Currently Browsing

Posts Tagged ‘ India ’

  • 26 June 2012
  • Posted By Jessica Schieder
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup: June 26, 2012

South Korea to Halt Iran Oil Imports

South Korea has announced it will be the first major Asian importer of Iranian oil to halt oil imports after a July 1st EU ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil goes into effect.  During the first five months of this year, South Korea imported about 192,000 barrels per day (bpd) on average (Reuters 6/25).

EU, Iran Brace for Oil Embargo

EU leaders ratified its planned Iran oil embargo Monday, dismissing Greece’s concerns that a reduction in oil supply could increase prices and further destabilize the Euro zone (WSJ 6/25). Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi responded to the ratification this morning by urging EU leaders to look “‘into the matter with more rationality and wisdom because I think nobody benefits from confrontation’” (Reuters 6/26).

Meanwhile, the National Iranian Tanker Company, has delayed a planned expansion of its fleet, according to industry sources (Al Arabiya 6/26).

  • 10 February 2012
  • Posted By Richard Abott
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 2/10

Amidst increased sanctions, Asian powers push negotiation

The Foreign Ministry of China has said it would send an Assistant Foreign Minister to Iran to “have a further exchange of views with Iran over its nuclear program,” amidst sanctions that are affecting trade. China has already sought discounts on Iranian oil and cut purchases this year by over half, pushing up India to be the largest buyer of Iranian oil, although India is still working out the details of a barter system (Reuters 02/10). Moreover, Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, has said it would consider proposals from Iran in barter trade. According to Reuters, Tehran is offering gold bullion in overseas vaults and tankerloads of oil in return for food and basic staples (Reuters 02/10). Meanwhile, as a delegation of Indian businessmen head to Tehran for new trade opportunities, Prime Minister Singh said “There are problems with Iran nuclear programme. We sincerely believe that this issue can be and should be resolved by giving maximum scope to diplomacy” (Reuters 02/10).

Japan is trying to gain a waiver from U.S. penalties on companies doing business with Iran while it seeks suppliers to offset a reduction in Iranian oil imports. Japan currently gets about 9% of its oil from Iran and it has already reduced Iranian oil imports by 40% in five years (AP 02/10).

Iranian oil trade flows drop and steel imports collapse

The International Energy Agency has said up to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iran’s 2.6 million bpd of oil exports could be replaced once sanctions go into effect, significantly greater than the 600,000 bpd of Iranian oil the EU bought last year (Reuters 02/10).

Steel exports to Iran, one of the world’s largest importers of steel billet, are collapsing because sanctions are preventing local buyers from using major currencies. Major steel traders are unwilling to accept payment in alternative currencies such as Indian rupees and Russian roubles. Steel billets are semi-finished long steel products used primarily in construction. The reduction in Iranian imports is depressing the prices of international steel billets, which fell by about $50 a tonne in one month (Reuters 02/09).

  • 8 February 2012
  • Posted By B.Farshneshani
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

News Roundup 02/08

Iran Sanctions Squeeze Country’s Food Supply

Sanctions are beginning to seriously affect Iran’s ability to import food products.  The All India Rice Exporters’ Association has called on its members to stop exporting rice to Iran on credit after Iranian buyers defaulted on payments for 200,000 tons of rice (Chicago Tribune 02/07).  In addition, Ukraine has stopped selling grain to Iran due to payment difficulties, and Malaysia has similarly stopped providing palm oil (Reuters 02/08). 

Former Israeli Spymaster: Israel Does Not Face Existential Threat

Former director of Mossad, Meir Dagan, maintains that there is no existential threat to Israel, putting him at odds with the country’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, who he has accused of dashing toward a rash military strike on Iran (Washington Post 02/08).

  • 23 January 2012
  • Posted By Sheyda Monshizadeh-Azar
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/23

European Union agrees to Iran oil embargo

All 27-member states have agreed to impose a ban on Iranian oil. Full implementation begins on July 1.  In response, an Iranian member of Parliament urged Iran to immediately cut off sales to the EU, in order to disrupt EU oil supply before the planned July date. (Reuters 01/23)

In addition, two other Parliamentarians again warned that Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for oil sanctions. (AP 01/23)

The price of Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 1.2% to $111.14 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the US reference, rose 1.3 per cent to $99.59 a barrel. (Financial Times 01/23)

Iranian bank Tejarat sanctioned 

The Obama administration has imposed sanctions on Iran’s third largest bank, Bank Tejarat.  All of Iran’s largest state-owned banks have now been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury.  In addition, an affiliate, Belarus-based Trade Capital Bank, was also sanctioned. (Reuters 01/23) 

IAEA confirms visit to Iran, aims to “resolve all outstanding substantive issue” 

“The Agency team is going to Iran in a constructive spirit, and we trust that Iran will work with us in that same spirit,” Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA. Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA told Reuters last week the visit would take place from January 29-31 and that his country was open to discuss “any issues” of interest for the U.N. agency. “The overall objective of the IAEA is to resolve all outstanding substantive issues,” the IAEA statement added. (Reuters 01/23)

Russia hopeful for renewed Iran talks

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that he believes there is a good chance that talks between global powers and Iran could resume, despite a planned EU oil embargo and other sources of tension.  (Reuters 01/23)

Rial Declines Sharply

Iran’s currency, the Rial, has fallen sharply to 23,000 per $1 US dollar — a 15% decline.  Gold prices have also increased significantly. (Enduring America 01/23)

Notable Opinion:

Time magazine’s Tony Karon examines the package that the U.S. is expected to offer Iran should diplomatic talks commence, and finds it unlikely to succeed:

Yahoo diplomatic correspondent Laura Rozen reported last week that insiders were suggesting  that Western powers will measure Iran’s “seriousness” in the coming talks by its willingness to halt enrichment of uranium to 20%, and turn over its existing stockpile of uranium enriched to that level.

It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to see that Iran is highly unlikely to accept a deal under which it gives Western powers something they want but leaves the latest, most damaging sanctions on Iran’s oil exports still in place, instead simply holding off on another round of UN sanctions — which are far less painful, and which the Western powers are unable to persuade Russia and China to substantially tighten.

Click here to read in full.

Other Notable News:

Muhammid Sahimi suggests that a growing rift can be seen developing in the Revolutionary Guard.

  • 11 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/11

Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated

An Iranian nuclear scientist and a department supervisor of the Natanz uranium enrichment plant, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was assassinated after an assailant on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb to his car. Iranian officials claim that Israel is responsible for the assassination (New York Times 01/11).

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “The United States strongly condemns this act of violence and categorically denies any involvement in the killing” (Washington Post 01/11).  Israeli officials have declined to comment. (Reuters 01/11).

The Guardian provides a timeline of similar attacks on Iran’s nuclear program and scientists.

Sanctions watch

Rebuffing pressure from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, China’s vice minister of foreign affairs repeated China’s opposition to sanctions on Iran’s oil export.  “We oppose pressuring or international sanctions because these pressures and sanctions are not helpful. They have not solved any issues,” he said. “We believe these problems should be solved by dialogue.”  (NY Times 01/11).

While India’s foreign minister insisted Iran is “crucial” to India’s energy security, companies such state-owned refining company Hindustan Petroleum Corporation are working to diversify their oil supplies away from Iran and are increasing imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia. (Financial Times 01/10).

Reaction to Fordo site

Russia expressed concern over Iran’s announcement of uranium enrichment at its underground Fordo site near Qom, and urged all parties to resume talks through the P5+1.

Secretary of State Clinton condemned the announcement, saying “there is no plausible justification” to enrich uranium to a 20 percent level. She said the step brings Iran closer to nuclear weapons capacity (AP 01/10).

Meanwhile, GOP candidate Rick Santorum said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is ignoring the facts when he says that Iran has not yet decided to build a nuclear weapon (Think Progress 01/10).

U.S. intelligence official discuss the effects of U.S. sanctions

A senior U.S. intelligence official tells the Washington Post that sanctions may “create hate and discontent at the street level so that the Iranian leaders realize that they need to change their ways.”  However, the intelligence official also acknowledged that the sanctions “could have the opposite effect from what’s intended and impel the Iranian leader to decide, ‘We’re going to build that nuclear weapon.’”  The official argued further that obtaining a nuclear weapon “actually might temper [Iran’s] behavior.” (Washington Post 01/10).

Iran blocks MPs from running for reelection

Iran’s interior ministry has barred at least 33 Iranian members of parliament from running in March’s parliamentary election. Most reformist candidates are refusing to participate in the election. (The Guardian 01/10).

IPS reports that, less than two months before the parliamentary elections, the Iranian government has instituted a new round of arrests and prison sentences for Iranian activists and journalists (IPS 01/10).  Meanwhile, Iran’s police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam discussed the launch of Iran’s national Internet service.

Notable opinion: 

In an op-ed for Foreign Affairs, writer Hooman Majd, returning from a 11 month visit to Iran, discusses the political climate, the effects of sanctions, and the state of the opposition movement:

So sanctioning Iran’s central bank and embargoing Iranian oil, tactics the White House may be using as a way to avoid having to make a decision for war, will neither change minds in Tehran nor do much of anything besides bring more pain to ordinary Iranians. And making life difficult for them has not, so far, resulted in their rising up to overthrow the autocratic regime, as some might have hoped in Washington or London.

Predicting the future in Iran is a fool’s game, as the country and its people have defied expectations for years. But with continuing political turmoil among conservatives, pressure from the West, parliamentary elections in March, and the almost complete crushing of the reformists, it seems that this year promises to be another annus horribilis for both the leadership and the people.

To read the full piece click here.

Additional Notable News:

A Washington Post editorial argues “every effort must be made” to stop “Iranian sales of oil everywhere in the world,” and that the Obama administration should not engage Iran at this point.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has published a list of a 110 secret executions in Iran’s Vakilabad Prison.

The New York Times reports that on Tuesday, the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet near the Persian Gulf saved a group of distressed Iranian mariners.

  • 6 January 2012
  • Posted By Ardavon Naimi
  • 0 Comments
  • NIAC round-up

Iran News Roundup 01/06

Iran and West may resume nuclear talks

Turkey’s foreign minister said that on his trip to Iran he delivered a western offer to resume nuclear talks and Iran has accepted (Reuters 01/05). A European official says that Iran has not formally responded in writing to the proposal for a new meeting (Yahoo 01/05).

Countries react to U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports

China is criticizing unilateral U.S. sanctions against companies that conduct transactions with Iran’s central bank. China’s foreign ministry spokesman said, “China opposes placing one’s domestic law above international law and imposing unilateral sanctions against other countries” (AFP 01/05).

India’s MRPL, that country’s biggest purchaser of Iranian crude oil, says it hasn’t cut purchases despite U.S. sanctions.  However, Reuters also reports “Indian companies have begun talks with alternative suppliers to slowly replace Iranian oil, fearing their current mechanism for payments to Tehran for some 350,000 barrels a day (bpd) via Turkey could soon succumb to sanctions.” (Reuters 01/06).

Japan and South Korea are looking for new suppliers of crude oil to gradually lessen their dependence on Iran in response to U.S. pressure.  (Financial Times 01/05).  However, a Japanese government official also told the Wall Street Journal that “There is no change to our position that the 10% oil supply from Iran remains vital to Japan, and that we will continue to make efforts to protect this supply” (WSJ 01/06).

Iran’s economic minister said the proposed embargo on Iran’s oil exports are “an economic war” (NY Times 01/05). 

Politico reports that rising gas prices caused by growing tensions between Iran and the U.S. are increasingly factoring into election politics (Politico 01/06).

New war games as tensions rise; U.S. Navy rescues Iranians from pirates

Iran announced it will conduct a new round of naval drills in February, while Israel announced that it is preparing for a major joint missile defense exercise with the United States that will involve thousands  of troups (The Guardian 01/06).

Britain’s defense secretary warned Iran that an attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz would be unsuccessful and illegal (Huffington Post 01/06).

 

Meanwhile, a U.S. Navy destroyer rescued 13 Iranian fishermen from pirates in the Gulf of Oman. The rescued Iranian captain offered his “sincere gratitude,” according to the Navy (CNN 01/06).

Human rights watch

Iran is imposing increased surveillance on Internet cafes and is reportedly preparing to strengthen internet censorship by replacing the Internet with a “halal” intranet system, potentially within the next few weeks (WSJ 01/06).

The Mothers of Laleh Park, a group of women whose children were killed or detained during Iran’s 2009 post-election crackdown, have issued the names of seven members or supporters who have been sentenced to prison (Rferl 01/05).

Notable Opinion

In an article for Foreign Affairs, Brooking’s Suzanne Maloney argues that the Obama Administration’s Iran policy “is sliding toward regime change.”

The Obama administration’s new sanctions signal the demise of the paradigm that had guided U.S. Iran policymaking since the 1979 revolution: the combination of pressure and persuasion. Moreover, the decision to outlaw contact with Iran’s central bank puts the United States’ tactics and its long-standing objective — a negotiated end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions — fundamentally at odds. Indeed, the United States cannot hope to bargain with a country whose economy it is trying to disrupt and destroy. As severe sanctions devastate Iran’s economy, Tehran will surely be encouraged to double down on its quest for the ultimate deterrent. So, the White House’s embrace of open-ended pressure means that it has backed itself into a policy of regime change, something Washington has little ability to influence.

To read the full piece click here.

Additional Notable News:

Enduring America posts an analysis of why the Iranian rial is falling and what that means for Iranians.

Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

[signature]

Share this with your friends: