www.zerohedge.com
One week ago, when we commented on the latest weekly update from Credit Suisse's very well hooked-in energy analyst James Wicklund, one particular phrase stuck out when looking at the upcoming contraction of Oil and Gas liquidity: "while your borrowing base might be upheld, there will be minimum liquidity requirements before capital can be accessed. It is hitting the OFS sector as well. As one banker put it, "we are looking to save ourselves now."

In his latest note, Wicklund takes the gloom level up a notch and shows that for all the bank posturing and attempts to preserve calm among the market, what is really happening below the surface can be summarized with one word: panic, and not just for the banks who are stuck holding on to energy exposure, or the energy companies who are facing bankruptcy if oil doesn't rebound, but also for their (now former) employees. Curious why average hourly earnings refuse to go up except for those getting minimum wage boosts? Because according to CS "It is estimated that ~250,000 people have lost their jobs in the industry in the last 18 months."

... ... ...

Wicklund concludes with some even more troubling observations about the recent OPEC headline-induced volatility and the future price of oil:

Rolling On. What was originally a "surplus-induced" downturn is now turning into a global credit downturn, with economic demand and GDP continuing to decline. US corporate debt levels are close to all-time highs as a share of GDP and global monetary policy has very few levers left to pull. "Duration" has become the new buzzword, "survivability" appears to be the key investment metric and any lights in the tunnel appear to be dimming.

The Fix. Demand was going to be the bailout and specifically consumer led demand, however, just about every economic report issued seems to deny that possibility. It is easy to say that with demand growing and capital starved supply waning, reaching balance and beginning growth is inevitable. But it may not be as simple as that and the timing remains one key question. And that key question is one that everyone has an opinion on. Now, it appears that Saudi, Russia, Iraq and Iran MIGHT come to some agreement to cap production growth at January levels, which was up more than 280kbopd from December. The cap offers some positive, but it makes any production CUTS less likely .

All this, as global demand across every industry continues to contract and as central banks are now powerless to do virtually anything, means that the true lows in the oil price are still ahead of us.

Latitude25

Let me guess. The banks are selling securitized energy loans to the muppet pension funds for pennys on the dollar and soon to be totally worthless.

Central Bankster

If you try to inflate assets, it will cause massive distortions in price (IE reinflating oil from$30 in 2009 to $110 a few years later) created a massive and misguided allocation of capital into new oil production...

Antifaschistische

I've mentioned this a few times...but in the 80's you SAW the economic crush all around you. For those who do not live in our visit Houston, I'm telling you....something is very bizarre here that puzzles the shit out of me.....malls are packed, and you don't see crush anywhere...I don't get it.

...and I have NOTHING to gain from a crush, because I'll eventually get swept out to sea also...but it's just crazy here with construction at a non-stop pace. Everyday of my life is like economic doomsday prepping in Houston.

Beatscape

Coming to a ticker tape near you: The 10(!) times upside Oil ETF, filled with all these toxic energy loans and oil companies teetering into bankruptcy. A fool and his money are soon parted.

VWAndy

Bingo they are searching for bagholders now. Too bad there are no bagholders with pockets that deep.


Racer

As one banker put it, "we are looking to save ourselves now."

Total rubbish, the banks NEVER look to save themselves

buzzsaw99

There are reports of banks selling loans at cents on the dollar to try and ensure their own survival...

smells like bullshit. which banks? which loans? how many cents on the dollar? how does booking a major loss ever help a bank?

Bank_sters

Strangely, most articles I read are about how little exposure all the big banks have. So who is holding the 2 trillion dollars of energy related debt that has been created over the last 12 years?

abyssinian

All the banks are fine, Deutsche Bank's CEO said they are solid as a rock and buying their bonds back, JP Morgan CEO just bought tons of company stocks with his bonus and Tim Seymore Butt from CNBC said there is no recession, everything is great and people just making noises. Everything is good!

ConanTheLibert... -> abyssinian

"Deutsche Bank's CEO said they are solid as a rock"

Like the corpse has turned solid as a rock?

Catullus

Talked to a consultant in CRE in Texas on Friday. Said he's never seen it like this in 30 years in Houston. Dallas is ok for now. Credit is terrible. Everyone asking for LOCs or AAs even for power contracts to the buildings.

Don't let a bank tell you this is energy only exposure. It extends to CRE as well

Christophe2

LOCs = lines of credit :)

White Mountains

Old Man of the See - this is because if you open a successful profitable store, tattoo shop, or whatever, the copycats see your success and so open an identical business right across the street hoping to take your success.

Then, you get to compete on price which means both businesses circle close to the toilet bowl as you fight tooth and nail for market share and ever dwindling profits because there is always some dumbass willing to work himself to death for slave wage returns or even loose money as he knocks viable businesses out of business.

Amazon's business model is a non-profit loser much like this only on a huge and very destructive scale.

Fuku Ben

And if the banks go under who loses? One more reason to believe the Fed is lying when it denied they allegedly instructed banks to not force bankruptcies on these companies. Prevent the bankruptcy and find a way to dump the fallout on someone else to CYA and let someone lower on the food chain take the hit. Isn't that how the hierarchical criminal ponzi scheme works?

Who do you think the Fed cares more about after themselves, if anyone?

A. Banks
B. Shareholders
C. 3rd Party Corporations that do business with either banks or the Fed
D. Employees of any Corporations
E. Some poor workers pension fund purchasing the new fraud scheme that will be cooked up to hand these failures off to the muppets
F. None of the above. Central Banks are so megalomaniacal they only care about themselves, their profits and interests above all else.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-16/exclusive-dallas-fed-quietly-su...

Jack Burton

"It is estimated that ~250,000 people have lost their jobs in the industry in the last 18 months."

and found new jobs as waiters and bartenders. Got government jobs, city, county, state, federal, joined the army, went to school to become nurses.

America is still the opportunity society!

[Feb 20, 2016] US energy sector sucking wind and oil equilibrium might be closer than we think

Notable quotes:
"... Following on from a sharp downward revision in its benchmark crude and natural gas price assumptions in January, S&P also lowered the ratings on 25 speculative-grade companies after reviewing 45. ..."
"... S&P on January 12 slashed its Brent and WTI crude price assumptions to $40/barrel each (from $55 and $50 respectively) and Henry Hub natural gas price assumption to $2.50/MMBtu (from $3). ..."
"... S&P flagged the "liquidity risks" faced by the smaller E&P companies, "particularly with respect to the April 2016 revolving credit facility bank borrowing base redeterminations." ..."
"... S&P expects the companies' borrowing bases will have shrunk by 20-30% at the next re-determination in April, as the cutback in drilling activity in 2015 has hobbled their reserves replacement. ..."
"... The US Energy Information Administration in its short-term market outlook released Feb 9 said it expects US production to fall to an average 8.69 million b/d this year from an average of 9.43 million b/d in 2015. And slip further to 8.46 million b/d in 2017. ..."
Feb 15, 2016 | The Barrel Blog
US E&P sector sucking wind: Is oil's equilibrium closer than we think?

How long does the world have to wait before all the surplus oil sloshing around gets mopped up and prices find an equilibrium point that represents balanced supply and demand? Would you believe it if someone said that might be just a quarter and a bit away?

On the supply side, all bets are on shale to bail: there is no hope of output cuts from OPEC, let alone a coordinated action with other major producers such as Russia, amid a stubborn quest for market share.

If anything, most OPEC members are pumping full tilt and some such as Kuwait and Iraq are eying a production boost this year. A sanctions-free Iran is preparing to offload an additional 0.5-1.0 million b/d on an already oversupplied market, though the pace of that return is highly uncertain.

The question then arises, how long before more US producers buckle under and how sharp might the drop in output be?

Standard & Poors Ratings earlier this month downgraded big names in shale including Chevron, Apache, EOG Resources, Devon, Hess, Marathon and Murphy. Of the 20 "investment-grade" companies the agency reviewed, three were placed on Creditwatch with negative implications, and the outlook on another three revised to negative.

Until now, such actions had mostly affected the speculative-grade companies, S&P noted.

Following on from a sharp downward revision in its benchmark crude and natural gas price assumptions in January, S&P also lowered the ratings on 25 speculative-grade companies after reviewing 45.

S&P on January 12 slashed its Brent and WTI crude price assumptions to $40/barrel each (from $55 and $50 respectively) and Henry Hub natural gas price assumption to $2.50/MMBtu (from $3).

S&P flagged the "liquidity risks" faced by the smaller E&P companies, "particularly with respect to the April 2016 revolving credit facility bank borrowing base redeterminations."

A borrowing base is the maximum amount of money a bank will lend to an energy company based on the value of its reserves at current market prices.

S&P expects the companies' borrowing bases will have shrunk by 20-30% at the next re-determination in April, as the cutback in drilling activity in 2015 has hobbled their reserves replacement.

Also, more hedges will roll off this year, and the values on the futures curve are below many bank borrowing base prices, S&P credit analysts noted.

As they hunker down, S&P expects many of the companies to continue lowering capital spending and focus on efficiencies and drilling core properties. However, the analysts say, "these actions, for the most part, are insufficient to stem the meaningful deterioration expected in credit measures over the next few years."

The US Energy Information Administration in its short-term market outlook released Feb 9 said it expects US production to fall to an average 8.69 million b/d this year from an average of 9.43 million b/d in 2015. And slip further to 8.46 million b/d in 2017.

But like any forecast, this year's figure could be revised down further. Exactly a year ago, in its February 2015 report, the EIA had estimated 2016 US production at 9.52 million b/d. The agency has progressively whittled down the figure since October last year.

Meanwhile, a total of 67 US oil and gas companies filed for bankruptcy in 2015, according to consultants Gavin/Solmonese, a whopping 379% spike on 2014, CNN reported last week.

Might the other big shadow looming on the markets - Iran - turn out to be a teddy bear?

Iranian businesses continued to be hobbled by the sanctions fallout. Some US clearing banks have warned banks in Europe, Asia and the Middle East that their US-based dollar accounts will face close scrutiny if they do business with Iran.

This has prevented banking transactions with Iran starting up again despite the removal of sanctions, the Financial Times said in this report Feb 14.

Not surprisingly, expectations on the pace of Iran's incremental barrels flowing into the market are taking a more conservative turn. As Platts reporter Robert Perkins highlights in this analysis published Feb 8, a 500,000 b/d immediate rise and 1 million b/d within six months is seen as "wildly optimistic."

Platts calculations based on current market consensus point to a far sober 200,000 b/d rise in the first quarter, growing to 450,000 b/d by year-end.

Excluding Iranian supply, global oil balances are now seen returning to equilibrium by the third quarter of 2016, according to implied market outlooks from the International Energy Agency, the EIA and OPEC.

That brings us to the "dread discount" on oil because of the wider global financial markets panic since the start of the year, triggered in large part by fears over Chinese economic growth.

While impossible to quantify, could the discount evaporate if the global economy performs much better than the doomsday scenarios currently preying on nerves?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, it ain't what the oil markets don't know that will get them into trouble. It's what they know for sure that just ain't so.

–Vandana Hari
Research Scholar, McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute

[Feb 20, 2016] US E P sector sucking wind Is oils equilibrium closer than we think

Notable quotes:
"... Following on from a sharp downward revision in its benchmark crude and natural gas price assumptions in January, S&P also lowered the ratings on 25 speculative-grade companies after reviewing 45. ..."
"... S&P on January 12 slashed its Brent and WTI crude price assumptions to $40/barrel each (from $55 and $50 respectively) and Henry Hub natural gas price assumption to $2.50/MMBtu (from $3). ..."
"... S&P flagged the "liquidity risks" faced by the smaller E&P companies, "particularly with respect to the April 2016 revolving credit facility bank borrowing base redeterminations." ..."
"... S&P expects the companies' borrowing bases will have shrunk by 20-30% at the next re-determination in April, as the cutback in drilling activity in 2015 has hobbled their reserves replacement. ..."
"... The US Energy Information Administration in its short-term market outlook released Feb 9 said it expects US production to fall to an average 8.69 million b/d this year from an average of 9.43 million b/d in 2015. And slip further to 8.46 million b/d in 2017. ..."
Feb 15, 2016 | The Barrel Blog
US E&P sector sucking wind: Is oil's equilibrium closer than we think?

How long does the world have to wait before all the surplus oil sloshing around gets mopped up and prices find an equilibrium point that represents balanced supply and demand? Would you believe it if someone said that might be just a quarter and a bit away?

On the supply side, all bets are on shale to bail: there is no hope of output cuts from OPEC, let alone a coordinated action with other major producers such as Russia, amid a stubborn quest for market share.

If anything, most OPEC members are pumping full tilt and some such as Kuwait and Iraq are eying a production boost this year. A sanctions-free Iran is preparing to offload an additional 0.5-1.0 million b/d on an already oversupplied market, though the pace of that return is highly uncertain.

The question then arises, how long before more US producers buckle under and how sharp might the drop in output be?

Standard & Poors Ratings earlier this month downgraded big names in shale including Chevron, Apache, EOG Resources, Devon, Hess, Marathon and Murphy. Of the 20 "investment-grade" companies the agency reviewed, three were placed on Creditwatch with negative implications, and the outlook on another three revised to negative.

Until now, such actions had mostly affected the speculative-grade companies, S&P noted.

Following on from a sharp downward revision in its benchmark crude and natural gas price assumptions in January, S&P also lowered the ratings on 25 speculative-grade companies after reviewing 45.

S&P on January 12 slashed its Brent and WTI crude price assumptions to $40/barrel each (from $55 and $50 respectively) and Henry Hub natural gas price assumption to $2.50/MMBtu (from $3).

S&P flagged the "liquidity risks" faced by the smaller E&P companies, "particularly with respect to the April 2016 revolving credit facility bank borrowing base redeterminations."

A borrowing base is the maximum amount of money a bank will lend to an energy company based on the value of its reserves at current market prices.

S&P expects the companies' borrowing bases will have shrunk by 20-30% at the next re-determination in April, as the cutback in drilling activity in 2015 has hobbled their reserves replacement.

Also, more hedges will roll off this year, and the values on the futures curve are below many bank borrowing base prices, S&P credit analysts noted.

As they hunker down, S&P expects many of the companies to continue lowering capital spending and focus on efficiencies and drilling core properties. However, the analysts say, "these actions, for the most part, are insufficient to stem the meaningful deterioration expected in credit measures over the next few years."

The US Energy Information Administration in its short-term market outlook released Feb 9 said it expects US production to fall to an average 8.69 million b/d this year from an average of 9.43 million b/d in 2015. And slip further to 8.46 million b/d in 2017.

But like any forecast, this year's figure could be revised down further. Exactly a year ago, in its February 2015 report, the EIA had estimated 2016 US production at 9.52 million b/d. The agency has progressively whittled down the figure since October last year.

Meanwhile, a total of 67 US oil and gas companies filed for bankruptcy in 2015, according to consultants Gavin/Solmonese, a whopping 379% spike on 2014, CNN reported last week.

Might the other big shadow looming on the markets - Iran - turn out to be a teddy bear?

Iranian businesses continued to be hobbled by the sanctions fallout. Some US clearing banks have warned banks in Europe, Asia and the Middle East that their US-based dollar accounts will face close scrutiny if they do business with Iran.

This has prevented banking transactions with Iran starting up again despite the removal of sanctions, the Financial Times said in this report Feb 14.

Not surprisingly, expectations on the pace of Iran's incremental barrels flowing into the market are taking a more conservative turn. As Platts reporter Robert Perkins highlights in this analysis published Feb 8, a 500,000 b/d immediate rise and 1 million b/d within six months is seen as "wildly optimistic."

Platts calculations based on current market consensus point to a far sober 200,000 b/d rise in the first quarter, growing to 450,000 b/d by year-end.

Excluding Iranian supply, global oil balances are now seen returning to equilibrium by the third quarter of 2016, according to implied market outlooks from the International Energy Agency, the EIA and OPEC.

That brings us to the "dread discount" on oil because of the wider global financial markets panic since the start of the year, triggered in large part by fears over Chinese economic growth.

While impossible to quantify, could the discount evaporate if the global economy performs much better than the doomsday scenarios currently preying on nerves?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, it ain't what the oil markets don't know that will get them into trouble. It's what they know for sure that just ain't so.

–Vandana Hari
Research Scholar, McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute

[Feb 20, 2016] Iran turn out to be a teddy bear

Notable quotes:
"... Iranian businesses continued to be hobbled by the sanctions fallout. Some US clearing banks have warned banks in Europe, Asia and the Middle East that their US-based dollar accounts will face close scrutiny if they do business with Iran. This has prevented banking transactions with Iran starting up again despite the removal of sanctions, the Financial Times said in this report Feb 14. ..."
"... Platts reporter Robert Perkins highlights in this analysis published Feb 8, a 500,000 b/d immediate rise and 1 million b/d within six months is seen as "wildly optimistic." ..."
"... Platts calculations based on current market consensus point to a far sober 200,000 b/d rise in the first quarter, growing to 450,000 b/d by year-end. ..."
"... Excluding Iranian supply, global oil balances are now seen returning to equilibrium by the third quarter of 2016, according to implied market outlooks from the International Energy Agency, the EIA and OPEC. ..."
February 15, 2016 | The Barrel Blog

Might the other big shadow looming on the markets - Iran - turn out to be a teddy bear?

Iranian businesses continued to be hobbled by the sanctions fallout. Some US clearing banks have warned banks in Europe, Asia and the Middle East that their US-based dollar accounts will face close scrutiny if they do business with Iran. This has prevented banking transactions with Iran starting up again despite the removal of sanctions, the Financial Times said in this report Feb 14.

Not surprisingly, expectations on the pace of Iran's incremental barrels flowing into the market are taking a more conservative turn. As Platts reporter Robert Perkins highlights in this analysis published Feb 8, a 500,000 b/d immediate rise and 1 million b/d within six months is seen as "wildly optimistic."

Platts calculations based on current market consensus point to a far sober 200,000 b/d rise in the first quarter, growing to 450,000 b/d by year-end.

Excluding Iranian supply, global oil balances are now seen returning to equilibrium by the third quarter of 2016, according to implied market outlooks from the International Energy Agency, the EIA and OPEC.

That brings us to the "dread discount" on oil because of the wider global financial markets panic since the start of the year, triggered in large part by fears over Chinese economic growth.

While impossible to quantify, could the discount evaporate if the global economy performs much better than the doomsday scenarios currently preying on nerves?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, it ain't what the oil markets don't know that will get them into trouble. It's what they know for sure that just ain't so.

–Vandana Hari
Research Scholar, McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute

[Feb 17, 2016] Financial chaos coming to oil junk bonds

Notable quotes:
"... There are over $1.8 trillion of US junk bonds outstanding. It's the lifeblood of over-indebted corporate America. When yields began to soar over a year ago, and liquidity began to dry up at the bottom of the scale, it was "contained." ..."
"... The average yield of CCC or lower-rated junk bonds hit the 20% mark a week ago. The last time yields had jumped to that level was on September 20, 2008, in the panic after the Lehman bankruptcy, as we pointed out . Today, that average yield is nearly 22%! ..."
"... Today the scenario is punctuated by defaults, debt restructurings with big haircuts, and bankruptcy filings. These risks had been there all along. But "consensual hallucination," as we've come to call the phenomenon, blinded investors, among them hedge funds, private equity firms, bond mutual funds for retail investors, and other honorable members of the "smart money." ..."
"... The M&A-related bond issue by Endurance International Group couldn't be syndicated and ended up on the balance sheets of the underwriters. ..."
"... The market was hit hard again this week amid solid volume trading as oil prices plunged anew. There was a meager attempt at stability on Wednesday, but some participants described it as similar to the calm at the eye of a hurricane. ..."
"... And retail investors are catching on. Over the past three sessions alone, they pulled $488 million out of the largest high-yield ETF, the iShares HYG, which on Thursday closed at 75.59, down 21% from its high in June 2014, and the lowest level since May 2009. ..."
"... All grades of junk bonds have been losing ground: the S&P High-Yield Index is down 3.9% year-to-date. But it's in the CCC-and-lower category where real bloodletting is occurring. ..."
"... It's not just energy. The category includes all kinds of companies, among them brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants, hit hard by excessive debt, slack demand, consumer preference for online shopping, and other scourges. Unlike oil and gas drillers, these companies have no assets to sell. Standard & Poor's "believes these trends will accelerate in the coming year and lead to further retail defaults." ..."
"... All the Central Bank stimulus programs have been Neo-Keynesian, in line with the new economics. The money is pushed into the top of the economic pyramid, the banks, and according to the new economics it should trickle down. ..."
"... I see a storm brewing. A huge economic tsunami will occur when the financial sector collapses. The question is not if this will occur but when and how bad it will be. The severity is bound to be intense and long term as Congress is hidebound by ideological stances that are the origination of the Tsunami. The Fed has run out of strategies that actually have any positive effect. ..."
"... Not to diminish the concerns Wolf has expressed here or the related causal factors, but staff at the Atlanta Fed is forecasting sharply improving economic activity this quarter. ..."
"... But "consensual hallucination," as we've come to call the phenomenon, blinded investors, among them hedge funds, private equity firms, bond mutual funds for retail investors, and other honorable members of the "smart money." ..."
"... Please explain how "smart money" is losing on this "hallucination." Oh, maybe you mean the Private Equity LPs or the retail investors in the Mutual Funds, or the investors in the hedge funds. They aren't the smart money. The smart money is playing this game for all it is worth and is not losing out. ..."
Feb 13, 2016 | nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on February 13, 2016 by Yves Smith By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street

It's not contained.

There are over $1.8 trillion of US junk bonds outstanding. It's the lifeblood of over-indebted corporate America. When yields began to soar over a year ago, and liquidity began to dry up at the bottom of the scale, it was "contained."

Yet contagion has spread from energy, metals, and mining to other industries and up the scale. According to UBS, about $1 trillion of these junk bonds are now "stressed" or "distressed." And the entire corporate bond market, which is far larger than the stock market, is getting antsy.

The average yield of CCC or lower-rated junk bonds hit the 20% mark a week ago. The last time yields had jumped to that level was on September 20, 2008, in the panic after the Lehman bankruptcy, as we pointed out . Today, that average yield is nearly 22%!

Today even the average yield spread between those bonds and US Treasuries has breached the 20% mark. Last time this happened was on October 6, 2008, during the post-Lehman panic:

US-Junk-bond-spreads-CCC-2008_2016-02-11

At this cost of capital, companies can no longer borrow. Since they're cash-flow negative, they'll run out of liquidity sooner or later. When that happens, defaults jump, which blows out spreads even further, which is what happened during the Financial Crisis. The market seizes. Financial chaos ensues.

It didn't help that Standard & Poor's just went on a "down-grade binge," as S&P Capital IQ LCD called it, hammering 25 energy companies deeper into junk, 11 of them into the "substantial-risk" category of CCC+ or below.

Back in the summer of 2014, during the peak of the wild credit bubble beautifully conjured up by the Fed, companies in this category had no problems issuing new debt in order to service existing debt, fill cash-flow holes, blow it on special dividends to their private-equity owners, and what not. The average yield of CCC or lower rated bonds at the time was around 8%.

Today the scenario is punctuated by defaults, debt restructurings with big haircuts, and bankruptcy filings. These risks had been there all along. But "consensual hallucination," as we've come to call the phenomenon, blinded investors, among them hedge funds, private equity firms, bond mutual funds for retail investors, and other honorable members of the "smart money."

But now that they've opened their eyes, they're running away. And so the market for new issuance is grinding down.

"Another tough week," S&P Capital IQ LCD said on Thursday in its HY Weekly . There was one small deal earlier this week: Manitowoc Cranes' $260 million B+ rated second-lien notes that mature in 2021 sold at a yield of 14%!

The M&A-related bond issue by Endurance International Group couldn't be syndicated and ended up on the balance sheets of the underwriters. LeasePlan has a $500 million deal on the calendar. If it goes today, it will bring the total this week to a measly $760 million, down 90% from the four-year average for the second week in February. According to S&P Capital IQ LCD, it would be "the lowest amount of early-February issuance since the credit crisis in 2009."

In the secondary market, where the high-yield bonds are traded, it's equally gloomy. S&P Capital IQ LCD:

The market was hit hard again this week amid solid volume trading as oil prices plunged anew. There was a meager attempt at stability on Wednesday, but some participants described it as similar to the calm at the eye of a hurricane.

That proved true today, as markets fell further. There was red across the board with losses in dollar terms ranging 1–5 points, depending on the credit and sector. The huge U.S. Treasury market rally gave no technical support, even as the yield on the 10-year note, for one, pierced 1.6%, a 4.5-year low.

And retail investors are catching on. Over the past three sessions alone, they pulled $488 million out of the largest high-yield ETF, the iShares HYG, which on Thursday closed at 75.59, down 21% from its high in June 2014, and the lowest level since May 2009.

On a broader scale, investors yanked $5.6 billion out of that asset class in January, the fourth month in a row of outflows.

All grades of junk bonds have been losing ground: the S&P High-Yield Index is down 3.9% year-to-date. But it's in the CCC-and-lower category where real bloodletting is occurring.

This chart shows the return from interest payments and price changes of that category. Since June 2014, the index has lost 28%. During the panic of the Financial Crisis, it plunged 48%. But now the volume of junk bonds outstanding is twice as large and the credit bubble is far bigger than it had been before the Financial Crisis. So this might just be the beginning:

US-Junk-bonds-CCC-total-return-2014-2016_02_11

It's not just energy. The category includes all kinds of companies, among them brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants, hit hard by excessive debt, slack demand, consumer preference for online shopping, and other scourges. Unlike oil and gas drillers, these companies have no assets to sell. Standard & Poor's "believes these trends will accelerate in the coming year and lead to further retail defaults."

S&P now expects the overall default rate to reach 3.9% by the end of 2016. But it may be the rosy scenario; last March, S&P still thought the default rate at the end of 2016 would be 2.8%. Credits are deteriorating fast.

Among these CCC-rated retailers and restaurants are Claire's Stores, Logan's Roadhouse, and the Bon-Ton Department Stores. Others, at B-, are just a downgrade away, such as Toys "R" Us, 99 Cents Only Stores, or P.F. Chang's China Bistro. Some are rated B, such as Men's Wearhouse and Neiman Marcus. If these companies need money, it's going to get very expensive.

And contagion is spreading to high-grade bonds: issuance so far in February plunged 90% to just $5 billion, from the same period a year ago. Year-to-date issuance was inflated by one monster deal carried over from last year, the $46-billion M&A-driven trade for Anheuser-Busch InBev, bringing the total to $126.5 billion, still down 13%. S&P Capital IQ LCD:

Severe broad market volatility shuttered the investment-grade primary market for a fifth consecutive session Thursday, as secondary-market spreads continued to widen.

But when there is blood in the streets, there are opportunities though perhaps not in the usual corners. Read… What's Booming in this Economy? Bankruptcy & Restructuring Business "Highest Since Great Recession"

Clive , February 13, 2016 at 6:58 am

If policy makers wanted to understand the irrelevance of ZIRP or NIRP in the world where real businesses and people live, they only have to read this article.

craazyboy , February 13, 2016 at 10:08 am

Obviously, if the Fed does a -2% NIRP, then we can get the average junk bond down from 22% to 20%. It's all just simple math.

Michael Haltman , February 13, 2016 at 7:15 am

And don't forget the risk that's posed by the sovereign debt issued by the EU PIIGS:

Are The EU PIIGS About To Start Squealing?

As the migrant crisis in Europe worsens serious steps to address it are being considered.

One proposal is for passports to be required in order to cross from one EU country to another.

Would such a drastic move spell the beginning of the end for the Eurozone as a viable entity?

And if so what will happen to the piles of sovereign debt that's been issued by the economically vulnerable EU PIIGS, and to the investors who have been pouring money into them at what appear to be ridiculously low yields?

Read the story and check out the historical yield chart at the article 'EU PIIGS: Are These 10-Year Sovereign Bond Yields Either Warranted Or Sustainable?' here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/eu-piigs-10-year-sovereign-bond-yields-either-michael-haltman?trk=prof-post

Keith , February 13, 2016 at 7:31 am

Bring in nonsense economics globally and let it destroy everything.

Today's nonsense economics:

1) Ignores the true nature of money and debt

Debt is just taking money from the future to spend today.

The loan/mortgage is taken out and spent; the repayments come in the future.

Today's boom is tomorrow's penury and tomorrow is here.

One of the fundamental flaws in the economists' models is the way they treat money, they do not understand the very nature of this most basic of fundamentals.

They see it as a medium enabling trade that exists in steady state without being created, destroyed or hoarded by the wealthy.

They see banks as intermediaries where the money of savers is leant out to borrowers.

When you know how money is created and destroyed on bank balance sheets, you can immediately see the problems of banks lending into asset bubbles and how massive amounts of fictitious, asset bubble wealth can disappear over-night.

When you take into account debt and compound interest, you quickly realise how debt can over-whelm the system especially as debt accumulates with those that can least afford it.

a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

Add to this the fact that new money can only be created from new debt and the picture gets worse again.

With this ignorance at the heart of today's economics, bankers worked out how they could create more
and more debt whilst taking no responsibility for it. They invented securitisation and complex financial instruments to package up their debt and sell it on to other suckers (the heart of 2008).

2) Doesn't differentiate between "earned" and "unearned" wealth

Adam Smith:

"The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers."

Like most classical economists he differentiated between "earned" and "unearned" wealth and noted how the wealthy maintained themselves in idleness and luxury via "unearned", rentier income from their land and capital.

We can no longer see the difference between the productive side of the economy and the unproductive, parasitic, rentier side.

The FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sectors now dominate the UK economy and these are actually parasites on the real economy.

Constant rent seeking, parasitic activity from the financial sector.

Siphoning off the "earned" wealth of generation rent to provide "unearned" income for those with more Capital, via BTL.

Housing booms across the world sucking purchasing power from the real economy through high rents and mortgage payments.

Michael Hudson "Killing the Host"

3) Today's ideal is unregulated, trickledown Capitalism.

We had un-regulated, trickledown Capitalism in the UK in the 19th Century.

We know what it looks like.

1) Those at the top were very wealthy
2) Those lower down lived in grinding poverty, paid just enough to keep them alive to work with as little time off as possible.
3) Slavery
4) Child Labour

Immense wealth at the top with nothing trickling down, just like today.

This is what Capitalism maximized for profit looks like.

Labour costs are reduced to the absolute minimum to maximise profit.

(The majority got a larger slice of the pie through organised Labour movements.)

The beginnings of regulation to deal with the wealthy UK businessman seeking to maximise profit, the abolition of slavery and child labour.

Where regulation is lax today?
Apple factories with suicide nets in China.

The modern business person chases around the world to find the poorest nation with the laxest regulations so they can exploit these people in the same way they used to exploit the citizens of their own nations two hundred years ago.

Labour costs are reduced to the absolute minimum to maximise profit.

Capitalism in its natural state sucks everything up to the top.
Capitalism in its natural state doesn't create much demand.

Keith , February 13, 2016 at 7:48 am

There is more than one version of Capitalism, and today's version is an upside down version of the one we had 40 years ago that produced the lowest levels of inequality in history within the developed world.

40 years ago most economists and almost everyone else believed the economy was demand driven and the system naturally trickled up.

Now most economists and almost everyone else believes the economy is supply driven and the system naturally trickles down.

Economics has been turned upside down in the last 40 years.

All the Central Bank stimulus programs have been Neo-Keynesian, in line with the new economics. The money is pushed into the top of the economic pyramid, the banks, and according to the new economics it should trickle down.

What we have seen is that the money stays at the top inflating asset bubbles in stocks, fine art, classic cars and top end property.

Businessmen believe in the new economics when it comes to keeping all the rewards for themselves and shareholders.

Businessmen believe in the old economics when it come to investing and won't invest until demand rises.

The new economics has taken us back to a disastrous past.

You think the 1930s is bad?

In the 1940s you get global war.

Ray Phenicie , February 13, 2016 at 8:58 am

I see a storm brewing. A huge economic tsunami will occur when the financial sector collapses. The question is not if this will occur but when and how bad it will be. The severity is bound to be intense and long term as Congress is hidebound by ideological stances that are the origination of the Tsunami. The Fed has run out of strategies that actually have any positive effect.

Chauncey Gardiner , February 13, 2016 at 10:31 am

Not to diminish the concerns Wolf has expressed here or the related causal factors, but staff at the Atlanta Fed is forecasting sharply improving economic activity this quarter.

Although I only began tracking their work during the past year, I have been impressed by the accuracy of their recent GDP forecasts:

https://www.frbatlanta.org/cqer/research/gdpnow.aspx

Should their forecast be accurate and have legs, perhaps it will reduce the severity of the issues Wolf discussed, at least in the short term.

jrd2 , February 13, 2016 at 10:39 am

But "consensual hallucination," as we've come to call the phenomenon, blinded investors, among them hedge funds, private equity firms, bond mutual funds for retail investors, and other honorable members of the "smart money."

Please explain how "smart money" is losing on this "hallucination." Oh, maybe you mean the Private Equity LPs or the retail investors in the Mutual Funds, or the investors in the hedge funds. They aren't the smart money. The smart money is playing this game for all it is worth and is not losing out.

[Feb 17, 2016] Oil prices surge as Iran says it supports crude output freeze

RT Business

Brent crude futures trading at the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London surged over 7.5 percent after Iran declared its support for the oil output freeze. Despite expressing its backing for the step, Tehran has not made any pledges to curb to its own production.

After the initial rise, the positive market trend ended a few minutes later, with the gain then dropping to around 6.2 percent.

WTI futures in New York also saw a reverse in earlier losses, gaining as much as 6.3 percent, according to Bloomberg.

On Wednesday, Tehran expressed its support for the plan to freeze oil production levels, which was put forward by Russia and Saudi Arabia a day earlier.

After meeting with energy ministers from other top crude oil producers, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the country supported the measures that aim to prevent a further drop in oil prices.

Iran backs the proposal, Iranian Shana news agency reported. However, the minister did not specify whether Tehran would curb its own crude production.
Following the Moscow-Riyadh output agreement, Zanganeh met with his counterparts from Iraq, Qatar and Venezuela in the Iranian capital. He assessed the meeting as being positive, TASS news agency reported.

With three OPEC members – Qatar, Venezuela and Kuwait – already having said they are ready to freeze output at January levels, and the UAE saying it's open to cooperation, the fate of the initiative now mostly depends on Iran's participation.

[Feb 16, 2016] The money crunch is hitting just as U.S. production is starting to decline

Notable quotes:
"... The money crunch is hitting just as U.S. production is starting to decline. On Tuesday, the Energy Information Administration estimated that production is down 600,000 barrels per day since April; the agency expects production to fall at least that much again by the end of the year. Without a cash infusion, those declines will only accelerate. ..."
"... If production is falling, does that mean oil prices are going to go back up? Maybe. A popular argument in the oil patch is that the pullback in investment is sowing the seeds for the next surge in prices; oil companies won't be able to boost production quickly enough when it's needed, leading to higher prices. But even if that argument is right, it could take years for such a rebalancing to occur. And besides, as I've argued before, the conventional wisdom on oil is (almost) always wrong . ..."
fivethirtyeight.com
Oil companies have survived low prices this long because banks and investors were willing to lend them billions of dollars on the assumption that the price plunge would be short-lived. But as experts become increasingly convinced that prices will stay low for years, Wall Street is turning off the money spigot. (It doesn't help that the global economic slowdown is making banks more cautious, while the Fed's decision to raise interest rates is making borrowing more expensive.)

The money crunch is hitting just as U.S. production is starting to decline. On Tuesday, the Energy Information Administration estimated that production is down 600,000 barrels per day since April; the agency expects production to fall at least that much again by the end of the year. Without a cash infusion, those declines will only accelerate.

If production is falling, does that mean oil prices are going to go back up? Maybe. A popular argument in the oil patch is that the pullback in investment is sowing the seeds for the next surge in prices; oil companies won't be able to boost production quickly enough when it's needed, leading to higher prices. But even if that argument is right, it could take years for such a rebalancing to occur. And besides, as I've argued before, the conventional wisdom on oil is (almost) always wrong.

[Feb 16, 2016] The US bet big on American oil and now the whole global economy is paying the price

Notable quotes:
"... At the beginning of 2014, the world was marveling in surprise as the US returned as a petroleum superpower, a role it had relinquished in the early 1970s. It was pumping so much oil and gas that experts foresaw a new American industrial renaissance, with trillions of dollars in investment and millions of new jobs. wo years later, faces are aghast as the same oil has instead unleashed world-class havoc: Just a month into the new year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 5.5%. Japan's Nikkei has dropped 8%, and the Stoxx Europe 600 is 6.4% lower. ..."
"... that companies would put on hold $380 billion (and counting) in oil and natural gas field investment, and fire 250,000 industry workers around the world last year (including around 90,000 in the US). ..."
"... A lot of Americans bought houses based on confidence in the boom, and now can't make their payments -Texas has seen a 15% rise in foreclosures, and Oklahoma a whopping 36% increase, according to estimates from RealtyTrac. Morningstar, the rating agency, has put a third of some $340 million in mortgage-backed securities tied to North Dakota apartment buildings and other commercial properties on its watch list for possible default. ..."
Feb 01, 2016 | qz.com

At the beginning of 2014, the world was marveling in surprise as the US returned as a petroleum superpower, a role it had relinquished in the early 1970s. It was pumping so much oil and gas that experts foresaw a new American industrial renaissance, with trillions of dollars in investment and millions of new jobs. wo years later, faces are aghast as the same oil has instead unleashed world-class havoc: Just a month into the new year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 5.5%. Japan's Nikkei has dropped 8%, and the Stoxx Europe 600 is 6.4% lower. The blood on the floor even includes fuel-dependent industries that logic suggests should be prospering, such as airlines.

... ... ...

The analysts defend themselves by noting that they got this and that aspect of oil's trajectory right, which is fair enough. But it seems all missed the big picture: First, they failed to see that from 2011 to 2014, a surge in shale oil production was going to become a big factor in global supplies; then, they did not anticipate that the same oil would create the mayhem before us now. In fact, in the case of the current turmoil, most forecast the precise opposite-economic nirvana. Interviews with the main institutions that made the bad calls reveal no crisis of confidence, and they are busy putting out analyses of the latest developments.

... ... ...

Consumers have been big winners-gasoline prices have plummeted. That part has happened. But analysts failed to anticipate that the Saudis would refuse to cooperate with the shale gale, as it's been dubbed, and in fact would declare war on it, even though Riyadh did precisely the same thing in the 1980s. The analysts did not foretell that, if shale oil production rose as they projected, it could drive down prices not only to the $80-a-barrel average that many forecast, but much lower-so low, for so long (see chart below), that companies would put on hold $380 billion (and counting) in oil and natural gas field investment, and fire 250,000 industry workers around the world last year (including around 90,000 in the US).

... ... ...

Nor did they foresee that many of the companies themselves would be at risk of bankruptcy (42 already filed as of last year). Of 155 US oil and gas companies studied by Standard & Poor's, one third are rated B- or less, meaning they are a high risk of default. These companies' debt is selling at just 56 cents on the dollar, below even the level during the financial crash. As a measure of this vulnerability, the 60 leading US independent oil and gas companies have accumulated $200 billion in debt.

... ... ...

With the collapse in oil prices came the crash of employment in US cities across Louisiana, North Dakota, and Texas, and in Canadian towns reliant on the oil sands boom in Alberta. North Dakota has lost an estimated 13,500 roughnecks and oil engineers, not to mention drivers, restaurant cooks, barbers, and grocery store cashiers in service businesses that sprouted up around them. The Canadian province of Alberta has lost some 20,000 jobs, the most in any industry downturn since the early 1980s.

A lot of Americans bought houses based on confidence in the boom, and now can't make their payments-Texas has seen a 15% rise in foreclosures, and Oklahoma a whopping 36% increase, according to estimates from RealtyTrac. Morningstar, the rating agency, has put a third of some $340 million in mortgage-backed securities tied to North Dakota apartment buildings and other commercial properties on its watch list for possible default.

But the echo has also been heard far from the US shale patch. In the once-booming, toughly run petro-state of Azerbaijan, for instance, people have been in the streets to protest higher prices and lost jobs; the International Monetary Fund, worried about Azerbaijan's possible collapse, is speaking with government officials about a $3 billion bailout.

Soup kitchens are surfacing in Moscow, notwithstanding Russian president Vladimir Putin's assertions that the country is coping fine, and that things will improve this year. African producers also have felt the pain. Like stock bourses around the world, Nigeria's has tanked along with oil prices.

[Feb 16, 2016] Tehran is continuing its battle for market share with the Saudis by cutting its price for heavy crude going to Mediterranean customers by more than a recent Saudi cut

Peak Oil Review

Iran: Tehran is continuing its battle for market share with the Saudis by cutting its price for heavy crude going to Mediterranean customers by more than a recent Saudi cut. The selling price for Iranian Heavy crude is now set at $6.40 below the Brent Weighted Average. For Northwest Europe and South Africa the price is now $6.30 below the Brent Average as compared to $6.00 for Arab crude. This may only be the beginning of price wars between Iran and the Gulf Arabs as Tehran battles to regain the market share it held before the sanctions were imposed.

The postponement of a conference in London at which Tehran was to announce its terms for foreign oil companies wanting to invest in developing Iranian oil shows that there is considerable infighting within the Iranian ruling class. Although the Iranians tried to blame the postponement on troubles getting visas for all the Iranians who wanted to attend, the delay likely was forced by hardline opponents of the Rouhani government who say the proposed agreements violate Iran's constitution which decrees that none of Iran's oil reserves can be owned for foreigners. Iran is seeking some $200 billion in foreign investment to increase its production to 4-5 million b/d. Given the low oil prices, Iran is unlikely to be capable of accumulating the capital to make major increases in its oil production. Some believe the domestic political situation will become worse after the elections when the hardliners make an effort to gain take more control over the oil industry away from moderate President Rouhani and his government.

The lifting of the sanctions my not turn out to be as much of a boom for Iran's economy as many Iranians had hoped. It is doubtful that in these tough times for the oil industry many international oil companies will be interested in deals in which they supply the money and take the risks while allowing the Iranians all the control and most of the benefits from the projects.

In the meantime, Iran is demanding payment for its oil in euros rather than dollars in order to stick it to Washington. The problems of insuring cargoes of Iranian oil, however, seem to be easing. Washington will now allow non-US persons to insure crude and oil products coming from or going to Iran.

[Feb 10, 2016] Insurance Concerns Could Throw Wrench In Iranian Oil Exports

OilPrice.com

Trading giant Vitol says it's already buying Iranian oil, several European oil companies have already chartered tankers for Iranian crude. Total SA has reportedly signed an agreement with Iran to buy 160,000 barrels per day effective from the 16th of February.

Spanish refiner Compania Espanola de Petroleos has booked some provisional Iranian crude cargoes to land in European ports, according to Bloomberg, and Glencore Plc trading house bought a cargo earlier this month.

But Lukoil's trading arm, Swiss-based Litasco, has cancelled its booking of an Iranian cargo to Italy over insurance complications, according to Reuters.

Japan is a step ahead of other prospective importers of Iranian oil. In 2012, Japan's Parliament approved government guarantees on insurance for Iranian crude oil cargoes, circumventing European Union sanctions and allowing for the provision of up to $7.6 billion in coverage for each Iranian crude oil tanker bound for Japan. But that law expires on 31 March, so it may have to go back to parliament for approval if the West hasn't sorted things out by then.

The London-based International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs, which covers some 90 percent of global tonnage through reinsurance, is reportedly in talks with Washington to figure a way out of the insurance quagmire quickly, according to the Wall Street Journal.

[Feb 08, 2016] Iran Signs Oil Deal With European Refiner as Sanctions End

January 22, 2016 | Bloomberg Business

Iran signed an agreement to supply crude oil with Hellenic Petroleum SA, a Greek oil refinery, in what may be the Persian Gulf producer's first such deal with a European company since the removal of international sanctions this month.

Deliveries will begin immediately, Hellenic Petroleum said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. The agreement also includes an adjustment for a financial backlog owed to Iran's state oil company after sanctions imposed four years ago, according to the statement. Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Amir Hossein Zamaninia discussed potential energy co-operation with Greek Energy Minister Panos Skourletis earlier on Friday in Athens.

The oil market is bracing itself for a ramp up in supplies from Iran amid a global supply glut that pushed prices down to a 12-year low. Oil analysts surveyed by Bloomberg anticipate the nation will ship 100,000 barrels a day more crude within a month of sanctions ending, and four times that within half a year. Iran says it will boost exports by 500,000 barrels a day right away.

Europe had been Iran's second-biggest oil customer before sanctions were introduced, purchasing nearly 600,000 barrels a day from the Middle East nation in 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Greece was one of the biggest European importers, buying about 120,000 barrels a day in 2011, data from the International Energy Agency shows.

The return of Iranian oil could send prices even lower, as it fills in the gap left by the decline in U.S. shale production, the IEA warned on Jan. 19. Flows of Iranian crude to Europe may displace similar grades sold by Russia and Iraq, which may in turn be diverted to the U.S., Citigroup Inc. predicts.

European oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA and Total SA have said they're interested in returning to Iran to develop its oil reserves, which are the fourth-biggest in the world.

[Feb 08, 2016] Iran Signs Oil Deal With Total, Deal Done In Euros by Charles Kennedy

Notable quotes:
"... Deals signed just over a week ago when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, in Paris included some 20 agreements and a $25-billion accord under which Iran will purchase 73 long-haul and 45 medium-haul Airbus passenger planes to update its ageing fleet. Carmaker Peugeot-which was forced to pull out of Iran in 2012--also agreed to return to the Iranian market in a five-year deal worth $436 million. ..."
"... In the reverse flow of the new deal, Total has agreed to buy between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels of Iranian crude a day, with company officials also noting that Total would be looking at other opportunities as well in oil, gas, petrochemicals and marketing. ..."
"... According to Iranian media , Total will start importing 160,000 barrels per day in line with a contract that takes effect already on 16 February. ..."
"... Total will likely want back in on this project, and buying Iranian oil surely helps. And Iran, likewise, is eagerly seeking out European markets, with the Iranian Oil Ministry now saying that it's crude oil sales to Europe have exceeded 300,000 barrels per day , counting the Total deal. ..."
"... Iran has recently signed oil contracts not only with French Total, but also with Russian Lukoil's trading arm, Litasco, and Spanish refiner Cepsa. The Ministry says that Italian oil giant Eni is interested in buying 100,000 bpd from Iran, and that such a contract will be discussed soon in Tehran. ..."
"... Iran is seeking to bill its new crude oil sales in euros in order to reduce dependence on the U.S. dollar, the news agency reported, citing an anonymous NIOC source. ..."
"... Washington is not going to appreciate this additional threat to the petro dollar . This would add Iran to the growing list of countries that, over the past few years, have begun to pose a challenge to the current system by forming pacts to transact oil in local currencies. ..."
finance.yahoo.com

As Airbus and Peugeot finally return to post-sanctions Iran, the trade-off is Iranian oil, with French Total SA taking the plunge in an agreement to buy up to 200,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude--but the catch is that sales will be in euros.

Deals signed just over a week ago when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, in Paris included some 20 agreements and a $25-billion accord under which Iran will purchase 73 long-haul and 45 medium-haul Airbus passenger planes to update its ageing fleet. Carmaker Peugeot-which was forced to pull out of Iran in 2012--also agreed to return to the Iranian market in a five-year deal worth $436 million.

In the reverse flow of the new deal, Total has agreed to buy between 150,000 and 200,000 barrels of Iranian crude a day, with company officials also noting that Total would be looking at other opportunities as well in oil, gas, petrochemicals and marketing.

According to Iranian media, Total will start importing 160,000 barrels per day in line with a contract that takes effect already on 16 February.

Total never really left Iran, though. While it stopped all oil exploration and production activities there in 2010, making it one of the last to withdraw, it still maintained an office there.

Since 1990, Total has been a key investor in Iranian energy, playing a role in the development of Iran's Sirri A&E oil and South Pars gas projects. Sanctions also halted its planned involvement in the LNG project linked to Iran's South Pars Phase 11.

But Total's work in Iran hasn't been without its problems-even without sanctions.

In May 2013, Total agreed to pay $398.2 million to settle U.S. criminal and civil allegations that it paid bribes to win oil and gas contracts in Iran. U.S. authorities claimed that between 1995 and 2004, Total paid about $60 million in bribes to an Iranian government official to win lucrative development rights in three South Pars project oil and gas fields. While French prosecutors had recommended that Total and its then-CEO, Christophe de Margerie, be tried on these charges, De Margerie's premature death in a Moscow plane crash put paid to that and the case was discontinued.

At stake here is Iran's prized South Pars, which holds some 14 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and 18 billion barrels of gas condensates. Or in other words, 7.5 percent of the world's natural gas and half of Iran's total reserves.

And Phase 11 of this project is what the supermajors are eyeing. Total was dismissed from Phase 11 in 2009 and its portion of the project was awarded to China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which then pulled out in 2012 under the bite of sanctions. In September 2015, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) transferred the uncompleted portions of Phase 11 to Iranian companies.

Total will likely want back in on this project, and buying Iranian oil surely helps. And Iran, likewise, is eagerly seeking out European markets, with the Iranian Oil Ministry now saying that it's crude oil sales to Europe have exceeded 300,000 barrels per day, counting the Total deal.

Iran has recently signed oil contracts not only with French Total, but also with Russian Lukoil's trading arm, Litasco, and Spanish refiner Cepsa.

The Ministry says that Italian oil giant Eni is interested in buying 100,000 bpd from Iran, and that such a contract will be discussed soon in Tehran.

But there is a catch, as reported by Reuters. Iran is seeking to bill its new crude oil sales in euros in order to reduce dependence on the U.S. dollar, the news agency reported, citing an anonymous NIOC source.

Washington is not going to appreciate this additional threat to the petro dollar. This would add Iran to the growing list of countries that, over the past few years, have begun to pose a challenge to the current system by forming pacts to transact oil in local currencies.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

[Feb 03, 2016] President Rouhani stormed around Europe signing oil contracts and spending Iran freed up cash

Notable quotes:
"... Tehran had a big week as President Rouhani stormed around Europe signing oil contracts and spending Iran's windfall of newly freed up cash by making many major purchases. In Italy, he signed deals including shipbuilding, steel, and energy worth some $18 billion. In France, he bought 118 Airbus airliners for $24 billion, made a $400 million car manufacturing deal with Peugeot, and signed a deal with Total for 200,000 b/d of Iranian crude. This should help Rouhani in the upcoming elections as a man who keeps his promises to revive the Iranian economy. ..."
www.resilience.org
Iran:

Tehran had a big week as President Rouhani stormed around Europe signing oil contracts and spending Iran's windfall of newly freed up cash by making many major purchases. In Italy, he signed deals including shipbuilding, steel, and energy worth some $18 billion. In France, he bought 118 Airbus airliners for $24 billion, made a $400 million car manufacturing deal with Peugeot, and signed a deal with Total for 200,000 b/d of Iranian crude. This should help Rouhani in the upcoming elections as a man who keeps his promises to revive the Iranian economy.

Beijing is making a major effort to improve its relations with Tehran. During the sanctions, China continued to build a new $200 million steel mill for the Iranians, circumventing the restrictions imposed by the US and Europe. Last week a freight train set off on the 6,000 mile trip to Tehran from eastern China, marking the first rail connection between the two countries along the new "silk road." China is hoping that Iran will become a major gateway for selling its products into the Middle East and will become a source of oil.

Based on tanker loading schedules, Tehran is due to increase its oil exports in January and February by 20 percent over last year. Iran's exports look to be about 1.5 million b/d in January and 1.4 million in February. This compares with an average of 1.2 million b/d last year. Much of this oil was already stored on tankers which provided storage for unsold crude during the sanctions. How much oil was in storage has been debated, but a recent Reuters report puts the amount at 40 million barrels– mostly condensate which has to be sold quickly to free up Iran's tankers for regular crude deliveries. Many western shippers still have concerns about doing business with Tehran as there are still numerous sanctions in place which could lead to heavy penalties for doing business with Iranians, especially if the Republican Guard is somehow involved.

[Jan 30, 2016] Iran will receive approximately $55 billion in sanctions relief once the nuclear deal is implemented

Notable quotes:
"... He explained that Iran will not be able to access much of its money that has been locked up overseas due to sanctions because the money has already been committed elsewhere. ..."
"... On Wednesday, Lew estimated that Iran's demand for domestic investment surpasses $500 billion, and that it will cost between $100 billion and $200 billion to restore production levels in its oil and gas sector. ..."
www.theguardian.com

tigressnsnow 30 Jan 2016 19:01

Why do Republicans put out the notion that the Iran deal was Obama's idea and that Iran gets $150 billion. This is totally incorrect. It's a deal from the 5 countries in the UN Security Council + Germany & the EU and Iran. This from the Huffington Post:-

"WASHINGTON -- Iran will receive approximately $55 billion in sanctions relief once the nuclear deal is implemented, said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew -- a fraction of the $150 billion that critics of the agreement have claimed will go to the country.

"There is a lot of discussion out there that Iran is going to somehow get $150 billion as soon as sanctions are lifted. That is incorrect," said Lew, speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday. He explained that Iran will not be able to access much of its money that has been locked up overseas due to sanctions because the money has already been committed elsewhere.

Last week, Lew told a group of senators that over $20 billion of Iran's frozen assets has already been committed to infrastructure projects with China, and that Iran owes an additional "tens of billions" of dollars on nonperforming loans to its energy and banking sectors.

On Wednesday, Lew estimated that Iran's demand for domestic investment surpasses $500 billion, and that it will cost between $100 billion and $200 billion to restore production levels in its oil and gas sector.

[Jan 29, 2016] Crude Combat Riyadh Reduced Oil Prices to Hurt Russia and Iran

sputniknews.com
By reducing oil prices, Saudi Arabia is waging a secret war against Russia and Iran, according to political analyst Bassam Tahhan.

In an interview with RT , political analyst Bassam Tahhan said that Saudi Arabia and the other countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are trying to force down oil prices in order to harm Iran and a number of other oil-producing countries, including Russia.

"A secret war is being waged by Saudi Arabia and Gulf Cooperation Council states which are slashing oil prices so as to strangle Iran, Russia, Algeria and Venezuela, as well as the entire 'anti-American' axis created by these countries," Tahhan said.

He explained that all those countries had refused to adhere to Washington's demands with regard to Ukraine , Syria and Yemen .

According to Tahhan, the oil spat between Riyadh and Tehran is unlikely to lead to a war, given Iran's military potential and the sheer territory of the country.

What's more, he said, Saudi Arabia will fail to prod the UN or the West to issue a resolution to condemn Iran and authorize invasion of the country.

Rather, Saudi Arabia itself may be attacked by Iran's allies, such as Yemen, a scenario that Tahhan said may see Saudi oil fields destroyed and oil prices rise.

At the same time, he noted that the United States is unlikely to say "no" to the war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, because Washington could supply arms to both parties to the conflict.

Earlier this month, international business analyst Ralph Winnie told Sputnik that Saudi Arabia has dropped its oil prices to try and wreck the Iranian economy and keep Tehran's oil exports out of major European markets.

"The Saudis are looking to gain a competitive advantage: this is a response to the lifting of Western economic sanctions on Iran , which allow the Iranians to reenter the global energy marketplace," he said.

His remarks came after the Saudi oil giant Aramco announced that it would cut oil prices for Europe, apparently in preparation for Iran's resumption of oil exports to the region later this year.

He was echoed by Executive Intelligence Review senior editor Jeff Steinberg , who said in a separate interview with Sputnik that by slashing their oil prices, the Saudis were targeting US and Russian oil producers as well as the Iranian ones.

[Jan 25, 2016] How quickly can Iran get its oil groove back - Fuel for Thought by Margaret McQuaile

Notable quotes:
"... According to the IEA, 60% of Iran's initial 500,000 b/d of new exports could be made up of Iranian Heavy, 30% of Iranian Light and the remainder consisting of a new heavy grade called West of Karun, which is due to make its debut in the second quarter. ..."
"... Fesharaki says the volume of condensate is somewhere between 30 and 50 million barrels whereas the volume of crude stored afloat is between 10 and 15 million barrels. ..."
"... - Margaret McQuaile ..."
The Barrel Blog
The IEA also highlights the marketing challenge and expects Iran not only to be competitive in its pricing policy, but also to be open to crude-for-product swaps and deferred payment terms.

In the meantime, the IEA believes Iran has made considerable progress in readying its oil network and identifying prospective buyers and reckons an additional 300,000 b/d of crude could be flowing by the end of the March this year, although it does make the point that for now this volume is speculative.

It estimates that Iran increased production by 40,000 b/d between November and December to help fill storage tanks at the Kharg Island loading terminal in preparation for the lifting of sanctions and expects Iranian oil flows to rise towards pre-sanctions capacity of 3.6 million b/d within six months.

According to the IEA, 60% of Iran's initial 500,000 b/d of new exports could be made up of Iranian Heavy, 30% of Iranian Light and the remainder consisting of a new heavy grade called West of Karun, which is due to make its debut in the second quarter.

... ... ...

Fereidun Fesharaki, chairman of consultancy Facts Global Energy, expects a 300,000 b/d export boost by end-March and another 300,000 b/d by end-June. Early volumes will head largely to Asia, where mechanisms for taking Iranian crude are already in place, he says in a note, while operational and banking issues will delay the European ramp-up to the second quarter.

... ... ...

Fesharaki says the volume of condensate is somewhere between 30 and 50 million barrels whereas the volume of crude stored afloat is between 10 and 15 million barrels. The bulk of the floating condensate is likely to go to China, Japan and South Korea, he says.

Iran will need to free up its tanker fleet as soon as possible to deliver crude but selling these condensate barrels, given their "specialized nature," could prove to be tough, the agency says. So, until substantial volumes of this ultra-light oil can be sold, Iran will likely concentrate on selling crude from Kharg Island.

- Margaret McQuaile

[Jan 22, 2016] Iran with population over 80 millions might soon becaome a net importer

Notable quotes:
"... Besides having 2.5 times the population of Saudi, I am of the impression that they have a much more western style economy. That is, they probably have a decent manufacturing base in order to construct nuclear reactors, guided missiles, ships, most of their own military weapons, roads, cars, etc. and to support a decent sized army of their own. Are they heavy into wind, solar and battery power?? ..."
"... Clueless, if by the end of the year Iran is producing an extra nickel, it wont offset the decline in fields being erased off the map at $65 per barrel. ..."
"... Today we have this oil price conflict that is shaping the future of OPEC in 3-5 years. It is conflict for majority control of the cheapest exporting oil within the OPEC. ..."
"... Iran with its young and fast growing population faces internal consumption problem similar to what Malaysia have and might well stop to be the major oil exporter in a couple of decades. ..."
"... OPEC to a certain extent is gone after Saudis decision to lift quote regime. It remains some kind of umbrella organization, but it is no longer a cartel - they are unable to act as a single unit in their own economic interests. ..."
"... My impression is Saudis are dumping their oil on the market due to some non-economic considerations. Financially they are committing a suicide depleting their foreign reserves and winning very little (if at all) in terms of market share while their fields are aging fast. Essentially what they are doing is stealing oil from future generations making the mere existence of the country problematic in 50 years or so. The diversification of their economy is very difficult to implement. Politically they also alienated a lot of countries who might be able to help them. Especially during the rule of a 30 years old deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Clueless, 01/20/2016 at 11:20 am

If by the end of this year Iran is producing 500,000 bbl/day more oil, I am curious how much of that will be available for "net export?" By net, I mean using Jeffrey's methods. That is, I believe that a lot of Iran's current oil production is exported and then returned to them as refined product.

I would note that Iran's population is currently over 80 million people, about 10 million more than in 2005. I think that the least amount that anyone has for use internally by Saudi Arabia is 3 million bbls/day, and that is with a population of only 32 million. So, if Iran is going to invest the $100+ billion, which was just released to them, on infrastructure projects, I kind of have a gut feel that they might themselves use most of their own production. But, I am puzzled even by current figures. I do not understand how Iran can net export oil with current production of around 2.8 million bbl/day.

Besides having 2.5 times the population of Saudi, I am of the impression that they have a much more western style economy. That is, they probably have a decent manufacturing base in order to construct nuclear reactors, guided missiles, ships, most of their own military weapons, roads, cars, etc. and to support a decent sized army of their own. Are they heavy into wind, solar and battery power??

Fernando Leanme , 01/20/2016 at 11:54 am
Clueless, if by the end of the year Iran is producing an extra nickel, it won't offset the decline in fields being erased off the map at $65 per barrel.
Dennis Coyne , 01/20/2016 at 5:27 pm
Is a "nickel" aka 500 kb/d?
Fernando Leanme , 01/21/2016 at 6:44 am
Yep.
Ves , 01/20/2016 at 11:58 am
Clueless,

It is not about how much Iran can export now, but 3-5-7 years from now. Today we have this oil price conflict that is shaping the future of OPEC in 3-5 years. It is conflict for majority control of the cheapest exporting oil within the OPEC.

Which group of countries have the majority control of that oil will have a controlling oil policy within the OPEC and outside of OPEC.

likbez, 01/23/2016 at 12:01 am
Ves,

Iran with its young and fast growing population faces internal consumption problem similar to what Malaysia have and might well stop to be the major oil exporter in a couple of decades.

So your statement "It is not about how much Iran can export now, but 3-5-7 years from now" should by slightly amended by the fact of growing Iran internal consumption. Also it is unclear how much of their fields are depleted and how effective will be investment into their oil infrastructure. They will remain major gas producer, but whether they are capable to became again a major oil producer is much less clear.

Why do you think that this is "conflict for majority control of the cheapest exporting oil within the OPEC." OPEC to a certain extent is gone after Saudis decision to lift quote regime. It remains some kind of umbrella organization, but it is no longer a cartel - they are unable to act as a single unit in their own economic interests.

I think that this conflict is exaggerated by Western MSM, who literally push one country against the other trying to find and amplify any statements to this effect. The main claim of Iran to Saudis was "we want our OPEC quota back" to which Saudis responded by lifting the quota system effectively disbanding the OPEC. Now Iran leadership is making statements which essentially play into Saudis hands promising to flood the market with their oil (selling it for peanuts; not a very wise policy). In other words they act as allies (in self destruction).

My impression is Saudis are dumping their oil on the market due to some non-economic considerations. Financially they are committing a suicide depleting their foreign reserves and winning very little (if at all) in terms of market share while their fields are aging fast. Essentially what they are doing is stealing oil from future generations making the mere existence of the country problematic in 50 years or so. The diversification of their economy is very difficult to implement. Politically they also alienated a lot of countries who might be able to help them. Especially during the rule of a 30 years old deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman

Iran is quite a different story. They probably will continue to exist even if they stop to be an oil exporter and became an oil importer. So for them becoming a major oil exporter again is not a survival issue. It would be nice, yes, and will increase standard of living in the country.

[Jan 18, 2016] Iran production and inventories by James_Hamilton

Looks like existing Iran stored liquids is mostly condensate and diesel fuel. also increasing og production in current circumstances is difficult and counterproductive. Looks like Iran choose the path of processing its oil and shipping processed products instead.
Notable quotes:
"... Iran intends to increase oil exports by 500,000 b/d right away, in addition to the 30 million barrels Iran has stored in oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. ..."
"... Iranian sources claim that their floating storage consists of fuel oil and condensate, but I guess we will find out: http://www.reuters.com/article/iran-oil-idUSL3N1021Z120150723 ..."
econbrowser.com

And next up will be Iran, whose production has been depressed as a result of international sanctions that are now being lifted.

Iran intends to increase oil exports by 500,000 b/d right away, in addition to the 30 million barrels Iran has stored in oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

Monthly Iran field production of crude oil, thousands of barrels per day, Jan 1973 to Sept 2015.  Data source: EIA Monthly Energy Review.

Monthly Iran field production of crude oil, thousands of barrels per day, Jan 1973 to Sept 2015. Data source: EIA Monthly Energy Review .

Jeffrey J. Brown January 17, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Iranian sources claim that their floating storage consists of fuel oil and condensate, but I guess we will find out: http://www.reuters.com/article/iran-oil-idUSL3N1021Z120150723

[Jan 18, 2016] Iran to boost oil output by 500,000 barrels a day

Jan 18, 2016 | RT Business

"Iran is able to increase its oil production by 500,000 barrels a day after the lifting of sanctions, and the order to increase production was issued today," said Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi, who also heads the National Iranian Oil Company.

Oil prices fell below $28 a barrel on Monday as the market braced for additional Iranian exports. Prices recovered during the day with Brent crude trading at over $29 by 2.00pm GMT.

Iran hopes to raise oil exports by around one million barrels per day within a year.

[Jan 18, 2016] Does anybody here believe that Iran can just open a few taps and instantly produce 500,000 additional bpd

Notable quotes:
"... Or are they just going to shift existing exports to another part of the world? Or is the whole thing just talk? ..."
peakoilbarrel.com

Frugal , 01/17/2016 at 1:52 pm

Oil price woes deepen as Iran vows to add 500,000 barrels a day

Does anybody here believe that Iran can just open a few taps and instantly produce 500,000 additional barrels/day?

Or are they just going to shift existing exports to another part of the world? Or is the whole thing just talk?

[Jan 18, 2016] Iran to Maintain Max Production at Joint Fields

Notable quotes:
"... Iran will continue the policy of maximum production from the joint oil and gas fields and that it has plans to enhance recovery from the fields in the post-sanctions era ..."
"... Our next priority is oil production from West Karoun fields so that in the next eight months, production will touch 200,000 barrels a day and will increase to 700,000 barrels by the end of the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan ..."
"... We also hope to increase production of condensates in South Pars field to one million barrels a day by the end of current governments term ..."
"... in less than 20 years, the value of petrochem products multiplied from one billion dollars to 18 billion dollars. ..."
"... In the field of refineries, it is decided that the capacity will be boosted from the current 1.7 million barrels a day to 3 million barrels, Zangeneh added. He anticipated that with continuation of support programs for the production chain, petrochemical production can hit 70 billion dollars a year. (Source: Safana) ..."
www.shana.ir
TEHRAN, Jan. 18 (Shana) – Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said that Iran will continue the policy of maximum production from the joint oil and gas fields and that it has plans to enhance recovery from the fields in the post-sanctions era.

"Even during sanctions period (forced reduction in production), we had laid the principle that the reduction shall not include the joint fields," he said in a televised interview with the national Channel One news bulletin.

"During these years which we launched five South Pars phases, it meant an increased production of 150 million cubic meters of gas and 200,000 barrels of gas condensates from the joint field," Zangeneh added. "Our next priority is oil production from West Karoun fields so that in the next eight months, production will touch 200,000 barrels a day and will increase to 700,000 barrels by the end of the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan."

"We also hope to increase production of condensates in South Pars field to one million barrels a day by the end of current government's term," the minister said. Zangeneh stressed development of petrochemical industry among the downstream projects and said that in less than 20 years, the value of petrochem products multiplied from one billion dollars to 18 billion dollars.

"In few years, it will catch up to 26 billion dollars and by the end Fifth Development Plan it will hit above 40 billion dollars," he said.

"In the field of refineries, it is decided that the capacity will be boosted from the current 1.7 million barrels a day to 3 million barrels," Zangeneh added. He anticipated that with continuation of support programs for the production chain, petrochemical production can hit 70 billion dollars a year." (Source: Safana)

[Jan 18, 2016] Iran Increases Oil Export on Sanctions Removal Day President Rouhani

Notable quotes:
"... Some outcomes of the removal of sanctions are immediate. For example, we increased export of crude oil as of today and also some 1,000 LCs were opened just today by the banks which used to be under sanctions, he told a press conference after announcement of the sanctions withdrawal earlier in the day. ..."
"... Iran had announced that it is set to increase oil exports as soon as sanctions are removed for 500,000 barrels a days and that it will further add it to another 500,000 barrels in a short span of time. ..."
www.shana.ir
TEHRAN, Jan. 17 (Shana) – President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Iran has started increasing its export of crude oil on the Implementation Day of the nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"Some outcomes of the removal of sanctions are immediate. For example, we increased export of crude oil as of today and also some 1,000 LCs were opened just today by the banks which used to be under sanctions," he told a press conference after announcement of the sanctions withdrawal earlier in the day.

Iran had announced that it is set to increase oil exports as soon as sanctions are removed for 500,000 barrels a days and that it will further add it to another 500,000 barrels in a short span of time.

President Rouhani also said Iran will continue following the policy of resistive economy in the post-sanctions era.

The next year's draft budget bill which was submitted to the Parliament on Sunday has the least dependency on crude oil revenues, he added.

During the question-answer session with domestic and foreign media, Rouhani said Iran's private sector will be revitalized to employ the opportunities in the wake of removal of sanctions.

To a query on Iran's reaction to a possible change in the US policy in future by the hardliners regarding the nuclear deal with Iran, he underlined that Tehran will proportionately react to such likely breaches of the agreement.

"There is no ground for resumption of the UNSC sanctions… And the US government's commitments within JCPOA shall continue under UNSC Resolution 2231 regardless of the party taking power in its hands."

He added that Iran is ready for the investment and technology transfer by US companies in Iran noting that limitations in this regard lie on the other side.

"If Americans want to invest in Iran, there is no limitation here. Recently, they provided facilities for sale of commercial planes (to Iran) and removed barriers on export of some Iranian goods," he said.

Asked on future relations with China and Italy, President Rouhani said Iran will not forget the friendly countries that remained in trade contacts with the Islamic Republic and will increase its ties with them after sanctions removal.

He also criticized Saudi Arabia and certain Islamic countries in the region which negatively reacted to the withdrawal of sanctions in a fellow Islamic country.

[Jan 17, 2016] $200 bn in debt looms over American oil and gas

Notable quotes:
"... Tempted by big returns, shale companies have borrowed more than $200 billion in bonds and loans, from Wall Street and London, to cover development and projects that may not even come to fruition. Oil producers' debt since 2010 has increased more than 55 percent, and revenues have slowed, rising only 36 percent from September 2014, compared to 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal. ..."
"... On Sunday, the first shale company filed for bankruptcy. WBH Energy LP, a private Texas-based drilling group, filed for bankruptcy after saying that their lender was no longer willing to advance money. The company estimates their debt between $10-50 million. There are hundreds more in the US alone. ..."
"... Analysts believe North American shale needs to sell at $60-100 per barrel to break even on the billions of debt accrued by the energy companies. Indebted companies, fearing bankruptcy, may therefore be forced to keep selling oil, even at a loss. ..."
"... Energy companies that can afford it will cut production, but this will prove more difficult for smaller companies with larger debt hanging over their balance sheets. ..."
"... "It begins in one place like fracking in North Dakota or Texas, but it very quickly engulfs the rest of the world. In that way, its very similar to what happened in 2008… when billions of dollars were lent to people to buy homes they couldn't pay off," economist Richard Wolff told RT. ..."
"... The industry expanded rapidly, as the method proved capable of extracting oil and gas faster and easier than before, albeit with a certain environmental cost. Fracking can increase seismic activity, as well as penetrate water systems. Many states in the US have followed European nations in banning the oil extraction method. ..."
Jan 07, 2015 | www.rt.com
Plummeting Brent oil prices are putting pressure on North American shale, which has sunk hundreds of billions of dollars into investment, and could soon come crashing down.

Tempted by big returns, shale companies have borrowed more than $200 billion in bonds and loans, from Wall Street and London, to cover development and projects that may not even come to fruition. Oil producers' debt since 2010 has increased more than 55 percent, and revenues have slowed, rising only 36 percent from September 2014, compared to 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Fracking, the process of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling on land is much more expensive than the average water-based oilrig. However, over the past years, it has become relatively cheap and fast. Energy companies, eager to get in on the riches of the American oil boom, have been borrowing money faster than they have been earning it.

On Sunday, the first shale company filed for bankruptcy. WBH Energy LP, a private Texas-based drilling group, filed for bankruptcy after saying that their lender was no longer willing to advance money. The company estimates their debt between $10-50 million. There are hundreds more in the US alone.

Analysts believe North American shale needs to sell at $60-100 per barrel to break even on the billions of debt accrued by the energy companies. Indebted companies, fearing bankruptcy, may therefore be forced to keep selling oil, even at a loss.

One way to avoid going bust is to merge, which is what many companies already have on the negotiation bloc.

"We've already seen Baker Hughes and Halliburton agree to merger, and these were two titans that used to compete head to head," Ed Hirs, managing director independent oil and gas company Hillhouse Resources, told RT. "They've decided they can't survive separately, they need to combine," Hirs said.

The Texas-based driller believes that lower prices and major mergers will hinder progress in the industry.

"We will see a loss of tech. innovation and a loss of competition in the oil service business," Hirs said.

Energy companies that can afford it will cut production, but this will prove more difficult for smaller companies with larger debt hanging over their balance sheets.

Oil prices lost more than 50 percent in 2014, and have already dropped 10 percent in 2015. Futures dramatically dipped when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided not to curb production at their November meeting.

Some experts believe the decision not to cut production, which would have alleviated oil prices, was a direct strategic move by the cartel to reduce the profitability of North American oil fields, from Alberta to Oklahoma. In the past five years, the US has moved from being one of the world's biggest oil customers to the largest producer, even overtaking Saudi Arabia.

Bubble burst?

This 'bubble' of debt could come crashing down on oil companies, as the housing bubble did on the sub-prime mortgage industry in 2008, which sparked a crisis in global financial markets.

"It begins in one place like fracking in North Dakota or Texas, but it very quickly engulfs the rest of the world. In that way, its very similar to what happened in 2008… when billions of dollars were lent to people to buy homes they couldn't pay off," economist Richard Wolff told RT.

The industry expanded rapidly, as the method proved capable of extracting oil and gas faster and easier than before, albeit with a certain environmental cost. Fracking can increase seismic activity, as well as penetrate water systems. Many states in the US have followed European nations in banning the oil extraction method.

[Jan 17, 2016] Oil and US share prices tumble over fears for global economy

www.theguardian.com
Sowatree -> Ibmekon, 2016-01-14 00:24:57
I did hear on the radio last week that there appears an economic war is being played out between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Truth of this I don't know.

But, what does concern the world at these prices are major trading companies may go bust. On derivatives and oil futures somewhere someone is carrying huge losses.

And, concerning the world economy derivatives are a markets of 70 or more trillions dollars , enormous markets, as Warren Buffet once said derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.

Somewhere in the world financial system huge losses on derivatives are sitting.

World Politicians shied away from the tough decisions under the guise of quantitative easing. QE appears to have caused greater missallocation of resources.

2008 financial crisis is reemerging from its dormant position. 2008 was just push further down the road.

Social Cohesion in Britain needs this time to really all be in this together.

Ibmekon -> Sowatree, 2016-01-14 09:01:38
" On derivatives and oil futures somewhere someone is carrying huge losses. "

The Big Lie - "zero sum game".
If that is true - play Monopoly in your own time with your own money.
That "zero sum game" pays billions in profits - so where does the money come from ?

"Financial institutions held OTC swaps with a notional value of $505 trillion at the end of 2014, "
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-06/europe-moves-to-reduce-risk-in-505-trillion-derivatives-market

Ibmekon -> Ruth Williams, 2016-01-13 21:42:54
Would love to know that myself.
This is a much too specific question for an economist - like asking for the winner of the 2-30 at Kempton.
Perspective is always a good thing -

Debt per Citizen £24,560
Interest per Year £39,648,610,427
UK Debt £ 1,590,708,970,219
Debt as % of GDP 80.81%
http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/unitedkingdom

BantosaurusRex , 2016-01-13 21:14:21
This is what happens when central banks across the world inflate the biggest bubbles the world has ever seen by keeping interest rates at near zero percent for 7 years. Let's make one thing clear - China is not the only culprit for the latest fears over the global economy, to say that many western economies such as the US or the UK have recovered or are on the road to recovery would be disingenuous to say the least.

We have been scraping along at the lowest rate of so-called "recovery" (debt-fueled with ZIRP) after a recession despite these interest rates - what would it have been like if rates were increased a couple of years ago? One can only guess, but it would be fair to estimate that we would be back in a recession.

So, here we are again, back at the latter stages of the next cycle in the boom-bust oscillations of our global economy - and "is this time different"? Yes, but only by the measure that this time there is little that central banks can do to mitigate or even slow the financial crisis. The 2008 crisis never really ended, this year we will undoubtedly see that the real part of that crisis is about to unfold - capitalism should be allowed to take place this time, and if that means huge corporations filing then so be it.

Ibmekon -> BantosaurusRex, 2016-01-13 21:24:02
"if that means huge corporations filing then so be it."

I agree - but they are Ok, in fact loaded with cash.

"May 8, 2015 At the end of last year, U.S. non-financial companies held a staggering $1.73 trillion in cash, up 4% from the $1.67 trillion on hand at the end of 2013, found Moody's."
http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome /

So much of the debt has been loaded on sovereigns - what will they do - file for bankruptcy ?

John Olesen , 2016-01-13 21:17:29
OPEC should not allow members to sell oil at a financial loss. Oil is trading below its intrinsic value and there are serious imbalances in the market. Member countries that sell oil below market value lose money in two ways. They add supply to a depressed market and they lose money on the transaction itself. It would make much more sense for OPEC to target minimum profitability as their primary goal for all members rather than trying to use their market position to eliminate producers in the United States.

Since most of the large energy companies in the United States are publicly traded, it would be better for OPEC members to use their profits to purchase equity in these companies rather than trying to make them unprofitable. I propose that OPEC target a specific and stable price long term and then to adjust that price for inflation. For instance, if it is determined that all members can profit at 70 dollar oil, then they should lower production when the price is below that and increase it when it is above that. Member countries then use a percentage of their profits to increase their reserves with share purchases of other non-opec producers, thus increasing reserves long term.

ID7586903 , 2016-01-13 21:33:29
Saudi Arabia has again badly miscalculated. By pumping vast amount of Oil, KSA thought it could sink America, Russia and Iran oil companies and Economies
Well it seems KSA is going broke! I am celebrating...
Ibmekon -> ID7586903, 2016-01-13 21:58:05
Make of this what you will. There is talk of Aramco being floated - biggest IPO ever.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-could-list-crude-reserves-in-aramco-ipo-1452509304

Current Saudi finance minster is Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf

"After leaving academia, Ibrahim moved to Washington, DC where he represented Saudi Arabia at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank
...
In addition to being finance minister, Ibrahim is a member of the board of directors of Saudi Aramco (since 1996), the state-owned national oil company,
...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_Abdulaziz_Al-Assaf

makesnoadasense -> ID7586903, 2016-01-13 22:03:02
I wouldn't celebrate too soon, it would appear that there is a looming $200bn debt over American oil and gas...

https://www.rt.com/business/220619-shale-debt-us-companies /

coplani , 2016-01-13 22:25:44
Is this history repeating itself?...but in China.
1998 Russian financial crisis.....Their stock market collapsed followed by a run on the ruble which was devalued.
Most Russians suffered as their pensions, wages etc were severely devalued.
Same could be happening today in both China and Russia...

Financial war....Dinosaurs versus dinosaurs.
How to wreck a country....Trash it's markets and currency.
It's the law of the jungle.....The strongest survive.
However Russia and China will not take it lying down....Scary times indeed.

It seems that the Chinese market is under the greatest pressure...only to be propped up by the government pumping money into it. (printing money)...result will be their currency devalues and everybody in China suffers.

It has happened many times to many countries before...e.g. Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Russia etc....

Ciarán Here -> coplani , 2016-01-13 23:21:25
It's not Russian or China that is "printing" money have you not heard of quantitative easing in the USA $85billion dollars a month.
Penfisher , 2016-01-13 22:28:30
Two quick points.
First, OPEC has increased flow to destabilise Russian & Iranian profits. However, this situation demonstrates that the price of oil should never have been much higher.
Second, China has a better approach to wealth re-distribution than OPEC nations and all advanced economies. If a genuine desire to increase economic activity were expressed then wealth sitting in secret accounts and held by the top 10% would be taxed & spread to the true wheel of economy: ordinary people with poor purchasing power.
bonkthebonk , 2016-01-13 22:50:54
Finally time to unwind?

When the debt merchants, the money alchemists and voracious volatility vultures start panicking (Hey, it's all relative. Don't worry, THEY'LL be fine) and looking for 'safe havens' (anything deemed to have an intrinsic value, but still not gold as, 'we're not bloody savages, y'know...yet'), when prices, particularly the golden goose commodities that kept them in (debt fertilised) speculative clover in their (hopefully fitful) sleep, start to reflect genuine economic reality, then you know it's probably squeaky bum time for the hapless cannon fodder that didn't cause this train wreck, reaped little of its rewards, but nevertheless will bear the brunt of its consequences yet again.

ronnewmexico -> bonkthebonk , 2016-01-13 22:58:38
High rate temporary debt junk bonds are already failing. Those issued on the small oil drillers. But it is a relatively small part of the junk bond market itself nevertheless financial institutions overall.
Small companies are due to fail and will. the larger ones will pick up the pieces at rock bottom prices and things will go on.
ronnewmexico , 2016-01-13 22:55:07
The numbers anywhere in developed economies don't support recession. China by the worst guesses is still par on GDP. By most takes between 4 and 7 increasing GDP. With the looming effects of el nino on India I would not say it could enter a recession in the next 6 months but that would be a isolated event. The US no where close. People are taking the low oil prices as a read on the economy. It is not this time global consumption is going up not down. It is a supply glut.
SirWillis -> ronnewmexico , 2016-01-14 00:39:56
I live near KSA, and I see first-hand how corrupt and morally bankrupt the whole thing is. I also see how incredibly subsidised EVERYTHING is. The people of these countries are little more than spoiled children, with no incentive to work properly or even understand the businesses they are in. Russia has a much more diverse economy, in KSA it is almost entirely oil. The rest of it is industries that rely on oil money - such as the construction sector.

Offering an IPO on KSA's oil will expose the total incompetence and corruption behind the company, I don't know how they hope to hide it all. So, you're right, all is far from well. I will be packing my bags at the first sign of revolution, which I predict will be in 3-5 years. I don't think people yet realise how bad things are going to get once KSA implodes and Iran and ISIS seek to take advantage. It's going to be ugly, and I must admit, I'm a little scared.

PhilPharLap , 2016-01-13 23:21:51
the reason you have a collapsing global economy is because the idiots created one through a battery of Free Trade Agreements that were aimed at over -riding local sovereignty and democracy and accessing scab labour on an international scale

It didn't work did it - by dismantling local industry and exporting manufacture to countries like China the middle class in the West made itself redundant

Welcome to the great unwashed guys - you are one of us now and with less skills to survive - I don't think your economic and managerial skills will impress anyone

You did it all to yourselves ...Get in the queue for the welfare you denied others - and reflect:

"So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."

Or alternatively put - "and wait your turn!"

ronnewmexico -> ronnewmexico , 2016-01-13 23:52:05
People are confusing the stock market with the economy. The economy is ho humming along. The market is artificially inflated in value by above stated factors. Not by a whole bunch but enough to make a sell off of minor sort a probable.
Earnings will once again be real and not a thing of less stock per earning share., Report
AshleyPomeroy -> ronnewmexico , 2016-01-13 23:59:03
I wish I could upvote this twice. It's not like e.g the dot.com crash, where a bunch of hopeless money-losing pipe dreams fell apart. Facebook, Apple et al actually make a profit and have a niche, it's just that with so many other investments offering desultory returns, the stock market has been pumped up by desperate speculators.
Blackbag1999 , 2016-01-14 00:21:18
I am not sure why people think the Saudis are in trouble.

Most of the shale is becoming uneconomical to recover if you believe the forward curve. $50 oil for 5+ years, they will need closer to $100 to go back to the capped wells. The frackers are just taking the first 30% of the cheapest oil to produce (1st 18 months), capping and moving on. They are churning through oil reserves at 3 times the rate to do it.

They can still do it until they get to debt repayment. Anyone thinking the industry got ultra efficient over night is optimistic feller.

The reality is shale gas is not the primary concern. They want rid of artic, deep water and tar sands. My guess is the Saudis would be more than happy to let the US be the swing producer as shale is far more flexible. Shale was the trigger not the problem.

mrfunbro , 2016-01-14 01:43:18
I'd be quite happy to see the whole stock market free fall. The current inequity and greed deserves it's reward. Money for nothing investors and free loader corporations that don't pay their share of taxation will be the ones who go down. A new system is required to break away from the old established power and energy companies that have led us to the brink of devastating our planet.
backatchya , 2016-01-14 02:00:21
The capitalists are the victims of themselves. Fortunately for them, they own the wealthiest states on the planet. And therefore, can always expect welfare, social assistance and
bail-outs whenever they burst another bubble. Socialism for the rich.

We are a stupid species to put up with this casino scam. If you disagree with the ponzy scheme, start by supporting Sanders in the U.S. and Corbyn in the U.K. At least it's a modest beginning to opposing these criminals.

If_Not_Why_Not , 2016-01-14 02:50:01
China stock piling oil is a good idea, may help explain recent capital outflows , of which the article does not explain the opaque /nebulous financial details of these movements. It maybe China shuffling pieces on a board.

"The country's global trade surplus widened by 21% to $60bn in December. Over the whole year it was $594bn. The country's trade surplus in December with the European Union, its biggest trading partner, increased 36.8% to $15.6bn. The surplus with the US contracted 6% to $19.4bn."

No doubt the figures need to treated like all PRC figures.
That said it is undeniable that China had another huge trade surplus.
Yet despite this they manage to cheat on their exchange rate and devalue the Yuan.
The Currency/Trade Wars are in full swing..

HollyOldDog -> litesp33d1 , 2016-01-14 14:32:01
By then then most of the oil residues, waste and plastic products will reside in the Worlds Seas and Oceans. I've not seen much movement to remove the plastic gyres floating around the Southern Pacific Ocean. Land waste management has serious flaws as well. The only 'waste management ' in the UK that is booming is all the junk that motorists chuck out of their cars when mobile - they must think that plastic bags hanging from tree branches 'adds' to natures wonders. In a resturant car park the other day were 2 used babies nappies left in a parking bay - some people are scum and these couldn't have been poor.
Peter Sembol , 2016-01-14 03:35:11
Incredible how low the West in cahoots with Saudi Arabia will stoop, and all in an attempt to crush Russia economically and politically. And the media continues the deceptive narrative about troubles everywhere, brought on by 'competition' among oil producers, except pointing to the true and only reason behind the low oil price. The public in general swallows the 'explanations' forgetting that the ball started rolling downhill immediately after the USA twisted Germany's and other western European countries to impose sanctions on Russia in retaliation for it's welcoming Crimea back to the Motherland. In the name of this geopolitical game, the good people of USA, Canada and other countries whose significant part of income derives from natural resources and related products, are loosing their jobs by the thousands. All is well and according to the plan, as long as Russia suffers more than the West, and will be the first to bite the dust. The world economy will then be turned around to everyone's relief.
MattSpanner , 2016-01-14 04:43:08
Seems the FED's recent interest rate rise was premature. If another 2008 does happen calls to abolish it will grow ever louder, especially since economic chaos will smooth Trump's path to the White House, and Trump has made FED abolition one of his campaign pledges. After repeated failures catastrophes under Greenspan, Bernanke and now Yellen it seems the FED is surplus to requirements., Report
NWObserver -> MattSpanner , 2016-01-14 05:35:59
What will they do after abolishing the Fed? Will they have a single national currency or allow each bank (or any other entity) to issue its own currency and let these different currencies compete with each other?

If they continue to have a single national currency, who will issue it and set the monetary policy? Another Central Bank or the government? If it is going to be another Central Bank what exactly is the point of abolishing the Fed? Why not change the law to allow the government to remove the Fed's board of governors and appoint those they think are more competent than Janet Yellen and other governors, since abolishing the Fed will anyway require the repeal of the law establishing it i.e. it too needs Congressional approval. If the government is going to be issuing the currency and set the monetary policy, in what way would it be superior to the Fed doing the same?

If they allow any entity to issue its own currency, what currency will the taxes be denominated in?

ronnewmexico -> MattSpanner , 2016-01-14 05:42:12
Well the predictions were for four rate hikes in the year. Now perhaps we see two. The one already and another. Things get better and it is up to four. The dow only dropped three hundred or so and the S and P is above its support level, which is about 1857 to my dim recollection.

So till we exceed that support to the downside, really things are not bad. A wash out was probably a necessary thing.

I think people are overdoing this thing. The media seems to be hyping the decline which may account for all the sell side prognostications.
Earning are just beginning. If I see indications that earming are the mover behind the sell off I would have concern. Alcoa all things considered was not that bad. Certainly not as bad as the tape today. OIl by my guess is the real mover as the new lows have people spooked.
I am not to worried it can flip up or down but it really is only a small part of the market nowadays not what it was in yesteryear.

So I repeat this is overdone, that is my opinion. Those calling gloom and doom on this action, no offense but this little resembles any major sell off of a lasting duration spiral down. What is the mover….low oil prices? The rest of the market benefits from low oil prices.

Sentiment can drive things lower but really only for so long. Chinas last numbers reported were better than expected. Me being cynical and seeing the talking heads talking things down anticipate it is the big money movers trying to create some action on the short side. How long they keep this up is a guess. But it requires someone to keep pressure on to move it down. Without new bad news on China, what is the precipitive factor….nothing new here.

ekaai Kaewaniti , 2016-01-14 05:52:46
Unfair market system, Complete waste of time, energy and resources. Destroy all the stock markets along with corporations and Banks. It is time we stop playing this ridiculous economic game and start concentrating on the real issues that we are facing. Poverty, Conflicts in the middle east, environmental degradation, climate change, and many more. What is the root cause of all of these problems? Yes it the socioeconomic system capitalism with its flawed monetary system owned by the corporations and the Banks that does not care about the well being of planet or nature and the well being of all human beings but only care about their own wealth, power, fame, egos. Such idiots!!!!! stop playing their game and move to a new fair game called RBE and other similar systems.
werdzwerth , 2016-01-14 07:17:28
It is very stupid of us to base our economy on something as unstable and selfish as the Stock Market, as well as something as unstable as governments, democratic and otherwise. It is about time we became as intelligent and clever as all these whizz kids who invent amazing technology and make amazing discoveries. It is about time we became whizz kids at organising an intelligent and reliable economy. For us.

Why do banks charge an interest on loans? If the function of money is to get the economy started and running, then the work done and the profits made should be a sufficient reward. Banks could actually give money away on a non-return basis, so long as the money goes to people who will spend it, this spending lending to more spending.

Perhaps the private owners of the current private currencies want more than a sound economy, perhaps they want power, and want to exercise this power just to know for real that they have it? Perhaps they are not fully-fledged human being animals but suffer some form of genetic or social affliction that makes them behave in dangerous anti-social ways? Perhaps they don´t give a fig about other human being animals - other than those who serve their biological wants and needs? Perhaps shareholders are afflicted in the same way?

Perhaps we could form our bank to issue our non-returnable money, and even decide what work is worthwhile and is done and what work is not worthwhile and so will not be done?

Millions of years ago, so we are told, some fish came out of the sea and survived. What I am suggesting is a work and economy evolution of a similar scale. Current economic theory has us all drowning in the quagmire of self-interest-driven chaos, self-styled as a "social science". Perhaps we could come out into fresh air and create a diversity of human activity on a par with the diversity of living things on land and in the air that came from those first brave fish that ventured beyond known limits?

Columbus did not go over the edge of the world but discovered a whole New World.

Perhaps we need to go beyond even the "thinking outside the box" box?

Thank you.

criminalswelcome , 2016-01-14 07:35:29
Who funds international terrorism try the oil rich countries in the Middle East so let's assume the Yanks have got smart for once and are flooding oil market to bring down these economys .
The end game is destabilise them then pick up their oil industries for a song and influence just who makes Middle Eastern policys by economic means .
Bit of a dream but hey nothing falls down in price to this extent without a hidden reason given its a fossil fuel that should be rising to maintain supplies for the long term .
litesp33d1 , 2016-01-14 08:09:40
The economy is like a super tanker and these results are still the effect of the ripples of the economic crash almost a decade ago. The result of lower oil prices will be that ordinary people will start to realise they have more disposable income than they did a year ago and start spending that money on more shit they don't need and the economy will swing back with a vengeance.
paddyryan , 2016-01-14 08:24:08
Well surely all those neoliberal economists can't be wrong....it must be the fault of that evil Mr corbyn and his army of trotskyists.....HA HA we are on the slippery slide to another global crash folks ...
SeeNOevilHearNOevil , 2016-01-14 08:45:19
Sigh....the stock market....virtual money and speculation...Worst thing ever created causing insane chain effects in economies. Although....why were economies booming before when Oil price was low? Cause sure oil companies profits go down, but every other business that uses the oil increases their profit. Isn't this also a good reason to start doing something about being so oil dependant?
humbleandpoor , 2016-01-14 09:50:16
Once in a lifetime chance for the USA to escape from the strangle whole of the Saudi oil grip.
Fracking gives them a chance to break with the Saudi s or even break them for good.
Failure doesn't t bear thinking about, and we all know where Obama s sympathies lie - but in modern America who cares.. the battle is between the giant bureaucracies, not the democratic froth on top of the cake.
Always remember America in you hour of destiny there were Americans long before there was the USA . And will be long after it is gone. And for the love of God .. COLUMBUS did not discover America. Which ironically is named after a Welch sheep farmer.?
Americo FrontHoovesintheWellies was his full name. Knew a thing or two about sex and sheep., Report
Eugenios -> humbleandpoor , 2016-01-14 15:28:25
Most US oil comes from Canada and Mexico, a very small percentage from Saudi Arabia. But they have enormous financial influence through bonds, obviously, and buying media and politicians. Also Israel and Saudi Arabia have been working together under the table for some time, as was obvious during the Gulf War, and now in their efforts to begin a war against Iran. Fracking has never been any threat to the Saudis--the cost is too high. Their present lowering of oil prices is directed against Russia, surely in cahoots with the US.
HeadInSand2013 , 2016-01-14 17:54:25

Oil and US share prices tumble over fears for global economy.

The economists have been telling us that there is little danger for the US economy to be pushed into recession by a slow-down in the Chinese economy - referred to here as "global economy". More importantly, in election years the US Markets have never been good indicators of the US economy, anyway.

The real reasons for the US market plunge are the trades conducted on behalf of the Wall Street tycoons and the Saudi Royal Family. Both are doing their best to push the markets down, because they are deeply worried of having another Democrat in the White House, come January 2017.

The Wall Street tycoons are apprehensive about getting dragged into courts for their financial mischiefs during the last decade. The Saudis are concerned that the US leaning further toward Iran, which will encourage their internal oppositions to demand reforms, which could include getting rid of the Royal Family. So, both the Saudis and the Wall Street tycoons have a common cause. They will "keep at it", until they can be sure that the next US president will be a Republican.

Eugenios , 2016-01-14 18:45:56
"National debts, i.e., the alienation of the state – whether despotic, constitutional or republican – marked with its stamp the capitalistic era. The only part of the so-called national wealth that actually enters into the collective possessions of modern peoples is their national debt. Hence, as a necessary consequence, the modern doctrine that a nation becomes the richer the more deeply it is in debt. Public credit becomes the credo of capital. And with the rise of national debt-making, want of faith in the national debt takes the place of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which may not be forgiven.

The public debt becomes one of the most powerful levers of primitive accumulation. As with the stroke of an enchanter's wand, it endows barren money with the power of breeding and thus turns it into capital, without the necessity of its exposing itself to the troubles and risks inseparable from its employment in industry or even in usury. The state creditors actually give nothing away, for the sum lent is transformed into public bonds, easily negotiable, which go on functioning in their hands just as so much hard cash would. But further, apart from the class of lazy annuitants thus created, and from the improvised wealth of the financiers, middlemen between the government and the nation – as also apart from the tax-farmers, merchants, private manufacturers, to whom a good part of every national loan renders the service of a capital fallen from heaven – the national debt has given rise to joint-stock companies, to dealings in negotiable effects of all kinds, and to agiotage, in a word to stock-exchange gambling and the modern bankocracy."

Karl Marx

[Jan 17, 2016] Oil price woes deepen as Iran vows to add 500,000 barrels a day

Notable quotes:
"... America threatened Russia some time ago about meddling in the affairs of Syria ..."
"... The US is really going for broke on crashing the oil price ..."
"... All of this to try to contain Russias military rearmament made possible by sky high oil prices ..."
"... Has the west finally gotten wise to the Saudi money that flows into extremist groups? Would seem so. West seems to be doing everything it can to contain the Saudis. eems to be doing everything it can to contain the Saudis. ..."
"... Yes because of millions of refuges that Arab countries caused by supporting ISIS it is completely natural for west to go after Saudi Arabia and its allies sponsor of ISIS. So they got what they deserved. Today I also read that the markets in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Emirates collapsed and I think this a beginning of an end for them. ..."
"... The Iranians deciding that their revolution has matured sufficiently for them to plainly state we dont wish death on anybody, our religion is about peace, and to demonstrate our sincerity well urge our people to stop such rhetoric would contribute to Irans rehabilitation as a more or less normal member of the global community of nations. ..."
"... This has to be the beginning of the end for the Saudis and Qataris and their utter crapulence, all at the expense of the rest of the World. OPEC has no answer for this and is completely impotent to do anything about it. The cartel is busted. ..."
"... And so it seems with oil. There has to be a base production cost which doesnt vary and I doubt that the Saudis or Iranians are selling it at under that cost - they both need a modest profit - so, one wonders, if they can make that modest profit at $30 a barrel, think how much they were making at $100 ..."
"... The U.S and Iranians are using each other against their own allies. U.S is using Iran to put pressure on Saudi so that they keep producing more oil to bankrupt Russia, despite it destroying Saudi economy. Iran is using USA as a counterbalance to Russia because as much as they want Russias help, they dont want Russia to become too strong in the region. ..."
"... In my view Iran was never quite the bad guy that the western governments portrayed it to be. We certainly have differences. But if you compare Iran and Saudi Arabia there is no contest - Iran is far less a bogeyman. ..."
www.theguardian.com

The Guardian

Sean Mcmahon , 2016-01-17 19:10:22
The funny thing is that the sanctions have probably helped Iran as it had to survive with less. Iran now gets access to it's foreign banking about 50billion net and can start exporting again.

Saudi is burning through its reserve cash and it's populace are used to getting things for free, will they survive low oil revenues like Iran or is the House of Said on the brink of annihilation? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

It's amazing how detrimental oil has been to the middle east. If only they could have gone down a similar path to Norway....

Jahanzeb Ahsan , 2016-01-17 18:56:59
Seeing Iran to go into economical slow down was a depressing sight. OPEC definitely took a huge share of IRAN'S oil fortune and that time can not come back. PART of it was Iran's fault agreed, but since Iran's sanctions are lifted you cant blame it.

It's just taking a share of what it has lost in years. This will indeed afftect gulf region and other oil exporting countries but HEY BACK TO REALITY!!! Indeed its bad time since oil is already record low thanks to Fracking. This time is like dubstep for environmentalists who are dancing on oil price beats. No one is actually explaining the actual picture behind the scene as hundred of thousands of jobs are being slashed. Its like a death sentence for oil workers like me. 1 year since graduation as a petroleum engineer still no job worried to pay debts and there are countles like me. In short low oil prices won't make things better but worse.

Xavier Cournet , 2016-01-17 16:21:17
"The French-listed aircraft maker Airbus also looks set for a significant boost from the sanctions ending"
It is the first time, a British newspaper says "French aircraft maker Airbus". Yes Airbus is principaly a French company and not a European one contrary to what British newspaper often say.
ID241823 -> lifeintheusa , 2016-01-17 17:24:40
Indeed...the magic answer is interesting to say the least. America threatened Russia some time ago about meddling in the affairs of Syria and other cooperative business tactics. This manipulation is more about the benefits beneath mainstream media...plus, it is an election year...of course, oil is welcome and plentiful...somehow...it always is election time...though the added incentive does make Russia cringe a bit...these United States knew the only way to allow Russia to feel pinched was this way...so her and her cohorts have combined efforts to achieve their goals. Hmmm...
MerlinUK , 2016-01-17 14:41:56
Hammond is such a prostitute with his comments. They have been sucking up to Saudi/Qatar and UAE for decades, but now they are all on the slippery slope, he says 'dump them all and start courting Iran'. The man has no shame whatsoever.
opyniated -> MerlinUK , 2016-01-17 15:15:12

dump them all and start courting Iran

Best thing he has said in his career. Dump the wahhabi sheikhs while your heads are still standing on your shoulders.

sokolnik100 , 2016-01-17 14:28:57
The US is really going for broke on crashing the oil price:-
1 Deal with Iran (to increase supply)
2 Saudis pumping as much as they can (favour to US who turn a blind eye or help their regional aspirations by financing ISIS and AQ)(note the price was going nowhere until Ukraine/Crimea appeared then suddenly it started going down whilst Saudi currency actually appreciated)
3 Letting the US export oil (more supply)
4 Letting Turkey take oil from ISIS (more supply)

All of this to try to contain Russia's military rearmament made possible by sky high oil prices.

DDDFFF -> sokolnik100, 2016-01-17 14:38:39
that's correct as well as containing the Saudi, Qatari sponsored terrorist groups
ElfenLied2 -> DDDFFF, 2016-01-17 14:50:05
I thought that the Saudis see the terrorism as their own failure as well?

It's not controversial that it is oil money that has caused the situation, but the Saudis seem as powerless as anyone else to stop it.

Glenn Middleton -> sokolnik100 , 2016-01-17 14:50:16
Remind us why so many shale producers in america are going bust because of oil prices.
DDFFF , 2016-01-17 14:19:04
May the terrorist funding by Saudi and Qatar comes to halt by cheap oil prices. They had made the decision to make it cheap but it is not Iran's decision to make it expensive again. Which believe me Iran doesn't like to do so especially that through the sanction years Saudis, Qatar, Emirates played a nasty role in OPEC by getting rid of production sluts(it was to do by limiting each member to a certain production level but as Iran was sanctioned they thought it is the best way to hurt Iran's share of OPEC by getting rid of it) now this is the only reason they cannot increase the oil price as well as they cannot control Iran's production . Iran will produce even more and has a fresh supply of Cash and its economy is more robust to be only based on Oil so what I want to tell the Saudis, Qatari, Emirates and their allies is to fuck off . Because through these years you were sponsors of ISIS, Cause hundreds of thousands of death tolls and millions of refuges in the world that you have not taken a single refugee and the whole EU and North Americas must pay for it now. YOU GOT WHAT YOU DESERVED ARABS. Hope Iran become friend with Israel too and teach Arabs another lesson.
MerlinUK -> DDDFFF , 2016-01-17 14:39:49
Recent events with Saudi princes assaulting maids in the US (then claiming 'diplomatic immunity' and skipping the country before charges could be laid against them) could also be a factor, as it has woken people up as to what the Saudis are really like.

The highway between Bahrain and Saudi/UAE is like the M25 at weekends, with Wahhabi hypocrites rushing to Bahrain to get pissed and laid. It's been like that for decades. They claim to be pious and expect their subjects, contractors and ex-pats working out there to do as they say, not as they do.

Tresidentevil , 2016-01-17 14:18:48
Saudi Arabia is therefore finished as a regional power. Economy crippled by low oil prices. Iran meanwhile has had to endure an embargo for a decade, resulting in a tougher economy that is far more diverse.

Has the west finally gotten wise to the Saudi money that flows into extremist groups? Would seem so. West seems to be doing everything it can to contain the Saudi's. eems to be doing everything it can to contain the Saudi's.

DDDFFF -> Tresidentevil, 2016-01-17 14:26:32
Yes because of millions of refuges that Arab countries caused by supporting ISIS it is completely natural for west to go after Saudi Arabia and its allies sponsor of ISIS. So they got what they deserved. Today I also read that the markets in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Emirates collapsed and I think this a beginning of an end for them.
MerlinUK -> Tresidentevil, 2016-01-17 14:35:26
It really brings David Cameron and the Tories' sucking up to the Saudis into clear perspective, doesn't it, as their credit rating for buying arms will be taking a nosedive. Watch BAE Systems shares start to wobble this coming week.

It also leaves the Royal family in somewhat of a quandry, as who is Price Charles going to sword dance with now?

FunctionalAtheist , 2016-01-17 14:02:50
Iran adding to the current supply glut in oil was an inevitable consequence of the deal. Still, the timing is particularly bad, with the crash in commodities feeding a gloomy mood in stock markets around the world.

A deflationary spiral for the global economy is now a little more likely, with excess capacity in a range of manufactured goods, from steel to I-Phones, in addition to the glut in oil and other commodities.

But, that glut is not Iran's fault. The prisoner exchange was good to see.

Next I'd like to see a symbolic move by Iran: move on from the "Death to America" (and Britain, and Israel) rhetoric. Islam needs some public relations help. The Iranians deciding that their revolution has "matured" sufficiently for them to plainly state "we don't wish death on anybody, our religion is about peace, and to demonstrate our sincerity we'll urge our people to stop such rhetoric" would contribute to Iran's rehabilitation as a more or less "normal" member of the global community of nations.

MerlinUK , 2016-01-17 13:53:33
This has to be the beginning of the end for the Saudis and Qataris and their utter crapulence, all at the expense of the rest of the World. OPEC has no answer for this and is completely impotent to do anything about it. The cartel is busted.

I guess that nobody likes the Wahhabi hypocrites any more.

StuartHX , 2016-01-17 13:39:21
I suppose it all depends on how much Iranian oil is pumped into the system as a proportion of the total, but then what is the 'right' price for oil anyway?

It reminds me of a supermarket conundrum - 'What's the price of a packet of Pringles?'. This comes from the notion that in one supermarket they're £1 each or two for £1.50, in another they're £1.25 but one a 'buy one get one free' deal, in another they're £1 each but buy two and get one free... and so on. But not only this - all of these deals change weekly.

So you begin to wonder, given that a packet of Pringles costs the same to make whatever price they're sold at - and the manufacturer wants to make a modest profit - why can you never determine the true price?

And so it seems with oil. There has to be a base production cost which doesn't vary and I doubt that the Saudis or Iranians are selling it at under that cost - they both need a modest profit - so, one wonders, if they can make that modest profit at $30 a barrel, think how much they were making at $100

copyniated , 2016-01-17 13:32:13
Apparently, according to reuters, Saudi Arabia paid Somalia a $50 million bribe to break diplomatic relations with Iran. Iranians, themselves, would have paid the Somalian government more to beak off diplomatic relations.

But hey, why complain? It's free! Cheers 'Salman the Barbarian'!

copyniated -> Katrin3, 2016-01-17 17:06:42
Saudi Arabia, Israel, Bahrain, Sudan, Somalia, United States, The Comoros and Djibouti all do not have diplomatic relations with Iran. UAE recalled its embassador in sympathy with Sheikh Salman the Barbarian. Iran needed UAE before as it was used as a port for importing into Iran(a sanction busting avenue) but since sanctions are lifted, middlemen are no longer required which means UAE will lose an annual income of $11 billion and Iran will gain. Very sad!

I hope that The Comoros and Djibouti will soon reestablish relations because it is hurting Iran's economy.

Vizier , 2016-01-17 12:57:10
'The UK has played a central role, and I hope British businesses seize the opportunities available to them through the phased lifting of sanctions on Iran. ' said Philip Hammond.

His department was instrumental in sanctions against Iran while other countries, particularly Germany and France, were lukewarm. Which countries will now benefit? Answers on a postcode, marked 'Clue', to Philip Hammond.

Phil_Paris , 2016-01-17 12:45:31
Iran is closer to a development [nations] like Turkey than to Saudi Arabia. Saudis have always been unable to do anything else than watch oil go out of pipelines into tankers, they have no agriculture, no industry.

Iranians want to industrialize like Turkey, but that doesn't mean democracy and personal freedom. Development gives more means of control and repression to autocrats too, like we have seen in Russia, Turkey, continental China. Not all countries are able to move to democracy like Taiwan and South Korea

TomBakerIsGod , 2016-01-17 12:23:25
It is hard to understand why the Guardian labels low oil as an actual woe for the World. It mainly hurts countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, while in the West we all benefit from cheap fuel.
copyniated , 2016-01-17 12:18:08
Doubt it. The news was already in the market and has been for some time. No surprize.

Even if does go further south, it would be temporary and besides the wahhabi regimes of Arabia are the ones who will suffer the most. Either way, good news for Iran.

SchraderBrau -> copyniated, 2016-01-17 14:34:34
The U.S and Iranians are using each other against their own allies. U.S is using Iran to put pressure on Saudi so that they keep producing more oil to bankrupt Russia, despite it destroying Saudi 'economy'. Iran is using USA as a counterbalance to Russia because as much as they want Russia's help, they don't want Russia to become too strong in the region.

The (seemingly) more likely scenario is to make the excuse for war against Iran this year.... "We really tried with these guys but now we have to 'regime-change' them". That will result in a MASSIVE war.

A less likely scenario is that USA (at a shot to nothing) thinking they might actually replace saudi oil-fields propping up the $ with IRanian ones. And Iran (at a shot to nothing) thinking they might take the U.S out of Israel's pocket. As unlikely as either of these scenarios are, all bets are off this year. Both those latter plays could push Israel and Russia closer together, resulting in a MASSIVE war which the U.S would lose.

Either way, a MASSIVE war is coming and this development is more significant than people think.

Vizier -> MrPeevley, 2016-01-17 13:05:51
In my view Iran was never quite the bad guy that the western governments portrayed it to be. We certainly have differences. But if you compare Iran and Saudi Arabia there is no contest - Iran is far less a bogeyman.

It is always worth remembering that nearly all the September 11 hijackers were Saudis, none were Iranian. ISIS was funded and armed by Saudi Arabia, not by Iran. You can draw a direct line from Saudi Arabia through the carnage in Iraq and Syria directly to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Whenever the west talks about 'Iran being a state sponsor of terrorism' they mean one thing and one thing only: Hezbollah.

Disclosure: I have a low opinion of Saudi Arabia so my comments are biased.

[Jan 16, 2016] Lifting of Iran sanctions is a good day for the world Discussion

Notable quotes:
"... Its great news for the people of Iran, business in Europe, not so great for Israel and my country, Canada. Oil is going to be $30 a barrel forever now. Our previous very stupid government put all our eggs in one basket, oil at $100 a barrel. ..."
"... Dear Moshe, You are not giving billions to Iran, It is Iranians money that was for frozen by US banks . ..."
"... Most of the middle eastern countries such as Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Libya and lebanon are tribes with flags. The exception is Iran which has a long and establised sense of nationhood. It will never be a failed state. ..."
"... Iran is about to get their frozen assets back as part of the deal... lets hope they put that $100 billion to some good use... Welfare, housing, hospitals and education should all benefit... Unfortunately with so much trouble on their doorstep, theyll probably but new fighter planes and lots of guns from the new American buddies... ..."
"... Why do you think that US, UK, Israel, Saudi wants stability in Mid East region ? All evidence suggests otherwise from regime change in Syria to Libya .from emergence of Isis to Saudi demanding that US bombs Iran to state of oblivion. I am very happy about the agreement, however, i am very cynical about tricky Americans to uphold their part of bargain. ..."
"... If you dislike Iran maybe you must hate Saudi Arabia, a dubious country we gave been allies with for years. Personally, I find Iran to be far more reasonable than Saudi Arabia.. Perhaps you should open your eyes. ..."
"... They cant delay this. What they will do, is introduce different kinds of US only sanctions, for other reasons (to appease their AIPAC donors). ..."
"... In addition to that, i should say that there is a perception fueled by conservatives that all the bad stuff has been done by Iranians, but if I were an Iranian citizen, it would be pretty hard to forget that the US supported Saddam Hussein financially and militarily (with aid) during an eight-year, very bloody Iran-Iraq war that left hundreds of thousand Iranians dead or wounded (and, incidentally, thats when the US downed an Iranian airliner). ..."
"... Very true. How many Saudi terrorists are there, and how many Iranian ones? Islamic terror is exported is large quantities by our friends in Saudi-Arabia, just second to oil. ..."
"... Already Iran is looking at using barter with Europe exchanging oil for various goods. ..."
"... Anyway, not to engage in moral relativism but my country, the USA, has some human rights blemishes we need to recognize as well. Having President Obama say we tortured some folks doesnt help.. The dismissive tone is not conducive to addressing the situation. ..."
"... Germany had a great military, a modern industrialized society, and a history of invading other countries. Iran, not. ..."
"... Note to Republicans: Peacemaking is a good thing. Carpet bombing is a bad thing. ..."
"... Sounds like the Iranians are gradually emerging from xenophobic theocracy. ..."
"... Hopefully Iranians can build on this and continue to demand better relations with the west. Surly, they have had their differences with the west but they shouldnt let religious fundamentalists use Irans past history to create hate and pessimistic attitude towards west ..."
"... And would you also observe that most of these people would likely still be alive today if it werent for civilized Western nations bombing thier country, disbanding their army and institutions and throwing their country into chaos? ..."
"... But a country that goes to war for nothing more than greed sending hundreds of thousands to their deaths including their own sons and daughters ... would you visit there ... oops you live in the UK? ..."
"... There were no sanctions against Israel, which has nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic fundamentalist state which sponsors terrorism. It is all hypocrisy. ..."
"... Vinculture: A disaster in the making thanks to 0bamas incompetence and naivety. A disaster for Israels aggressive foreign policy, maybe. And a disaster for the House of Saud. ..."
"... If the deal sticks on the US side, expect to see Iran make a number of subtle shifts in a pro-US direction over the next few years. It will be a reflection of the outcome of internal struggles within the Iranian clergy. The Supreme Leader gave Rouhani the chance to prove that negotiations and concessions could get acceptable results. The success of the negotiations will give Rouhanis faction greater clout for similar actions until such time as either they stuff it up good and proper, or somone crazy gets elected as US President. ..."
"... The USA has modified its attitude to Syria from Assad must go! to OK, he can hang around for a while , simply because Syria, with Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah assistance, is gaining the upper hand. Hence the willingness for the USA to negotiate. We rarely hear the words regime change in Syria from our politicians any more. So it is with Iran. Apart from Iranian involvement in Syria, Iran has managed to outlast the sanctions regimes and has had to ratchet up its own development of medicines, weaponry etc in anticipation of a possible Israeli or US attack. As a country of some 80 million people, they wouldnt be a pushover in the military sense. And at what cost? It doesnt bear thinking about. ..."
"... I dont believe for one second Iran will be able to bring that much oil online so quickly. The issues which have come about through years of barely no maintenance, cant just be reversed in a matter of months. Time will tell. But the mainstream media has been pushing this for a long time to further suppress oil prices. ..."
"... Meanwhile the US and Britain are directing and supplying the bombs killing innocent people in Yemen, none of which gets coverage in the press. It is a sad bad world we live in these days. Iran is probably less of a threat than Saudi Arabia which funds extremists who are so close to Isis and the likes yet do we care. It seems not. ..."
"... If only we had strong leadership like W Bush neh? Hed have strongly Decidered his way to victory just like the gleaming success next-door. Pass the bong. ..."
"... If we put aside sheer hypocrisy (always an important feature of foreign policy!) then I think the usual argument is that, unlike we rational Westerners, the Iranians are crazy religious maniacs who cant be trusted with a bomb. In reality, though obviously the Iranian regime is a religiously-based one, they have shown themselves to be quite pragmatic and cautious over the past 2 decades at least. Which isnt to say the regime is benign, by any means, just that their foreign policy is based on rational self-interest (or their perception thereof) - just like any other country. ..."
"... Another reason given is Irans supposed support for terror organisaitons. Putting aside the fact that defining what is a terror organisaiton is largely a matter of ones political views, its hard to see what this has to do with the nuclear issue specifically. Unless we buy the notion - straight from a 5th rate James Bond knock-off - that Iran could give its (non-existent) nukes to a terrorist, as though a nuclear bomb was equivalent to an AK-47. ..."
"... I dont back any country with Nukes, but I do back the balance off power, if Iran is overthrown with Syria, it would be dangerous times for the rest off us. It would be safer for Israel too disarm, followed by Pakistan, North Korea then East + West Bilaterally, simutaniously. ..."
"... Iran isnt Nazi Germany, if you want to pursue that analogy then its closer to Francos Spain and we got on well if occasionally frostily with them for 39 years without having a war with them ..."
"... After a progressive Persian govt renationalized and booted British Petroleum out of the country suffered a coup détat instigated with US aid in 1953. ..."
"... After the revolution we armed Saddam Hussein to start a war and killed millions of Iranians. ..."
"... If I were Iranian Id be double wary now of USs intentions. It seems that the working method of the West nowadays is to feign a warming of relations to draw yourself closer before a fatal stab. Remember Libya? And I recall Syria having a nice warm up period before the gates of hell opened. Take care, Iran. ..."
"... It looks to me that the west has to either start Armageddon to take Iran out or start to build bridges. ..."
"... Iran has always denied seeking an atomic weapon, saying its activities are only for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and medical research. The annual reports of the CIA/Mossad/German BND and the IAEA supported this fact consistently since 2004. It was only the despicable US/Israeli geopolitics enabled by their propaganda arm the mainstream media that maintained the charade of a clandestine nuclear weapon programme. ..."
"... there remains a lack of clarity with regards to the US. - as ever you never know what the US is going to do, and I suspect the US itself does not know given it dysfunctional political system. ..."
"... The far right in Israel, not for everyone. Saudi and far right wing Israel have a symbiotic relationship. Saudi can push its agenda of Wahhabism that secures its brutal regime and far right Israel profits from the bitter fruits of Saudi, as it means that Israel is seen as the anti-muslim anchor of the West in the region. Sadly, the political intervention of the US has been based around protecting and supporting this symbiotic relationship with money, troops and bombs. ..."
"... Obama has already issued an order(today) lifting sanctions on the sale of passenger airliners to Iran. Boeing Airbus are in intense competition as Iran plans to purchase 500 airliners in the next 10 years worth billions of dollars. ..."
"... given that the Iranian government is still highly suspicious of the Brits (for very good reason) I very much doubt theyll want to spend this much-needed cash on overpriced pads in Blighty. ..."
"... George W Bush said he got his orders from God, and they were amazingly similar to the ones he got from Big Oil. We know the results. ..."
"... It i amazing how western oriented news organization by default report the talking point of the western regimes reflexively. Unlike the news bureaus in the soviet era, they dont need minders and censors, those are just built in or plugged in by interviews. ..."
"... He can do what he likes, the US have given Israel a free pass, human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, threats to Israeli Arabs, hidden nuclear weapons, all have to be ignored while their neighbours are subjected to endless scrutiny. While this continues the Middle East will never be at peace. Palestinians are humans too. ..."
"... Lifting of Iran sanctions is a good day for the world Yet these gangsters who control the finance industry(US/UK), and who can and do, impose sanctions at will, are free, without sanction, to wage war against whoever they so choose with impunity. Something is not quite right here, or are we too stupid, too compliant to see it? ..."
"... Ok - so you're anti nuclear weapons. Fair enough, you're free view. For me, much more importantly is the opportunity for trade. The Iranians are well educated and still have a historical connection with our country. ..."
"... The sanctions are another kind of war. The tradesmen will win at the end ..."
"... When sanctions started, they were nowhere near as harsh. European countries - as well as China and India - had long been growing tired of the extremely strict sanctions imposed mostly by the Americans. ..."
"... All the nuclear nations should have banded together with Iran to help Iran with their desire for peaceful nuclear power by helping Iran with expertise and funding to develop Thorium reactors. ..."
"... British foreign policy is a selective and hypocrital joke. ..."
"... Yes, unfortunately neither the UK or the US think long-term, when selling advanced weapons to the Saudis (or giving them to Israel). That may well come back to bite them, when the House of Saud falls, as it must. ..."
"... Amazed this has gone through. The worlds biggest and most dangerous children, Israel and Saudi Arabia, will NOT be pleased. These two are behind so much of the worlds problems, far moreso than their parent the USA. ..."
"... where are Israels nukes pointing, out of interest? ..."
"... Welcome to the world community Iran. Not a perfect nation but which is. No point demonizing people nations, it does more harm than good. ..."
"... Remind me, which country is currently levelling Yemen one building at a time? Oh yes, a Sunni nation Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... Anything that stops the Saudis playing the big I am is fine by me. Theyve already cut off their own nose over oil prices to stop US fracking and their economy is suffering, lets hope Iran can keep it low when it doesnt suit Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... Good, let the US who started all this nonsense feel themselves for a while what it is like to be outside trade with Iran. I bet it will not last long if companies realize they are still not allowed to do business because of their own extortion over the many years while the EU does commence trading. ..."
"... I really do hope you have an insurance policy Iran, I wouldnt trust these liars as far as .. and Id advise using some of whats rightly coming your way to insulate against future western blackmail. ..."
"... The US specializes in lack of clarity. Remember the two boats that Iran detained the other day? The US initially said that they had a mechanical failure and drifted into Iranian territorial waters. That version of events has become non-operative, and now the US is saying that the boats were fully operational, but one of the sailors accidentally punched the wrong GPS coordinates in. And then, of course, they failed to notice that they were getting awfully close to that island where Iran maintained a base. ..."
Jan 16, 2016 | The Guardian
chovil, 2016-01-16 16:33:47
It's great news for the people of Iran, business in Europe, not so great for Israel and my country, Canada. Oil is going to be $30 a barrel forever now. Our previous very stupid government put all our eggs in one basket, oil at $100 a barrel.

Israel was on the verge of nuking Iran. Ironically they stand to benefit from this, doing business with Iran. Reports from Iran were mostly that they were very western. They are Persian, not Arab, and if you look at historical maps, that line in the sand has existed for thousands of years. It's a good day. Iran is not North Korea, and it was the US supporting the Shah and his solid gold toilet that caused this problem in the first place. Back in 1978, it was obvious what was going to happen.

Afshin Peyman -> MicheNorman , 2016-01-16 16:33:47
Dear Moshe, You are not giving billions to Iran, It is Iranians money that was for frozen by US banks . Your religion says, Thy shall not lie and I believe it is in ten commandment, so why are you doing it ?
fatcontrol -> Themediaspoonfedlad, 2016-01-16 16:33:47
Most of the middle eastern countries such as Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Libya and lebanon are tribes with flags. The exception is Iran which has a long and establised sense of nationhood. It will never be a failed state.

LiviaDrusilla -> okonomiyaki, 2016-01-16 16:33:47

A fatwa cannot be 'lifted' because it is the personal opinion of a cleric, and the cleric involved - Ayatollah Khomeini - has been dead for 25 years. However, 17 years ago the Iranian government said it was no longer pursuing the fatwa and would not reward anyone for killing Rushdie. Which kind of amounts to the same thing.
optimist99 -> Mervyn Sullivan, 2016-01-16 14:50:59
"There is no doubt that if today's weak western leaders had been the ones having to deal with Hitler, in place of Winston Churchill, the Third Reich would be ruling the world today."

For heaven's sake.... If the UK had remained neutral - how would that have prevented the Red Army from defeating the Nazis? It would have made the process slightly slower - that's all

Stalin had started to turn the tide against the Nazis even before the US was involved in WW2 (Battle for Moscow) - and the Brits did little up to then to help
him. The US did in fact help Stalin before it entered the war - by helping with war materiel (Lend Lease included the Russians).

The Brits helped too, with the Murmansk convoys - but these only began in August 1941. British strategic bombing of Germany had also hardy started by then.
No wonder Stalin pressed for "a second front now"...

With a neutral Britain, the Russians would have got to Cuxhaven and Bremen. As it was, the Russians got to Wismar (and only stopped due to British artillery being in position to oppose them - Rossokovski's orders were to advance to Lübeck..).

Patrick Ryan, 2016-01-16 14:49:19
Well when it comes to the Iran v Saudi battle of religious fascist dogma then I'm leaning towards Iran as the lesser of the evils... Iran is about to get their frozen assets back as part of the deal... let's hope they put that $100 billion to some good use... Welfare, housing, hospitals and education should all benefit... Unfortunately with so much trouble on their doorstep, they'll probably but new fighter planes and lots of guns from the new American buddies...
LiviaDrusilla, 2016-01-16 14:37:08
Former British ambassador to Tehran on Sky News. Amazingly enough, he's talking a lot of sense.
Afshin Peyman -> mattijoon, 2016-01-16 14:36:42
Why do you think that US, UK, Israel, Saudi wants stability in Mid East region ? All evidence suggests otherwise from regime change in Syria to Libya .from emergence of Isis to Saudi demanding that US bombs Iran to state of oblivion. I am very happy about the agreement, however, i am very cynical about tricky Americans to uphold their part of bargain.

Hope for the best but i see Saudi and Israeli are heavily engaged in sabotaging the agreement.

Pete Salmond -> AntonDeque, 2016-01-16 14:35:27
If you dislike Iran maybe you must hate Saudi Arabia, a dubious country we gave been allies with for years. Personally, I find Iran to be far more reasonable than Saudi Arabia.. Perhaps you should open your eyes.
SundarIsaacs, 2016-01-16 14:34:21
Cuba & Iran. Next Russia please. And then if possible impose sanctions on Israel, Turkey and KSA.
pretzelattack -> AntonDeque, 2016-01-16 14:32:51
i saw female protestors get beaten at occupy. i see fleeing unarmed guys shot by cops. maybe the west isn't too pure either? in any case, going to war over faked wmds doesn't work out well.
Katrin3 -> Iconoclastick, 2016-01-16 14:28:05
They can't delay this. What they will do, is introduce different kinds of US only sanctions, for other reasons (to appease their AIPAC donors). The terms of the nuclear deal are such, that they can't punish other countries for trading with Iran, when the UN and EU lift their sanctions, probably later today.

Iran can simply refrain from doing any business with the US.

LiviaDrusilla -> copyniated, 2016-01-16 14:26:50
Yes. It was on BBC. Apparently Kerry and Zarif had been locked in a room together - presumably discussing this.

BTW Yankee propagandist on BBC right now, getting the soft soap treatment as always.

Giulio Ongaro -> Phil Atkinson, 2016-01-16 14:21:43
In addition to that, i should say that there is a perception fueled by conservatives that all the bad stuff has been done by Iranians, but if I were an Iranian citizen, it would be pretty hard to forget that the US supported Saddam Hussein financially and militarily (with aid) during an eight-year, very bloody Iran-Iraq war that left hundreds of thousand Iranians dead or wounded (and, incidentally, that's when the US downed an Iranian airliner).

And the years of useless sanctions that only alienated Iranians. Let's not forget that the Soviet Union, for example, did not fall at the peak of the Cold War. It fell when the contacts with the West increased. It won't be that we open the contacts today and tomorrow Iran is a nice Western democracy, but judging from the splendid success of the 50+ years of US embargo of Cuba, I would rather engage Iran than isolate it.

robinaldlowrise, 2016-01-16 14:20:18

"It proved that we can solve important problems through diplomacy, not threats and pressure, and thus today is definitely an important day," [Zarif] said.

Is this guy Zarif in receipt of a backhander from Seamus Milne?

mattijoon -> moreblingplease, 2016-01-16 14:19:23
Very true. How many Saudi terrorists are there, and how many Iranian ones? Islamic terror is exported is large quantities by our "friends" in Saudi-Arabia, just second to oil.
Katrin3 -> dothemaths, 2016-01-16 14:19:17
No it won't. When Iran comes in from the cold, even the conservatives won't want to go back there. They also want a prosperous future for their people.
LiviaDrusilla, 2016-01-16 14:18:32
BBC reporting that there has been a delay in the announcement of the end of the sanctions - apparently they were expecting a statement 4 hours ago. However, it's just been announced that 4 American-Iranian prisoners held in Iran are to be released. Hopefully, that has resolved the 'hitch' that has been holding up the announcement.
Stephen_Sean, 2016-01-16 14:18:17
Unfortunately for Iran she is getting her freedom to sell oil on the open markets right at a time when the oil market is in complete free fall. Already Iran is looking at using barter with Europe exchanging oil for various goods.
mattijoon -> Papaplone, 2016-01-16 14:17:10

There will never be true freedom and prosperity for Iran until they rid themselves from the awful theocracy that has ruined their society and lives for the past 40 years.

So you think isolation, crippling sanctions and threat of war is better for achieving peace in the Middle East? Do you have anything constructive to say at all?

Katrin3 -> copyniated, 2016-01-16 14:17:01
They were already there months ago, together with French politicians and other businessmen, including the owners of a large chain of hotels. This is about their 3rd or 4th visit. All embassies, apart from those of the US and Canada, have reopened (most never closed in spite of sanctions).
Stephen_Sean -> subtilesubversion, 2016-01-16 14:15:34
The only way we can improve human rights is to first increase our ties between nations. Gone are the days when you can isolate a country and demand they improve human rights and expect it to work.

Anyway, not to engage in moral relativism but my country, the USA, has some human rights blemishes we need to recognize as well. Having President Obama say "we tortured some folks" doesn't help.. The dismissive tone is not conducive to addressing the situation.

pretzelattack -> Iveneverexisted, 2016-01-16 14:13:49
what appeasement? did they invade somebody?
mattijoon, 2016-01-16 14:13:35
Iran is a major player in the region, and an unstable Iran means an unstable Middle East. The sanctions relief will stabilize Iran's economy. An Iran that is no longer threatened by war and regime change can start to play a positive role in solving the region's many conflicts. At least that's the theory, I hope Iran and the West seize this unique moment.
pretzelattack -> JulianHBurchill, 2016-01-16 14:13:09
Germany had a great military, a modern industrialized society, and a history of invading other countries. Iran, not.
Katrin3 -> Mervyn Sullivan, 2016-01-16 14:10:48
Sure, stick with your close ally and Daesh/IS supporter Saudi Arabia, who the IMF think will probably become insolvent within 5-years. When that happens, they'll no longer be able to afford all those advanced weapons and other toys you keep selling them, which they then use to kill civilians in Yemen.
TheDepotCat -> AgeingAlbion, 2016-01-16 14:08:05
"But this post is about Iran, which had no business in Iraq or Afghanistan either" --- Which part about Iran trying to make things difficult in Iraq for the illegal US occupation forces in those countries, because Iran may have been a possible target for a future US invasion don't you understand...?? The idea was to make a US occupation fail in Iraq to save their own country...And it worked.
Stephen_Sean, 2016-01-16 14:06:48
Fantastic news for the good citizens of Iran. Perhaps the day will come when Iranians, Europeans, and Americans are flying freely back and forth visiting each others countries without the horrendous bureaucracy, no fly lists and such.....

Yes, I know, not the world we live in. Not yet.

Iaorana -> Katrin3, 2016-01-16 14:05:19
Even if there is one, why to go to Tehran while our MSM will not fail to provide us with a " Best of ", especially if Charlie Hebdo enters the festival
LiviaDrusilla -> AgeingAlbion, 2016-01-16 14:02:23

But this post is about Iran, which had no business in Iraq or Afghanistan either.

Actually, they weren't in either country. But in any case, surely you'll agree that Iran, which share borders and has a lot of cultural links with the above mentioned countries, had a hell of a lot mroe right to be there than countries on the other side of the world?Particularly as they could be seen as defensive actions by Iran.

And I agree - let the worthless dump of a region stew in its own squalor.

That's some hatred for hundreds of millions of people. It was really terrible of them to force the civilsed west to bomb and invade them, and create untenable nation states.

whose problems you blame entirely on the west -

No I don't. But I also don't adopt the idiotic stance of wailing over British occupation soldiers rather than asking what the hell Britain was doing invading a coutnry on the other side of the world.

ether than Gulf states or indeed Iran.

I guess your hatred prevents you from becoming informed. If you had, you'd be aware that Iran has taken in huge numbers of Iraqi and Afghani refugees.

As for the borders, don't they do multiculturalism in the Middle East then?

You really haven't got a clue, have you? Maybe Iran should re-arrange Europe's borders to suit itself? You'd be happy with that, no?

petermhogan -> vinculture, 2016-01-16 13:56:42
The fact that the Israelis and Republicans are keeping quiet is pretty strong evidence that they have a tiny spark of realization that Obama and Kerry were in the right. Not that they will ever ever admit it. Note to Republicans: Peacemaking is a good thing. Carpet bombing is a bad thing.
timeforchange13 -> TheSageofStockwell, 2016-01-16 13:55:22
There are many aspects of the British regime that are even more disturbing
petermhogan -> Papaplone, 2016-01-16 13:53:25
Sounds like the Iranians are gradually emerging from xenophobic theocracy. Hopefully other countries can also seek the path of moderation and wisdom. Israel is among those with plenty of room for improvement. The USA has the task of avoiding a lurch in the wrong direction in the next election. It is hard to find much good news around the world these days.
AgeingAlbion -> LiviaDrusilla, 2016-01-16 13:53:22
But this post is about Iran, which had no business in Iraq or Afghanistan either. And I agree - let the worthless dump of a region stew in its own squalor. Strange isn't it how people from that region - whose problems you blame entirely on the west - still choose to come to the west en mass, rather than Gulf states or indeed Iran.

As for the borders, don't they do multiculturalism in the Middle East then?

timeforchange13, 2016-01-16 13:51:49
A great day. hopefully Iran's influence will finally break out from under the malign shadow of Saudi Arabia which has held the western world in thrall for so long
CTG2016, 2016-01-16 13:40:11
Hopefully Iranians can build on this and continue to demand better relations with the west. Surly, they have had their differences with the west but they shouldn't let religious fundamentalists use Iran's past history to create hate and pessimistic attitude towards west.

As Iranians say: "There is much hope in hopelessness; for at the end of the dark night, there is light."

LiviaDrusilla -> AgeingAlbion, 2016-01-16 13:36:11

I didn't support the invasion of Iraq, for the simple reason that that region is a failure and a dead loss and should be left to its own devices.

Yeah, but it never is left to its own devices, is it? The 'troops' you weep over were part of an illegal occupation force, and therefore their deaths were legitimate. The west has been bombing, invading and propping up despots in the Middle EAst (often in countries whose borders were drawn in London or Paris) for decades. So maybe think for a minute what Western 'civilisation' looks like to people in the Middle East.

I would observe though that far more Iraqi Muslims were killed by other Iraqi Muslims than by western troops, over the usual ridiculous sectarian nonsense.

And would you also observe that most of these people would likely still be alive today if it weren't for civilized Western nations bombing thier country, disbanding their army and institutions and throwing their country into chaos?

AlatarielN, 2016-01-16 13:33:06
Good! And may I say finally. This can only be a good thing in the long run, regardless of any bumps that await them because there will be bumps, considering certain parties are not too happy about this. But this can only be beneficial to the country, its people and the world. That there're so many educated people there is going to be so helpful in the future. Slowly removing the fear will slowly remove the most important tool in the arsenal used by the theocracy to govern and changes will occur. It won't be quick, a year or two but it will happen while the stability should remain.
Javafromjava -> SoxmisUK, 2016-01-16 13:31:02
But a country that goes to war for nothing more than greed sending hundreds of thousands to their deaths including their own sons and daughters ... would you visit there ... oops you live in the UK?
LiviaDrusilla -> Iveneverexisted, 2016-01-16 13:31:02

Between the PRC and Pakistan, NK has the bomb. It's not clear exactly how to apportion credit.

Not clear, when you just invent 'facts'. China was against the NK bomb, and I doubt Pakistan - which btw also borders Iran - had anything to do with it. Really daft argument.

I can't think why anyone with full grasp of the facts

Says the person who hasn't produced a single fact.

other than those heavily invested in Obama and for his legacy to not be seen as a lame duck president who's accomplished sfa.

Please. I couldn't give a toss about Obama. I'm not a fan of his at all (though likely for very differnet reasons than you) but credit where it's due. Why do Yanks think everyone cares about their infantile politics? In any case, this deal goes well beyond Yankistan. Enjoy it.

DuneMessiah , 2016-01-16 13:10:39
There were no sanctions against Israel, which has nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic fundamentalist state which sponsors terrorism. It is all hypocrisy.
GregPlatt -> vinculture, 2016-01-16 13:06:32
Vinculture: "A disaster in the making thanks to 0bama's incompetence and naivety." A disaster for Israel's aggressive foreign policy, maybe. And a disaster for the House of Saud.

If the deal sticks on the US side, expect to see Iran make a number of subtle shifts in a pro-US direction over the next few years. It will be a reflection of the outcome of internal struggles within the Iranian clergy. The Supreme Leader gave Rouhani the chance to prove that negotiations and concessions could get acceptable results. The success of the negotiations will give Rouhani's faction greater clout for similar actions until such time as either they stuff it up good and proper, or somone crazy gets elected as US President.

Phil Atkinson -> Mervyn Sullivan, 2016-01-16 13:03:46
This is more of an example of realpolitik coming from the USA (for a change), despite whatever the nutters in Congress or the military may say about it.

The USA has modified its attitude to Syria from "Assad must go!" to "OK, he can hang around for a while", simply because Syria, with Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah assistance, is gaining the upper hand. Hence the willingness for the USA to negotiate. We rarely hear the words "regime change in Syria" from our politicians any more. So it is with Iran. Apart from Iranian involvement in Syria, Iran has managed to outlast the sanctions regimes and has had to ratchet up its own development of medicines, weaponry etc in anticipation of a possible Israeli or US attack. As a country of some 80 million people, they wouldn't be a pushover in the military sense. And at what cost? It doesn't bear thinking about.

On the other side of the coin, the US and others are now seeing the Saudi regime for what it is and given a choice between the KSA and Iran, they've now decided to plump with the latter - at least for the time being.

ID5955768, 2016-01-16 13:01:15
I don't believe for one second Iran will be able to bring that much oil online so quickly. The issues which have come about through years of barely no maintenance, can't just be reversed in a matter of months. Time will tell. But the mainstream media has been pushing this for a long time to further suppress oil prices.
moreblingplease, 2016-01-16 12:57:45
Meanwhile the US and Britain are directing and supplying the bombs killing innocent people in Yemen, none of which gets coverage in the press. It is a sad bad world we live in these days. Iran is probably less of a threat than Saudi Arabia which funds extremists who are so close to Isis and the likes yet do we care. It seems not.
ham zed -> MrHumbug, 2016-01-16 12:53:05
That is why Iran never trusts the US.
TheSageofStockwell -> vinculture, 2016-01-16 12:50:26
I can just imagine the skill, tact and diplomacy with which Trump or Cruz would approach this task...
FatuousFeminist -> Mervyn Sullivan, 2016-01-16 12:45:49
If only we had strong leadership like W Bush neh? He'd have strongly Decidered his way to victory just like the gleaming success next-door. Pass the bong.
bcnteacher -> Michael House-Party Fleming, 2016-01-16 12:44:02
I may have the state wrong but please don't tell me you think the USA is a bastion of tolerance! Gays are beaten up, blacks are shot, muslims are attacked. America is home to some of the world's best fed bigots.
Mike_UK -> TheDepotCat, 2016-01-16 12:38:23
Go read the IAEA reports over the years, they are the worlds experts that know exactly what is required for civilian nuclear energy and what is used for nuclear weapons = they know. What has been agreed is for Iran to curtail their weapon development and export certain products to Russia and possibly USA as part of the deal. Of course if you do not want to dig into the technical details of years of IEAE reports you can chack out what is said on Facebook and blogsville!
LiviaDrusilla -> Iveneverexisted, 2016-01-16 12:35:45
Honestly, I'm starting to almost feel sorry for the failed sanctioneers, so pathetic are their arguments.

If North Korea, the world's most isolated country - which struggles to feed its own people - could build a bomb, do you seriously think Iran couldn't? And if they were determined to do so, why did they join the NPT in the first place? And why didn't they later leave, something they were free to do at any time? Then there's the fact that the world's foremost experts have said that Iran is not pursuing a bomb, and has not done so for many years (if it ever did).

But... what am I doing trying to discuss facts with you? You're obviously way more comfortable with some bizarre scenario straight from Bibi's cartoon. Best we leave you to it, and the rest of the world can get on with business.

TheSageofStockwell, 2016-01-16 12:33:13
Please let's try and be positive about this. Iran has been a pariah state for far too long and I applaud Obama for extending the arm of friendship to them during his presidency.

Obviously there are many aspects of the current Iranian regime that we in the West don't like, but I would rather be taking small steps with them diplomatically to try and improve the situation than have a hostile stand off.

LiviaDrusilla -> Mike_UK, 2016-01-16 12:27:16

Also Iran is not more moderate or understanding with respect to some American dingys going near a beach in the middle of the Persian Golf!

That sounds nasty. I hope Rory McIlroy wasn't hurt.

Joking aside, it's been established that the Americans did indeed enter Iranian waters, probably intentionally. And what you cutely describe as a 'beach' was actually home to an important Iranian military facility. And the 'dinghys' were well-equipped military vessels (shame the GPS was faulty though.....) How do you think the Yanks would have reacted had Iranian vessels 'drifted' just off the shore of a US military facility? By treating them well and releasing them, complete with 'dingys', the next day? I doubt it, but we'll never know, as unlike the US, Iran doesn't tend to send its 'dingys' 11,500km away from their own territory.

But you seem to have missed the wider point here. Which is that Iran is not on trial. There are considerable grievances on both sides (objectively, the Iranian case against the US and 'west' is much more substantial than the reverse), but these matters were deliberately left off the table in these negotiations, which were aimed at solving the (non) issue of Iran's nuclear programme. The other grievances can hopefully be worked out at a later stage.

For now, however, let's celebrate what is without doubt the greatest triumph of diplomacy in recent years.

Iveneverexisted, 2016-01-16 12:26:24
A red letter day for Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's Revolutionary Guard, and their mission to achieve a nuclear weapons capacity, where what's holding them back most is lack of access to Western technology, currently blocked under sanctions. They have already demonstrated to their own satisfaction, and everyone else's, they can withdraw from the NPT, and run down to a fissile mass of U235 in a matter of months. What they're missing is a bomb design.
Mervyn Sullivan, 2016-01-16 12:25:03
There is no doubt that if today's weak western leaders had been the ones having to deal with Hitler, in place of Winston Churchill, the Third Reich would be ruling the world today.

The day will come when people will look back and ask what on earth were people like Obama and John kerry thinking when they did this terrible deal with Iran.

Vizzeh -> LiviaDrusilla, 2016-01-16 12:20:43
If only people were "informed" on the inner workings off it all politically/economically. I am 100% For the American constitution and see the political corruption, the US is being used, like many other nations, against each other.
Vizzeh -> MrHumbug, 2016-01-16 12:18:14
The Saudi's are being played too... (although they are corrupt as hell so who cares) Likely against each other.
LiviaDrusilla -> AgeingAlbion, 2016-01-16 12:16:16
"Your" troops were an illegal occupation force, and therefore legitimate targets.

Besides, given that the thinking at the time was along the lines of ''Real men go to Tehran'' and that coupled with Shrub's idiotic 'axis' speech, then who could blame the Iranians for wanting to slow down the 'progress' of an invading army who might well have had them in their sights too?

Oh, and what do you have to say on the West's support for Iraq in a war which killed hundreds of thoussands of Iranians, many of them civilians? Or the shooting down of an Iranian civilian jet, killing all 280 passengers on board?

MGBrit -> hobot, 2016-01-16 12:11:53
USA. They've been there for years with drones and bombings, I know.
Babak Taurus ૐ, 2016-01-16 12:11:37
Good news indeed. For along time western trust in Saudis oil and money cost the Middle East a massive fortune. I hope the world see how peaceful Iranians are an those extremist in Iran are literally the minority. Today I feel proud because diplomacy solved a very complicated issue which I wouldn't see it coming. Thank you mr Zarif...
Win-Win
LiviaDrusilla -> andytyrrell, 2016-01-16 12:10:39
Oh, OK, I getcha!

I just wanted to explore this idea of why any argument against Iran, or anyone for that matter, having such weapons, irrespective of whether they plan to or not, isn't applied to the debate about whether or not we should get rid of our (UK) own.

If we put aside sheer hypocrisy (always an important feature of foreign policy!) then I think the usual argument is that, unlike we rational Westerners, the Iranians are crazy religious maniacs who can't be trusted with a bomb. In reality, though obviously the Iranian regime is a religiously-based one, they have shown themselves to be quite pragmatic and cautious over the past 2 decades at least. Which isn't to say the regime is benign, by any means, just that their foreign policy is based on rational self-interest (or their perception thereof) - just like any other country.

Another reason given is Iran's supposed 'support for terror organisaitons'. Putting aside the fact that defining what is a 'terror organisaiton' is largely a matter of one's political views, it's hard to see what this has to do with the nuclear issue specifically. Unless we buy the notion - straight from a 5th rate James Bond knock-off - that Iran could 'give' its (non-existent) nukes to a 'terrorist', as though a nuclear bomb was equivalent to an AK-47.

So, having disposed of those 'arguments', I think we're back to hypocrisy as the motivator.

Vizzeh -> Themediaspoonfedlad, 2016-01-16 12:03:49
If these coups continue, there will be no-one left to overthrow politically/economically, once the political safety-net is gone and there is no more political buffer zones, potentially those on the outskirts left opposing this, would backed into a war.

I don't back any country with Nukes, but I do back the balance off power, if Iran is overthrown with Syria, it would be dangerous times for the rest off us. It would be "safer" for Israel too disarm, followed by Pakistan, North Korea then East + West Bilaterally, simutaniously.

All under the helm off a Strong-Moral UN. A Free, Regional agreement.

AgeingAlbion -> nearfieldpro, 2016-01-16 12:03:26
Iran spent years supplying IEDs to kill our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan
OldSnort, 2016-01-16 11:58:51
Better to jaw, jaw than to war, war.
spotthelemon -> Zod Buster, 2016-01-16 11:56:51
Iran isn't Nazi Germany, if you want to pursue that analogy then its closer to Franco's Spain and we got on well if occasionally frostily with them for 39 years without having a war with them
Themediaspoonfedlad -> Andrew Nichols, 2016-01-16 11:55:48
Can anyone take the risk of allowing Iran to even play around with this stuff in anyway shape or form ? The west started this fight years ago and has
1. Up to 1953 robbed Iran of its oil.
2. After a progressive Persian govt renationalized and booted British Petroleum out of the country suffered a coup d'état instigated with US aid in 1953.
3. 1953 to 1979 Suffered a tyrannical US/UK regime under the Shah of Iran which led to the Islamic Revolution , ie we radicalized them.
4. After the revolution we armed Saddam Hussein to start a war and killed millions of Iranians.
5. Sanctions for the last 10 years.

What on earth do we do now?

MrHumbug, 2016-01-16 11:54:47
If I were Iranian I'd be double wary now of US's intentions. It seems that the working method of the "West" nowadays is to feign a warming of relations to draw yourself closer before a fatal stab. Remember Libya? And I recall Syria having a nice "warm up period" before the gates of hell opened. Take care, Iran.
Iconoclastick, 2016-01-16 11:54:14
4th or 5th largest proven/unproven reserves on the planet. I'm delighted sanctions are freeing up in Iran, but I can't be alone in thinking that the USA were going to find some devil in the detail for it not to go ahead, to be delayed. Still highly suspicious of USA motives here, but for now rejoice Iranian people. :-)
Vizzeh -> Andrew Nichols, 2016-01-16 11:52:21

The annula reports of the CIA/Mossad/German BND and the IAEA supported this fact consitently since 2004. It was only the despicable US/Israeli geopolitics enabled by their propaganda arm the mainstream media

I have always wondered on the conflicts off interest in this, doesn't the Security services support the political agenda for the most part? Have seen it over the last 100 years, on reading about it, maybe not entirely but compartmentalized they seemingly do.

I know in Syria, the Pentagon is apparently completely split, some feeding information around to Assad, while another faction supports the overthrow. Difficult to discern what is true/false but much of it does play-out/check-out logically.

However, what is with the conflict of interest in this case? I guess one is suppressing religion on 1 side, yet supporting the end of times theme on the other. Perhaps that is where the Military end this support on a Nuclear scale.

Themediaspoonfedlad -> Philip Bissonnette, 2016-01-16 11:42:45
I agree but China and Russia are a thorn in its side. The Russians are doing arms deals with Iran. Also a CIA led coup 1953 style is unlikely to work against a non liberal progressive govt. Iraq is in no position to be used to attack it.

Before the deal all the sabre rattling was hollow. No amount of bombing was going to stop an underground nuclear programme. Sanctions weren't working, Iran diversified its economy.

It looks to me that the west has to either start Armageddon to take Iran out or start to build bridges.

I don't think it is capable of succeeding now with either policy. This is very bad news for the future security of Israel. All thought it should be safe for 50 or so more years.

Andrew Nichols, 2016-01-16 11:39:05
Iran has always denied seeking an atomic weapon, saying its activities are only for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and medical research. The annual reports of the CIA/Mossad/German BND and the IAEA supported this fact consistently since 2004. It was only the despicable US/Israeli geopolitics enabled by their propaganda arm the mainstream media that maintained the charade of a clandestine nuclear weapon programme.
MrHumbug -> marovich11, 2016-01-16 11:33:27
Maybe it is that the US cold warriors are finally dying out. When the wall came down USSR dismantled its cold war power structure because they were the losers. US cold war professionals were the winners and saw no reason to fade themselves out - hence the often baffling aggressive and enemy-seeking US foreign policy in the post cold war period.

The problem is that times have changed now and the US has managed to rile others far enough to start their own mini-cold wars against US, particularly Russia which does have its valid reasons to feel it's been cheated and played for patsy.

Streatham -> ConventionPrevention, 2016-01-16 11:26:28

President Obama did irritate me in his State of the Union Address when he started bragging about how big and powerful the U.S. military was and how much tax payer money was spent on it. In fact it pissed me off when he said those things. It was the last thing I expected to hear coming out of his mouth.

So you weren't watching what he was actually doing over the past seven years?

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the George W. Bush administration ordered 50 drone attacks while the government of current US President Barack Obama has already launched around 500 such strikes. Obama primarily ordered assassination strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

The United States says the CIA-run drone strikes essentially kill militants, although casualty figures show that civilians are often the victims of the non-UN-sanctioned attacks.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-ordered-ten-times-more-drone-strikes-than-bush/5475415

kevinusma -> Ernekid, 2016-01-16 11:21:14
I'm an American who just got back from a 10 day visit to Iran. Iranians are among the nicest people on Earth. It is safe to visit. I had no issues when I was there. The only thing you should be worried about is safely crossing the busy streets, not terrorism or kidnapping. Don't believe the media fear machine.

http://www.thetravelsofkevin.com/american-travel-to-iran/

Streatham -> kaper39, 2016-01-16 11:19:38

Israel are a clever country to arm, the entire middle east hates them yet Israel clearly dominate their neighbours in any conflict. An ally we Europeans need with how the middle east is going

Ah, the West's colony in the Middle East.

LiviaDrusilla -> John Smith, 2016-01-16 11:17:55
Well, a low price is better than no price.

And Iran, unlike the Gulf sheikhdoms, is a real country with educated people. With sufficient investment and freedom to trade, Iran should easily be able to develop an economy which is not entirely dependent on oil - or gas, of which Iran has some of the largest deposits in the world. I'm not sure the same could be said for the petrostates on the other side of the Gulf.

BigJim1, 2016-01-16 11:16:50
" there remains a lack of clarity with regards to the US." - as ever you never know what the US is going to do, and I suspect the US itself does not know given it dysfunctional political system. Any system that could even contemplate the likes of Donald Trump for the office of President cannot be fit for purpose.
Alice38, 2016-01-16 11:15:41
Except that Iran will secretly make a nuclear bomb anyway.
USA and the rest of the world have been duped.
In the end ordinary Iranians who just wanted peace will not get it . Will not get it while they live under a mediaeval dictatorship that is
John Smith, 2016-01-16 11:14:12
"Lifting of Iran sanctions is 'a good day for the world'"

Unless you are Venezuela, Russia, etc and dependent on oil prices.
In many ways, not much has improved for Iran either, they can sell oil but at a very low price.

Vizzeh, 2016-01-16 11:12:48
This is a good day as it allows freedom off the Market... Next moves shows the world-stage who is motivated by Orwellian-double-speak (crying wolf) or those who indeed are the aggressors....

It would be interesting if it wasn't morally evil and destructive. It is a chess board.

Themediaspoonfedlad, 2016-01-16 11:07:52
Ho ho ho. This is a ceasefire. The whole project for the Middle East revolves around it's Palestiniasation , ie leave it in tatters with no state or economic infrastructure, eg Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq , Syria , Libya . All have suffered through foreign intervention largely US sanctioned. For the last 40 years since the west financed and armed Saddam Hussein to fight and destroy the state of Iran after it deposed the Shah this has been policy. This ideal I s like an unfinished course of anti-biotics , ultimately if you leave Iran standing it will always be a power base which can fill the vacuum in all these failed states.
There is no going back from the damage done...Iran has to be the West's next horizon if there is never going to be a nuclear Islamic state this century.

May a dead man say a few words to you, general, for your enlightenment? You will never rule the world... because you are doomed. All of you who demoralized and corrupted a nation are doomed. Tonight you will take the first step along a dark road from which there is no turning back. You will have to go on and on, from one madness to another, leaving behind you a wilderness of misery and hatred. And still, you will have to go on... because you will find no horizon... see no dawn... until at last you are lost and destroyed. You are doomed, captain of murderers. And one day, sooner or later, you will remember my words...

budigunawan -> MediaWatchDog, 2016-01-16 11:06:48

The far right in Israel, not for everyone. Saudi and far right wing Israel have a symbiotic relationship. Saudi can push it's agenda of Wahhabism that secures it's brutal regime and far right Israel profits from the bitter fruits of Saudi, as it means that Israel is seen as the anti-muslim anchor of the West in the region. Sadly, the political intervention of the US has been based around protecting and supporting this symbiotic relationship with money, troops and bombs.
Vizzeh -> JohannesL, 2016-01-16 10:50:53
Depends on the use off the word terrorist, if you mean fabricated terrorism for aggression, to forward political goals/Land/Economic reasons, or if you mean terrorism in defence of a Nation or a civilisation being oppressed....

It is based on perception, or rather delibrate ignorance. It is terrorism if it is at the expense off another mans freedom.

It boils down to morality aswell, but since the various factions, possibly even media are doing a good job too blur those lines, it makes it easier for people who do not think for themselves, to be either delibrately obtuse/Ignorant.

One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist

- Ghandi
copyniated, 2016-01-16 10:49:43
Obama has already issued an order(today) lifting sanctions on the sale of passenger airliners to Iran. Boeing & Airbus are in intense competition as Iran plans to purchase 500 airliners in the next 10 years worth billions of dollars.
PigeonBomb -> LeftOrRightSameShite, 2016-01-16 10:48:35

I'll take it with a pinch of salt given the lack of corroboration. There are many confirmed stories of injustice from inside Iran but I can see why you picked this one. True or not, it certainly makes a sensational headline.

errr ... OK ... how about these them apples:

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/07/19/vigil-marks-10th-anniversary-of-iran-hanging-two-gay-teens/

sensational and sour enough for you?

LiviaDrusilla -> mj50, 2016-01-16 10:48:27
I suspect they were hoping that once Iran had 'complied', sanctions would be dropped and everyone could get back to business.

They then, rather belatedly realised that for the Yanks, Bibi and the Gulf sheikhdoms, sanctions weren't a means to an end. They were the end. Happily, only one of the above three players really counts, and they finally saw sense.

usini, 2016-01-16 10:47:41
Th key point is that it is not only about the US and the EU. India, China and Russia will also see both great opportunities both to export and in general to develop trade. India has already talked about building a pipeline to Chah Bahar.
LiviaDrusilla -> wilding45, 2016-01-16 10:45:59

100billion of unfrozen assets - how much is going to find its way into London property making prices even more ridiculous.

Almost none, I expect. Iran is a country of about 80 million people, with an economy which has been severely held back through years - even decades - of sanctions. In that context, 100 billion isn't actually that much, and I expect the Iranians will find no shortage of ways to use it at home. And given that the Iranian government is still highly suspicious of the Brits (for very good reason) I very much doubt they'll want to spend this much-needed cash on overpriced pads in Blighty.

London's a kip anyway.

JohannesL -> kaper39, 2016-01-16 10:42:42
George W Bush said he got his orders from God, and they were amazingly similar to the ones he got from Big Oil. We know the results.
andyoldlabour -> fanazipan, 2016-01-16 10:41:33
They have killed Iranian scientists in Iran. They have killed thousands of Palestinian civilians.
JohannesL -> Vizzeh, 2016-01-16 10:41:03
Surely Iran is much less a terrorist supporter than the US and the UK?
chalkandcheese -> Ben Latimore, 2016-01-16 10:36:53
Apologies, I thought you were talking about Iran's extra income financing its armed forces, or its fuller influence now sanctions will be soon lifted. The 'now' in your comment lead me to believe you were commenting on the recent events discussed in the article, how mistaken I surely am to think you were being relevant.
1ClearSense, 2016-01-16 10:36:08
It i amazing how western oriented news organization by default report the talking point of the western regimes reflexively. Unlike the news bureaus in the soviet era, they don't need minders and censors, those are just built in or plugged in by interviews.
wilding45, 2016-01-16 10:34:20
100billion of unfrozen assets - how much is going to find its way into London property making prices even more ridiculous.

Unless we look at channel islands type restrictions for property market in se england our youth will only own property with inheritance and even then when the IHT threshold is well over a million if you project forward six years. (price doubles every six years).

Panda Bear -> andyoldlabour, 2016-01-16 10:33:56
Yes, there are a string of US presidents claiming God told them to do... or God wants them to be...
mj50 -> LiviaDrusilla, 2016-01-16 10:33:24
Good point, EU countries UK aside, very never comfortable with the position the west took with regard to Iran. How as the big boss in Washington decided what the policy was they had little choice.
Panda Bear -> andyoldlabour, 2016-01-16 10:31:21
Ha, ha, ha! US allies are never sanctioned, no matter how many International Laws they break, they ignore UN resolutions against them no matter how cruel and inhuman their actions. Where are the sanctions against US? Oh, can't be sanctioned can it...
frankoman -> bcnteacher, 2016-01-16 10:30:57
He can do what he likes, the US have given Israel a free pass, human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, threats to Israeli Arabs, 'hidden' nuclear weapons, all have to be ignored while their neighbours are subjected to endless scrutiny. While this continues the Middle East will never be at peace. Palestinians are humans too.
Vizzeh -> Blenheim, 2016-01-16 10:30:09
Or those that funded the creation of Israel? in 1917 - Balflour declaration, and what is currently going on today in Israel, still by dictionary definition, genocide.
copyniated, 2016-01-16 10:30:01
The hardliners in Iran "Delvapassan", most of whom work for hostile foreign intelligence services, are also in trouble. In fact the arch spy, Naghdi of Basij whose members stormed the Saudi embassy in return for petrodollars, now says it was the monarchists who stormed the Saudi embassy. A ridiculous claim as most people in Iran know that monarchists could not even organize a birthday party.
stevenfieldfare , 2016-01-16 10:28:39
....only a good day if Iran holds to its side of the deal... if not, downstream confrontation will move from possible to probable...
LiviaDrusilla -> bcnteacher, 2016-01-16 10:28:32
I think Bibi's play-acting just blew up in his face.
ConventionPrevention -> Powerspike, 2016-01-16 10:28:28
It's scary to say the least and one wonders if it can even be brought back from the brink if someone like Bernie Sanders was to be elected. President Obama did irritate me in his State of the Union Address when he started bragging about how big and powerful the U.S. military was and how much tax payer money was spent on it. In fact it pissed me off when he said those things. It was the last thing I expected to hear coming out of his mouth. He sounded like a republican braggart. It really annoyed me. I do believe, to his discredit, that he was trying to appease the Repulicans.
LordWotWot, 2016-01-16 10:25:53
"Whoever though it was a good idea to become closely allied to the barbaric sheikhs of Arabia whose petrodollars are fueling wahhabi barbarism, is a complete idiot."......President Roosevelt
LiviaDrusilla -> Powerspike, 2016-01-16 10:25:35
Really interesting article. Thanks for linking - I love Glenn Greenwald's site.

I also loved this quote:

"A sailor may have punched the wrong coordinates into the GPS and they wound up off course."

So what could be interpreted as an act of war is down to some dunderhead 'punching the wrong coordinates'? 4realz? And of course the fact that the Yanks basically lied and did indeed intentionally violate Iranian territory will not be covered by the media. And like I said before, where are all those posters who accused several of us of being 'bots' because GPS imagery would of course show the Yanks were in international waters and the Iranians were fibbing, as always?

Vizzeh, 2016-01-16 10:20:25
Surely this is the end of Saudi Arabia if they continue to keep the oil prices low, bringing the rest of the market down with it, at the expense of their own economy (& Nation) & ours. With this Iran will likely be able to sustain an economical war with less reliance on oil as the Saudis.

No sympathy for them or their terrorist support. Still waiting on economic/weapon sanctions and condemnation off them (and anyone else involved) by the UN etc

Hottentot, 2016-01-16 10:10:37
This is good news, and it has to be hoped that the Iranian economy can now start to grow. No doubt, the Saudi and Israel won't like it, but that's though, if either of these two countries had professional leaders, then their childish, spiteful and lying screams against Iran, would never exist.

Forrest also said ongoing human rights and terrorism related sanctions in the US would have an effect. "Whilst the EU piece of the puzzle is clear, as it has already published relevant legislation amending existing sanctions measures to pave the way for early EU termination, there remains a lack of clarity with regards to the US."

Arr .... the reason possibly is that the US knows it has already pissed off Saudi and Israel, so won't push the boat out to far, thereby exasperating an unnecessary situation further.

Blenheim, 2016-01-16 10:04:47
Lifting of Iran sanctions is 'a good day for the world' Yet these gangsters who control the finance industry(US/UK), and who can and do, impose sanctions at will, are free, without sanction, to wage war against whoever they so choose with impunity. Something is not quite right here, or are we too stupid, too compliant to see it?
Dennis Pachernegg -> dolly63, 2016-01-16 09:55:22
If the US, Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, and the EU say this agreement is watertight, you can safely believe that it is. Except of course, if you are smarter and better informed than all their diplomats and technical experts. Are you?
acornstooaks -> supercool, 2016-01-16 09:55:12
Ok - so you're anti nuclear weapons. Fair enough, you're free view. For me, much more importantly is the opportunity for trade. The Iranians are well educated and still have a historical connection with our country.

I am a manufacturer of made in UK retail product and will see this as a great opportunity to help build relationships and support the growth of our sustainable employment in the UK.

LiviaDrusilla -> 12inchPianist, 2016-01-16 09:54:12
If this technology is so promising, why didn't any the other nuclear nations offer themselves "a testing bed for the much safer Thorium reactor solution"? Iran isn't the world's guinea pig.
karabasbarabas , 2016-01-16 09:47:26
The sanctions are another kind of war. The tradesmen will win at the end
LiviaDrusilla -> Dennis Pachernegg, 2016-01-16 09:47:16
When sanctions started, they were nowhere near as harsh. European countries - as well as China and India - had long been growing tired of the extremely strict sanctions imposed mostly by the Americans. Though Kerry gets a lot of the credit for the deal going through, according to some reports, his European allies told him that they were going to stop abiding by the sanctions whether he and Bibi liked it or not. So he could either accept that reality or keep fighting the cartoon fight. Thankfully, he and his boss chose the sensible option.
12inchPianist, 2016-01-16 09:45:59
All the nuclear nations should have banded together with Iran to help Iran with their desire for peaceful nuclear power by helping Iran with expertise and funding to develop Thorium reactors. That would put the kibosh on Iran's nuclear weapons program and work as a testing bed for the much safer Thorium reactor solution .
Katrin3 -> marovich11, 2016-01-16 09:45:58
Unfortunately, those cooler heads, will be leaving the administration at the end of this year, when there are elections in the US. After that anything can happen.

It's been a rare pleasure to have diplomatic adults, not warmongers, in both the White House and the State Department, for the past 8 years.

Dennis Pachernegg -> oddbubble, 2016-01-16 09:43:43
Europeans already had business interests at the time the sanctions started, ten years ago. And yet they supported the sanctions. I don't see why it should be different now.
chalkandcheese -> Ben Latimore, 2016-01-16 09:41:10
You're joking, aren't you? Iran's output before the embargo was 2.6 mbpd, it has since been 1.4 mbpd.
jimbobsmells -> aberinkula, 2016-01-16 09:37:45

British foreign policy is a selective and hypocrital joke.

The quotes from Hammond today certainly prove that.
LiviaDrusilla -> Ernekid, 2016-01-16 09:37:07
Actually, it's never been that difficult for most European tourists to visit Iran. Getting the visa can be a bit of a pain, but most people who apply succeed in getting it quickly enough. And once you're in the country, you can travel pretty much whereever you like. There has been a requirement for British travellers to travel with an official guide, but I expect that will be dropped very quickly.
Katrin3 -> hoboh2o, 2016-01-16 09:31:03
Yes, unfortunately neither the UK or the US think long-term, when selling advanced weapons to the Saudis (or giving them to Israel). That may well come back to bite them, when the House of Saud falls, as it must.
damienbridges, 2016-01-16 09:29:42
Amazed this has gone through. The world's biggest and most dangerous children, Israel and Saudi Arabia, will NOT be pleased. These two are behind so much of the world's problems, far moreso than their parent the USA.
DeadDingo -> dolly63, 2016-01-16 09:28:00
where are Israels nukes pointing, out of interest?
andytyrrell -> laguerre, 2016-01-16 09:23:15
Yes I get that Laguerre, I don't think that's what they are doing either, but that's not really the point I was trying to make. Considering that, there are plenty of people around the world that think Iran does want nuclear weapons, in spite of Iran's protestations to the contrary, I'm guessing that there must be a ready argument for them not having such weapons. I'd be interested to know what that argument is and why it doesn't apply to us.
supercool, 2016