Sunday, 5 February 2012

Peter Jenkins on Iran's Nuclear Program



Source: Tehran Times

TEHRAN – Britain’s former representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Peter Jenkins has said that Iran has honestly and sincerely been cooperating with the UN nuclear watchdog.   
Jenkins made the remarks in a recent interview with the BBC Persian service in reply to a question about claims that Iran has not provided answers about the alleged weapons studies. 
Jenkins, according to a translation of his comments, said that he does not think that is the case and that he believes Iran has been honestly and sincerely cooperating with the IAEA and its inspectors. 
On the main bone of contention between Iran and the West, he said that the West maintains that Tehran should halt the uranium enrichment component of its nuclear program, but Iran is opposed to such a view. 
And Iran is right according to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty because every country has the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the NPT, Jenkins stated. 
Britain’s former representative to the IAEA also commented on the pressure exerted and the sanctions imposed by the West on Iran, saying that experiences of the past few years have shown that the continuation of this trend cannot help resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. 
It would be better if the Western countries learn a lesson from their past mistakes and engage in open negotiations with Iran, he stated, adding that a peaceful solution can be worked out to Iran’s nuclear issue based on the NPT.  
Asked about the fact that he used to believe that Iran’s nuclear activities have a military dimension, Jenkins said that he used to think that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but the reports prepared by U.S. intelligence institutions and the IAEA on Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities made him change his mind.



Iran Launches new Satellite



Source: Mehr News

Launch of satellite aboard upgraded carrier was great achievement’
TEHRAN, Feb. 4 (MNA) – Director of Iran Space Agency Hamid Fazeli told IRNA on Saturday that using the upgraded Safir satellite carrier rocket to launch the Navid (Promise) research satellite into orbit was a great scientific achievement for the Islamic Republic.
He said that the Safir B1 rocket enjoys more propulsion power compared to its predecessor, the Safir A1, and could put into orbit the Navid satellite which weighs twice as heavy as previous domestically manufactured satellites.





Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Ahmadinejad Submits $416 National Budget Draft

Source Mehr News
Ahmadinejad submits $416b national budget bill to Majlis
TEHRAN, Feb. 1 (MNA) -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented the administration’s draft of the national budget bill for Iranian calendar year 1391, which starts on March 20, to the Majlis on Wednesday.

The proposed national budget amounts to about 5.1 quadrillion rials (approximately $416 billion). The national budget for the previous year had envisaged about 5.39 quadrillion rials of expenditures.
Although there is a small decrease in the draft national budget compared to the national budget of the previous Iranian calendar year, the defense budget shows an increase of 127 percent.
The administration’s draft national budget plan also allocates more money for development, scientific research, and health projects.
The funding for running the government has been decreased by 5.6 percent and the government’s tax revenues have been envisaged to rise by 20 percent.
Reportedly, next year’s national budget is based on an oil price of $85 per barrel and the average value of the U.S. dollar for the fiscal year has been projected to be 11,500 rials.
The MPs of the Majlis must first approve the generalities of the draft national budget bill, and then they will commence work on the examination of the details of the articles in parliamentary committees in a process that may continue for a few weeks.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Iran in focus - CrossTalk on Russia Today, John Robson from Toronto Sun gets mauled!




Is Iran trying to intimidate its neighbors? How much of a threat is it to the US? Will tougher sanctions on Tehran solve any of the problems? Who will suffer from the pressure on Iranian oil exports? Will the UN nuclear agency delegation be able to clarify things, and what will its final conclusion be based on? CrossTalking with John Robson, Mamdouh G Salameh and Nader Bagherzadeh on January 3 - Source RT

Again the same old voices hysterically barking on the same lines, baseless rhetoric. John Robson from the Toronto Sun is completely shameless in aiming his false accusations at Iran. Robson spouts the same neoconservative agenda; pre emptive attack on Iran, Iran is a threat to Israel, what if we had not stopped Hitler and Iran 'is' developing Nuclear Weapons.  A great watch, simply to see the ill informed John Robson getting torn apart!

Iran to cut Oil to certain EU States

TEHRAN – Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has announced that Iran will cut oil exports to certain European countries in the near future in response to the recent oil embargo on the country. 
 
The European Union formally imposed an oil embargo on Iran and agreed to a freeze on the assets of the Central Bank of Iran on Monday, but existing contracts will be honored until July 1. 
 
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Qasemi said, “According to the Oil Ministry’s future plans, we will cut our exports to certain countries.” 
 
“Less than 20 percent of Iran’s oil exports are destined for Europe,” he said, adding that the sanctions will take their toll on the European people and will not create a problem for Iran’s oil exports even if exports to Europe are halted. 
 
The Iranian parliament is discussing a plan calling for a halt to Iran’s oil exports to the European countries that voted for sanctions on its oil industry.



Source: Tehran Times

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Iran considering plan to cut oil exports to Europe

Iran is considering cutting Oil supplies to Europe before the 27 member bloc July deadline.  Brent futures rose by 1% on the back of continuing tensions, with Iranian MP's debating on Sunday the plan to stop Oil exports to the EU.


TEHRAN - The Iranian parliament is discussing a plan calling for a halt to Iran’s oil exports to the European countries that voted for sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, MP Nasser Soudani has announced.  
The European Union formally imposed an oil embargo on Iran and agreed to a freeze on the assets of the Central Bank of Iran on Monday, but existing contracts will be honored until July 1. 
“A number of representatives of the Majlis and I are seeking to approve a plan according to which all European countries that made Iran the target of their sanctions will not be able to buy even one drop of oil from Iran and oil taps will be turned off to them so that they will not play with fire again,” Soudani, who is a member of the Majlis Energy Committee, told the Fars News Agency in an interview published on Wednesday. 
“Europe will burn in the fire of Iran’s oil wells,” and sanctions will take their toll on European countries for three reasons, he said, noting, “The first reason is that a number of European countries have no other option besides buying Iran’s oil since the structure of their refineries is compatible with Iran’s oil, and it is difficult for them to replace Iran’s oil.”   
  
“The second reason is that the embargo will cause an increase in oil prices, and the Europeans will be compelled to buy oil at higher prices,” Soudani stated. 
He added, “The third reason is that the Europeans, due to their need for Iran’s oil, will be compelled to buy Iran’s oil indirectly and through intermediaries, and this will inflict more expenses on them.” 
“European firms have no alternative but to enter into contracts with us since abandoning Iran’s oil would mean the extinguishing of the candles of their economic lives.” 
In addition, MP Emad Hosseini told the Mehr News Agency on Wednesday that the plan may be discussed at an open session of the Majlis by January 29. 
“If the plan is ratified, the government will have to stop selling oil to Europe before the implementation of the oil embargo on Iran by the EU,” added Hosseini, who is the rapporteur of the Majlis Energy Committee.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

On a lighter note, Snow in Tehran

Snow in Tehran from yesterday, courtesy of ISNA and Fars News















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Report: India to pay for Iranian Oil with Gold

A report from Russia Today suggest that India may pay for Iranian Oil with Gold circumventing EU/US sanctions.



Further analysis from Christoph H Horstel, a political analyst from Germany.



India drawn to Iran's favorable Oil Terms


India wants to take as much Iranian oil as it can because terms are "favourable", Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy said on Monday, after talks between the two sides last week on payment options for $12 billion of crude a year following fresh US sanctions.
"It will be our endeavour in future to tap the Iran source fully because the terms are fairly favourable," Reddy told journalists at an energy conference, adding India was exploring all options to pay for the crude.
India, the world's fourth-largest oil consumer, buys around 12 percent of its oil from the Islamic Republic. It pays through a Turkish bank after a previous clearing mechanism was shut down in December 2010.

But tougher U.S. sanctions signed into law on December 31 in a further bid to pressure Iran to rein in its nuclear ambitions make the route through Halkbank vulnerable.
An Indian delegation went to Tehran last week to discuss options and the two sides have agreed India could use its restricted rupee currency for some of the payments, a government source said on Friday.
An industry source confirmed on Monday that India was considering rupee payments while ruling out the possibility of paying in yen.
A rupee account for Iran could be used to settle Tehran's imports from third countries, the industry source said. "It will be an extension of the rupee arrangement wherever possible," the source said on condition of anonymity.
"Iran was very accommodative," Reddy said, adding that India respected United Nations sanctions but "we don't go by sanctions imposed by regional blocks, by certain nations."
On Monday, the European Union banned imports of oil from Iran and imposed a number of other economic sanctions, joining the United States in new measures aimed at deflecting Tehran's nuclear development programme.
Washington suspects Iran of trying to make nuclear weapons but Tehran rejects the charge and says its programme is for peaceful means.
The United States also wants buyers in Asia, Iran's biggest oil market, to cut imports to put further pressure on its economy, in what Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called a "strangling effect" to trigger popular discontent.
"We go by our interest," Reddy said. "Iran is the second-largest supplier (to India) so we need to utilise that source."
Iran currently offers Indian refiners 90 days of credit, more than other major suppliers. Term contracts run from April 1 to March 31.
The unprecedented effort to take Iran's 2.6 million barrels of oil per day off international markets has kept global prices high, pushed down Iran's rial currency and caused a surge in the cost of basic goods for Iranians.
Iran is the world's No 5 oil exporter and a regional rival to fellow OPEC member and leading exporter Saudi Arabia, which has said it could pump more oil to respond to any emergencies.
Indian refiners, like other buyers in Asia, have been looking to diversify crude supplies from Iran.
China, Iran's biggest customer, cut imports in January and February over contract terms and has been looking for alternative supplies.
Source: IBN

Monday, 23 January 2012

EU agrees Iran Oil Embargo

A move that sees the European Union 27 member bloc embargo Iranian oil with a 6 month grace period to allow the EU's biggest purchasers of Iranian Oil Spain, Italy and Greece to find new suppliers.  There have been calls from some within Iran to preempt the embargo buy cutting supplies to European buyers.  Brent and West Texas Intermediate futures rose today by 1.2%.

I see no benefit for the EU in such a move especially in the current fragile economic climate. It's also interesting to see that the UK who have pushed hard for such sanctions have ring fenced a BP deal that aims to pump natural gas from the Caspian Sea due to involvement of Iranian firm NaftIran who have a 10% stale in the project.

I'm curious to see whether Iran does follow through and implement it's own embargo on the EU, such a move would I think undoubtedly cause chaos in the energy markets.  Such sanctions simply drive Iran to look to the east.

In reality I believe that Europe and America are both in decline, that is in political influence and more perilously economically.  Facing huge budget deficits and with no real solutions their economic fragility it is difficult to see how the U.S or the UK will be able to influence decision makers in upcoming powers such as India or Turkey to stop dealing with Iran.  Turkey's bilateral trade with Iran is predicted to reach $30bln by 2015-16, whilst India's bilateral trade with Iran currently stands at $13.7bln.  Some Indian exporters believe that this can reach $50bln in the coming years.

China and Russia have firmly rejected the EU's oil embargo and the US/UK sanctioning of Iran's central bank, and see dialogue and not sanctions as the only way forward.  Such sanctions have the possibility of backfiring on the West,  I wait to see how Spain, Greece and Italy deal with the latest EU move.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Channel 4 Documentary from 2007

Once upon a time in Iran, a great documentary. Thanks to the You tube member who has uploaded the documentary.  This was aired in 2007, it's now almost five years on...

Synopsis:

The 2007 documentary by Channel 4 about the ideology behind Iranian Shiism. The role of Imam Hussein and Islam among the Iranian people, the struggle between good and evil in contemporary politics and society viewed through the historical glasses of the tragic Karbala incident. Iranian pilgrims visit the tomb of Imam Hussein that tells their own hidden stories. Channel 4 attempts to reveal the mysterious martyrdom culture of Iranians to the British public.

A steady drumbeat of leaks suggests that the US and/or Israel may attack Iran sometime over the coming months. Once Upon a Time in Iran is a road movie featuring pilgrims and presidents: a journey to the spiritual heartlands of the Iranian people and a tale of martyrdom that defines their view of aggressors and the outside world.





Islamic Awakening or Arab Spring?



I found it pretty hilarious when Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu's stood before congress in May 2011 espousing the Arab Spring movement as a 'Berlin wall moment' in the Middle East. Okay I have to say he did warn of the possibility of such movement being hijacked by groups not aligned with western ideals of democracy.  Nevertheless I found it extremely naive that Western politicians and media believed that the Arab Spring was a call for change to Western style democracy.    

Personally I have always been puzzled by Western Leaders who want to view the upheaval in the Arab World as some sort of 'freedom movement', seeking to remove the shackles of repressive Islam and replace it with Western style democracy.  Either Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy are all extremely naive and mislead, or they are playing us all for fools (I'll explain my reasoning later).

Here is an extract from Netanyahu's speech to congress in May 2011:

"...For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty.
These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then.  The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny.  This same tyranny smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of Hezbollah.
So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray
that the peoples of the region choose the path less travelled, the path of liberty.  No one knows what this path consists of better than you.  This path is not paved by elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule."


Now for me, when Netanyahu made this speech before congress I was aghast,  I could not believe that he for one second would predict that any movement in the region too topple regimes (that are in fact very secular already, look at Mubarak, Ghadafi, Zine Al-Abedeen Ben Ali) would result in anything but success for the Islamist parties that have been oppressed for 30-40 years by Western backed Arab despots.  Netanyahu mentions a fight between tyranny and freedom. Who represents the tyranny?  His ally and Washington's friend Hosni Mubarak, or the Islamists?  Or the idea of nations that can truly dictate their own direction without Western permission?

For me there are two common ideologies that sweep through the Arab world,  aside from economic prosperity which I believe to be values I think are universal to mankind.  The first shared ideology is that of Islam, regardless of how much Coca Cola and episodes of Friends you want to pump into the Arab world, all Arab nations are predominantly Muslim.  Whether that be practicing Muslims or simply by name its a cultural identity deeply entrenched in the people. The second shared ideology is that of the Palestinian cause.  Lets ignore the polices of corrupt Arab despots who have entered peace agreements with the Israelis. The Arab street on a whole supports the Palestinian cause.

So I have two conclusions; One of deceit and continued western interventionism in the Middle East, the other of empowerment for nations and their people free of Western governance.

I mentioned before it is possible that the West leaders are extremely naive and have no understanding of the Arab world, or alternatively they are seeking to create chaos and play by a divide and rule policy in the Middle East.  That is, in fact they (leaders of the West) are seeking to allow an Islamist run Arab world in order to create more fear in their own domestic populations (that of Terrorism and Militant Islam), and in turn allowing them (leaders of the West) to continue in their interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East.  I hope this is not the case.

It was to some very clear to see that such a movement was not an Arab Awakening as the West had wished for (for one reason or another), and as we now see it is the Islamist parties that have  been sweeping into power.  For this reason the upheaval in the Arab world represented an Islamic awakening.  However as much as I welcome true democracy and the will of the people I do wonder if the coming into power of Islamist parties is part of a greater plan by devised in Washington.  That is by creating another enemy in the form of true Islamic nation states similar to Iran's theocracy?

Governments that serve the nation and the will of the people will always remain a threat to Western dominance in the region.  That is truly independent nation states that can reject foreign interventionism and dictate their own domestic and foreign policies will in time become powerful and exert their influence on there surroundings.  This is something that Washington does not want to see.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Britain interfering again

video

I fail to see the benefit of British's push for European Oil Sanctions against Iran.  At a time when Western Economies are extremely frail an oil embargo will only drive up oil prices.  Iran will and can replace European customers with demand in from the other nations in Asia.  Turkey, India, Pakistan and China have already rejected the latest US sanctions on Iranian oil. South Korea ad Japan have backtracked on earlier reports that they were willing to accept US demands to cut oil imports from Iran.

Britain is facing an uncertain 2012, with top economists predicting growth of 0.2% this year. Why the hell is the current British government not focusing its energies on her domestic issues instead of involving itself in protecting Israels interests?

Who's interests are being protected here?  The British people's or AIPAC backed American military industrial complex?  Iran and Britain could be potential trade partners, Iran as a N-11 country with huge potential for economic growth has sought trade with the British, bringing jobs and investment to the UK.  Sanctions have dented any chance of this flourishing relationship from developing at a cost to the UK industry and service sector.  UK exports to Iran in 2010 stood at £285 million, this figure stood at £463 million in 2005.  

Now who benefits here from Cameron's new interventionist foreign policy?  UK small business? Clearly not.  Iran has since replaced the UK's market share to other countries.  Do UK policy makers and politicians serve the people and society or simply act to serve their own interests and bank balances?  After all war is good business for people at the top, one only has too look at Tony Blair's bank balance since he left office. 

A Separation

Iranian film A Separation takes the award for best foreign film at the Golden Globe's.  I'm not so sure how accepting the award from pop Icon Madonna will go down with hard line figures in Iran, congratulations to Asghar Farhadi and his cast and crew.  Success at the Oscars to come maybe?


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Rick Santorum



What statesman endorses murder or civilians?


Well apparently Rick Santorum does. Its because he has such big balls (as he is showing us above), I mean he's a real man!  I was in such a rage after watching him in glee approve the killing of nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahamadi Roshan.  

Again it seems a past time for American politicians and commentators to advocate murder and killings on the streets of Tehran.  I think Ann Coulter started the trend which has snowballed into something of a past time. John McCain took it too another level with his Barbara Ann remix...


 If it's not individual pot shots there all at it together, just look at the foreign policy debate in which GOP candidates tried to outdo each other on how to deal with Iran.  Thankfully Herman Cain is going to be sticking with enjoying the profits of his Pizza making empire, and Michelle Bachmann will have more time to spend learning about her nations foreign policy history (apparently there's an American Embassy in Tehran).


 I'm hoping the common sense will prevail (Ron Paul)....

Could any other nation get away with this?


Could any other nation on earth get away with such actions?  This is the fourth Iranian nuclear technician to be targeted.  Fingers point to a Mossad/MKO/CIA triangle.  If Iran were to commit such acts in another nation it would be enough for Western governments to cry foul and impose more sanctions or call for war! One only has to look at the alleged recent events of an Iranian plot to kill a Saudi ambassador on American soil. An unproven allegation (and yet unbelievably implausible) was timed conveniently with Obama announcing new sanctions on Iran.  Such allegations that are used time and time again in Washington's rhetoric to show Iran as a rogue state that worked outside of international norms.

Again the shameful double standards appear, one rule for for the Western powers and another for the countries that dare assert their strength against western hegemony in their region.  It is funny how Western media outlets choose to ignore the shameful actions as a crime, they report the event without any human consideration, and some even with a sense of glee at the death of another Iranian scientist. Heres the lovely Rick Santuram with his thoughts...


An Introduction...

It all seems so familiar, but here we are again.  More lies and more spin, with Iran in Israeli and American aim.  All the hallmarks of the invasion of Iraq are there, sanctions, claims of WMD's and tyrannical despots.  It seems only the same lapdogs of American imperialism the UK and Canada seem to buy the story. And lets not forget the French, newly re branded under a Sarkozy desperate to prove his stature.

So here we go, hopefully I can debug the myths and shed some light on the truths...