but we are actually all winds
ever more than before
even ever more than before 
towards future 
and redeeming laughters
and happiest laughters
Start page JUMO | Code for America | good.is |
“If you want to free a society, just give them internet access. Because people, the young guys, you know, are all going to go out and see biased media, see the truth about other nations and their own nation and they’re going to be able to contribute and collaborate together.”
▸ [Iran, Sanctions] EU puts new sanctions on Iran [Natural gas and other sectors], AP

A statement by the EU foreign ministers said they had approved ‘‘additional restrictive measures in the financial, trade, energy and transport sectors’’ against Iran as well as imposing asset freezes and trade restrictions on more companies, notably those ‘‘active in the oil and gas industry.’’

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the ministers had banned the import of Iranian natural gas into EU nations.

The EU ministers also agreed to prohibit all transactions between EU and Iranian banks unless they were authorized in advance for humanitarian reasons and tightened restrictions on the Central Bank of Iran, according to the statement said.

They imposed more export restrictions ‘‘notably for graphite, metals, software for industrial purposes, as well as measures related to the shipbuilding industry.’’

Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the Iranian Resistance — a group that seeks the Iran’s regime’s ouster — welcomed the decision to expand sanctions as ‘‘an essential step to preclude this regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.’’ She asked the EU to sever all economic and commercial relations with the religious fascism ruling Iran.

Oct 15, 2012, 11:04am  0 notes      

▸ [Iran-China] Nuclear ruse: Posing as toymaker, Chinese merchant allegedly sought U.S. technology for Iran - Washington Post

Maraging steel is a critical material in a new, highly efficient centrifuge that Iran has struggled for years to build. Barred by sanctions from buying the alloy legally, Iranian nuclear officials have sought to secretly acquire it from Western companies. In recent years, U.S. officials say, an increasing number of Chinese merchants have volunteered to help, serving as middlemen in elaborate schemes to obtain the steel and other forbidden material for Iran’s uranium enrichment plants as well as its missiles factories.

“They are not just stumbling on opportunities,” said Steve Pelak, the Justice Department’s counterespionage chief. “They are professional, studied procurement agents and shippers. They know precisely what business they’re in and how to go after it.”

And now it’s looking China’s support for Iran/Syria seems so  unabated. But why. 

cf. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/chinas-dilemma-on-iran/251481/

Aug 20, 2012, 3:02pm  6 notes      

▸ [Iran] Iran and sanctions: When will it ever end? - The Economist

Not particularly well-written piece. Kind of scattered from one topic to another. 

  • Particular few at the top seem to be doing well, majorities are not.
  • Sanctions are really working, etc. (which - has been getting confirmed by many reports.)

Still feels like reading stuff published under slack edit inevitable during vacation season. 

Aug 20, 2012, 12:30am  1 note      

▸ [Iran, Currency Depreciation] Iran rial sinks 5 pct vs dlr as devaluation expected, Reuters

Iran’s decision to depreciate the exchange rate may indicate its foreign exchange reserves are being drained by the sanctions and that in order to conserve them, it realises it must make hard currency more expensive.

Bahmani was quoted by Mehr as saying on Sunday that the government had no problem securing foreign currencies.

At the end of last year Iran had $106 billion of official foreign reserves, enough to cover an ample 13 months of imports of goods and services in normal times, according to the International Monetary Fund.

That suggests Tehran probably faces no balance of payments crisis in the near term. But with oil exports shrinking, a global economic slowdown threatening to push oil prices down further, and banking sanctions making it more expensive for Iran to import many goods, Tehran may feel a growing need to protect its reserves.

In April the IMF predicted Iran’s crude oil exports would shrink to 2.0 million barrels per day this year from 2.5 million last year, causing its current account surplus to drop from 10.7 percent of gross domestic product to 6.6 percent. A deeper cut in oil exports, combined with lower oil prices, could conceivably push Iran into running an external deficit.

Currency depreciation is a risky strategy to deal with this threat, however, because it could fuel inflation. Consumer prices have been rising at annual rates above 20 percent, becoming a political liability for the government.

Ayhan, a university professor in Tehran who declined to give his full name because of the sensitivity of the issue, said any depreciation of the official exchange rate might fuel Iranians’ expectations for even more rial weakness.

"If the government rate becomes 17,000 rials to the dollar, the free exchange rate will become 26,000," he said.

Aug 06, 2012, 11:36am  0 notes      

▸ Iran nuclear talks resume [in Istanbul] amid soaring tension in the Gulf - The Guardian

The US and Iran have raised the military stakes in the Gulf as scientists from Tehran and six major powers gathered in Istanbul to try to resolve the Iranian nuclear impasse.

The US was reported to have increased its military presence in the region in recent months, doubling the number of minesweepers while bringing in stealth warplanes part as a deterrent to any Iranian attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz, a choke point on the Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s oil supply flows each day.

Meanwhile, as part of extensive war-games, titled known as Great Prophet Seven, Iran test-fired an array of missiles on Tuesday, including the short-range Shahab 1 and Shahab 2 and medium-range Shahab 3, which the state news agency Irna pointed out were capable of striking US ships in the Gulf.

In Tehran, the parliament called an urgent debate on a bill to block at least some oil tankers in the Gulf, and there were also signs the leadership might be considering the announcement of a new, higher level of uranium enrichment.

Higher than 20% of enrichment - 

At this point, I only find Netanyahu saying that

“Iran is showing contempt for the whole world, and plans to enrich beyond 20%,”


Jul 03, 2012, 2:49pm  2 notes      

“We believe from all of our reporting and sourcing that the sanctions are having an impact inside Iran,” she told a House appropriations panel. “We know there is a debate going on inside Iran among various power centers.”

May 15, 2012, 10:11am  2 notes

▸ [March 29 2012] Sanctions could cost Iran $50 billion, Reuters

Iran’s oil revenue could halve. Top buyers are moving to cut imports of crude from the Islamic Republic amid a coordinated effort by the West to tighten sanctions. If Tehran has to sell the oil it does manage to shift at a discount, it may soon face the pinch.The republic generated $100 billion in oil revenue last year, assuming exports of 2.5 million barrels per day and an average Brent price of $111 per barrel. That is roughly 20 percent of GDP and 80 percent of general government revenue, based on estimates by the International Monetary Fund for 2011.Sanctions could cut Iran’s oil exports by as much as 1 million barrels per day, or 40 percent, from the middle of the year, according to the International Energy Agency. That’s when both the European Union embargo and U.S. sanctions on third countries which don’t significantly cut their imports from Iran come into force. America’s threat to cut off central banks of countries that don’t play ball is already causing Asian countries to reduce their purchases: a fall of between 10 and 20 percent in exports to these nations seems reasonable.

Assuming Iran’s exports fall by 1 million barrels per day and it can sell at current prices of $125 per barrel, the government’s oil revenues will still shrink by one third in the subsequent full one year period to July. The actual outcome could be much worse. It’s not clear whether Iran has started discounting its crude but many analysts believe that will be necessary as financial sanctions complicate payment.

A Reuters poll forecasts the average price of Brent in 2012 at $115 per barrel. If Iran has to offer a 20 percent discount on top of that price and was still only able to sell 1.5 million barrels a day, then revenues would halve, shrinking by $50 billion.

Even without a discount, a similar outcome could materialize if global oil prices fall or the United States keeps up pressure beyond July for buyers to continue cutting imports. In the murky world of shipping, Iran might find loopholes. But if sanctions scare away buyers, that will deal a severe blow to Tehran’s finances.

Official figure for export is 2.6 million barrel a day - and then this estimate is 1 million barrels per day of decline in export.

38.4% decline. 

Then are there more serious examination on this. 


Iran Sanctions Are Having a Quicker Impact Than Expected (March 7th 2012, WSJ)

May 15, 2012, 9:43am  0 notes      

▸ 2nd UPDATE: Iran Oil Exports Fall In April As Sanctions Tighten-IEA - WSJ.com

—Iran oil exports could be down by as much as 1 million barrels a day this quarter, IEA says

—Iran pumped 15% to 25% into floating tanker storage - agency […]

In official submissions to OPEC, the Iranian authorities claim to have actually increased oil production by 38,000 barrels a day since the new sanctions were agreed in January, to 3.8 million barrels a day in April. OPEC’s own analysts, using secondary data sources, estimate that Iran’s oil production has fallen by 152,000 barrels a day since January to 3.2 million barrels a day in April.

Preliminary trade figures show the Islamic Republic’s crude exports fell by 600,000 barrels a day to 1.6 million barrels a day in April, a shipping source told Dow Jones Newswires last week.

Based on the average price of Iran’s main heavy-crude export grade, a drop in exports of this size would have lost the country around $2 billion in revenue.

A top Iranian oil official declined to comment on the latest IEA data. Other oil officials in Tehran confirmed last week to Dow Jones Newswires that the amount of oil the country is storing in ships doubled to 24 million barrels between March and late April.

If Iran fills its storage and is forced to shut down fields, it could have effects beyond lost export earnings, said Fyfe. Domestic natural gas supply, which also comes from oil fields, could be affected and there is a danger of long-term damage to the productivity of older fields, he said.

The oil market should still be able to cope with the withdrawal of as much as 1 million barrels a day of Iranian crude without dipping into oil stocks, despite supply and demand being “marginally tighter” in the second half of the year, Fyfe said.

May 15, 2012, 9:40am  0 notes      

▸ [May 5th 2012] Iran: Ever-resilient but maybe more malleable | The Economist

Iran’s leaders have so far prevented the devout poor from making common cause with the liberty-seeking middle class who dominated the Green Movement. The first reason for this is ideology. Unlike the sham philosophies of the defunct North African dictators, the Islamic Republic was founded on a bristly Islamism that even now commands millions of adherents, especially among the pious poor.

The second reason is the oil that has permitted Mr Ahmadinejad to shower cash on his supporters. In spite of chronic underinvestment and sharply decreased sales to the European Union, the industry remains profitable. Sanctions have helped keep prices high, and the Iranians know every trick in the sanctions-busting book, from discounted and barter sales to concealing buyers’ identities. According to Mr Ahmadinejad, a fund he set up last year to absorb surplus oil revenues is already worth $35 billion.

An implosion is thus unlikely. Hardly more convincing, however, is the regime’s talk of national “self-belief” burgeoning in proportion to the external threat. The reality for many Iranians is stress, a coarsening of courtesy and good manners and financial insecurity (and a sharp rise in bounced cheques). But that does not mean the regime is anywhere close to falling.

Malleable - and I still think this Economist’s piece offers real good frameworks for analysis. Ideological factors among population segments. And - economy (though any figures are really hard to verify or anything, also Iran-Syria etc can turn to more informal, underground means. How successful those’d be - I don’t know. But - usually, West has no means of countering (usually) - that has been the case.)

May 15, 2012, 9:33am  1 note      

“From the tone of this Wall Street Journal article, it appears that Bibi is coming to Washington seeking a virtual guarantee that the U.S. will attack Iran if Israel does not do so.”

The Total Collapse

(Said article is behind pay wall : http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203833004577249841698142780.html)

David Brooks (NY Times columnist) said the same thing on NPR’s All Things Considered (March 2nd 2012, today. He mentioned the name of Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with Obama?  in junction but not sure how it’s relevant.) 

I don’t trust Jeffrey Goldberg nor David Brooks. They are not really up-to-date, tend to be few steps behind, and I feel they are more about catering to shape public opinion at particular timings, without much context or consistency.

And Obama doesn’t have to deliver explicit promise on this at AIPAC.  Or even he does, well, it’s just words. So he can promise that too. 

The point is USA nor Israel might not have 1) capacity to destroy Iran’s facilities 2) stomach for risks and fallouts could follow such attacks on Iran, which can be enormous and become uncontrollable. 

But until something decisive happens, USA and Israel has to continue to keep up the pressure - in words and sanctions. 

Can take long. Meh. 

March 02, 2012, 4:28pm  0 notes

▸ [Under sanction, facing wheat shortage] Iran offers Pakistan 80,000 barrels per day of oil [to barter wheat], Reuters

Tehran’s offer comes a week after Pakistani officials revealed that Iran had asked to import a million tonnes of wheat in a barter deal, with the latest Western sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program disrupting critical food imports. 

"It is only an initial offer of 80,000 barrels (per day) on deferred payment at the moment," Irfan Qazi, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, told Reuters.

"We don’t know about the modalities or how it can be worked out yet. A delegation from the ministry will visit Iran in the middle of March to follow up on this offer."

Pakistan would import Iranian fertilizer and iron ore under that wheat proposal.

Energy-starved Pakistan is looking to increase its fuel imports to reduce power shortages that have crippled industry, prompted riots and shaved percentage points off its GDP growth. […]

Tehran has dramatically widened its reach on international grain markets in February, using currencies other than dollars and euros as alternative trade finance, with dealers also reporting talk of barter deals involving oil and gold.

Iran has to import wheat?

What’s going on with all these so many countries having need to import such basic items? 

Source: reuters.com

Feb 29, 2012, 9:49pm  0 notes      

“The EU is to freeze the financial assets of up to 10 senior figures in President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as part of a rapid escalation to tighten the “diplomatic and economic stranglehold” aimed at bringing an end to the bloodshed in Syria. Foreign ministers will tomorrow agree a fresh array of sanctions, including travel bans on high-profile members of Mr Assad’s team, restraints on Syria’s Central Bank, as well as restrictions on cargo flights and sales of gold and diamonds.”

EU tightens ‘stranglehold’ on Assad regime - Middle East - World - The Independent

EU ministers meeting today to further tighten sanctions. (Though sanctions will take time to have effect, if any.) 

February 27, 2012, 2:53am  0 notes

▸ Tensions over Iran push oil prices up near 2011 highs; gasoline hits $3.65 a gallon - Washington Post

The national average will likely peak in late April, [Tom] Kloza said, rising as high as $4.25 per gallon.

Above 4 dollars, 4.25 average. Means in place like Florida, California, it can literally skyrocket to the unprecedented level people might not be able to cope / bear.

Traders are mostly concerned with how the Iran situation will affect supplies this summer. Nobody’s sure what will happen, [Andrew] Lipow said, and that is pushing investors to buy more oil as an insurance policy against a major conflict.

“It’s just unclear how this plays out,” Lipow said. “The worry is that Iran will be forced into a position that they try to impact their neighbors in some way” and curtail oil production in the entire region.

And the worst scenario.

Feb 25, 2012, 12:58am  0 notes      

“We could not get access (to the Parchin military [missile technology R&D] site), we could not formalise the way forward. We will now report to the (IAEA) director general and later to the board of governors. Then we will have to see what are the next steps.”
Herman Nackaerts, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency AFP, UN atomic agency says no breakthrough on Iran visit

February 22, 2012, 1:34pm  0 notes

▸ Special Report: Iran's cat-and-mouse game on sanctions | Reuters

The ships and containers are key parts in an international cat-and-mouse game, as Iran attempts to evade the trade sanctions tightening around it. Washington and European capitals want to stop or slow Iran’s nuclear program. They believe Iran Shipping Lines(IRISL), which moves nearly a third of Iran’s exports and imports and is central to the country’s trade, plays a critical role in evading sanctions designed to stop the movement of controlled weapons, missiles and nuclear technology to and from Iran.

An analysis of shipping data sheds new light on that deception. Using data from IHS Fairplay, a ship tracking group that uses ship registration documents from various sources, and Reuters Freight Fundamentals Database, which compiles location data from every ship’s Automatic Identification System, shows that despite the sanctions 130 of the 144 banned ships in IRISL’s fleet continue to call at many of the world’s major ports hidden behind a web of shell companies and diverse ownership.

Feb 19, 2012, 5:28pm  0 notes