Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category

Reuters
February 19, 2012

(Reuters) – Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday, in a retaliatory measure against fresh EU sanctions on the Islamic state’s lifeblood, oil.

“Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped … we will sell our oil to new customers,” spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the Ministry of Petroleum website.

The European Union in January decided to stop importing crude from Iran from July 1 over its disputed nuclear program, which the West says is aimed at building bombs. Iran denies this.

Iran’s oil minister said on February 4 that the Islamic state would cut its oil exports to “some” European countries.

The European Commission said last week that the bloc would not be short of oil if Iran stopped crude exports, as they have enough in stock to meet their needs for around 120 days.

Industry sources told Reuters on February 16 that Iran’s top oil buyers in Europe were making substantial cuts in supply months in advance of European Union sanctions, reducing flows to the continent in March by more than a third – or over 300,000 barrels daily.

France’s Total has already stopped buying Iran’s crude, which is subject to fresh EU embargoes. Market sources said Royal Dutch Shell has scaled back sharply. Shell had no comment on the announcement.

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Among European nations, debt-ridden Greece is most exposed to Iranian oil disruption.

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Stephen C. Webster
The Raw Story
January 9, 2012

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta let slip on Sunday the big open secret that Washington war hawks don’t want widely known: Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.

Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Panetta admitted that despite all the rhetoric, Iran is not pursuing the ability to split atoms with weapons, saying it is instead pursuing “a nuclear capability.”

That “capability” falls in line with what Iran has said for years: that it is developing nuclear energy facilities, not nuclear weapons.

“I think the pressure of the sanctions, the diplomatic pressures from everywhere, Europe, the United States, elsewhere, it’s working to put pressure on them,” Panetta explained on Sunday. “To make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they’re doing. Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”

Republicans have been beating the drums of war in recent weeks as tensions in the Iranian gulf have soared. Iran has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil transport hub crucial to global industry, if U.S. warships return to monitor their activities.

Iran said it was planning to hold military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in the coming weeks, and prior wargames saw the Iranians test missiles that are designed to sink warships.

President Barack Obama recently agreed to fresh sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s central bank, in hopes of slowing down their nuclear program. The European Union was also considering fresh sanctions, and details were expected later in January. The U.N., as well, has sanctioned Iran repeatedly over its nuclear program.

Iran said recently that it had created the country’s first ever nuclear fuel rod made from domestic uranium enriched at their own facilities.

Nuclear fuel enrichment is much different from enrichment for weapons. Most commercial nuclear reactors use lightly enriched uranium, which is between 3-5 percent enriched. Weapons-grade uranium must be enriched to approximately 85 percent or more of a key radioactive isotope for it to be usable in an atomic bomb.

Iran added on Monday that it had also enriched uranium up to 20 percent in an underground facility, explaining that the isotopes were to be used to help cancer patients.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said late last year that Iran had carried out tests that suggested they may be taking the first steps toward building a nuclear weapon, but former agency insiders disputed the claim as being misleading.

This video is from CBS News, broadcast Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, as clipped by ThinkProgress.

Live Leak
December 1, 2011

This video is a basic overview of U.S. imperialism toward Iran that began at the behest of the British Government and big oil interests including British Petroleum also recently known as BP.

The United States’ own CIA led it’s first coup to overthrow a foreign leader against Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, The U.S. has suffered “Blowback: ever since, all the while the supposed leaders in Washington continue to demonize Iran’s leaders on flimsy grounds as more pretense to continued Middle East war and occupation by the U.S.

Ynet
November 28, 2011

Defense minister Vahidi tells army volunteers ‘Israel has to be punished for what it has done to the Muslims in Palestine’

Speaking before 50,000 army volunteers in Bushehr, the minister said “Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan, if the Americans make the mistake and attack Iran, we will show them how to fight,” adding “Israel has to be punished for what it has done to the Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon.”

However, according to Iranian news outlets Vahidi did not specify if the missiles would be fired from Iran or other locations.

On Saturday a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said the country would target NATO’s missile defense shield in Turkey if the US or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards’ aerospace division, was quoted by the semi-official Mehr news agency as saying the warning is part of a new defense strategy to counter what it sees as an increase in threats from the US and Israel.

Alex Spillius
The Telegraph
November 10, 2011

Iran’s supreme leader has warned Israel and the United States that Tehran would respond with “a strong slap and iron first” if either launched a military strike aimed at crippling the country’s nuclear program.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was speaking two days after the United Nations atomic agency released a report that for the first time said Iran was conducting experiments whose sole purpose was the development of nuclear arms.

“The enemies, particularly the United States and its pawns and the Zionist regime, should know that the Iranian nation does not seek to invade any country or nation,” he said, addressing officers at a military academy in Tehran.

“But Iran will strongly respond to any invasion or attack with such power and in a way that the aggressors and invaders will be smashed from the inside. Anybody who takes up the idea of an attack on Iran, should get ready to receive a strong slap and an iron fist.”

His defiant rhetoric indicated that Tehran, which insists it is pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, is set on a confrontation with the West.

The supreme leader, who has final say on all state matters in Iran, rations his interventions in international affairs, and appeared to want to send a message that the Iranian establishment was united in its commitment to hit back against any pre-emptive attack.

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Tim Shipman
Daily Mail
November 10, 2011

Senior Foreign Office figure: ‘We’re expecting something as early as Christmas, or very early in the new year’

Israel will launch military action to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon as soon as Christmas, intelligence chiefs have warned.

A report by a UN watchdog into Iran’s nuclear ambitions ‘completely discredits’ the Islamic nation’s protestations of innocence, according to Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran is developing a nuclear test facility, nuclear detonators and computer modelling for a nuclear warhead that would fit on an existing missile.

Sources say the understanding at the top of the British Government is that Israel will attempt to strike against the nuclear sites ‘sooner rather than later’ – with logistical support from the U.S.

A senior Foreign Office figure has revealed that ministers have been told to expect Israeli military action, adding: ‘We’re expecting something as early as Christmas, or very early in the new year.’

Officials believe President Barack Obama would have to support the Israelis or risk losing vital Jewish-American support in the next presidential election.

In recent weeks, Ministry of Defence sources confirmed that contingency plans have been drawn up in the event that the UK decided to support military action.

But the source ruled out direct British support, adding: ‘Of course we are not in favour of Iran developing a bomb – but do we think they’d use it: no.

‘The bigger concern is it will be impossible to stop Saudi Arabia and Turkey from developing their own weapons.’

Mr Hague said Britain would push for more sanctions against Tehran when the IAEA committee meets later this month.

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Associated Press
March 9, 2011

KABUL — International forces in Afghanistan have seized a “significant” shipment of rockets from Iran which would have doubled insurgents’ strike range, an official said Wednesday.

The 48 122mm rockets, which have a range of 20 kilometres (13 miles), are being linked to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards and were seized last month in Nimroz, a southwestern Afghan province bordering Iran.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan accuses Iran of providing equipment and support to Afghan militants waging an insurgency against US-led international troops.

But Iran rejects this, with a foreign ministry spokesman describing the allegations last week as “baseless and unacceptable.”

ISAF spokeswoman Lieutenant Commander Colette Murphy told AFP: “These rockets have a further distance than anything that has previously been found… They can go about 20 kilometres, that’s what makes the find so significant.”

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