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Pompeo’s Albright Moment Arrives

Pompeo’s Albright Moment Arrives

Pompeo’s Albright Moment Arrives

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not a very bright guy. He is, like his boss, a thin-skinned bully with a narrow view of the world focused on US righteousness. With the sanctions going into place on Iran this week he gave an interview with the BBC which laid bare what happens when you scratch Pompeo just a hair beneath the polished surface.

Pompeo will be happy to see the people of Iran starve to achieve his ends. And those ends are purely in service of not only Israel and Saudi Arabia but the military contractors who back him and direct so much of the policy coming out of D.C.

Pompeo: Yeah, we’re going to work to do two things: that things that are sanctioned don’t happen, and things that are permitted to happen are permissible, and can in fact happen. [Speaking of food and medicine flowing unimpeded]

Well, remember, just so you remember, the leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat. They have to make a decision that they want to use their wealth to import medicine, and not use their wealth to fund Qasem Soleimani’s travels around the Middle East with – causing death and destruction. That’s the Iranian Government’s choice on how to use Iranian wealth. If they choose to squander, if the Iranian leadership chooses to spoil it, if they choose to use it in a way that doesn’t benefit the Iranian people, I’m very confident the Iranian people will take a response that tries to fix that themselves as well.

Aside from the fact that Pompeo has no idea how commerce works, this is a horrific statement. We’re going to destroy your economy and if you don’t overthrow your government you will starve.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Biggest Threat To Dollar Dominance

The Biggest Threat To Dollar Dominance

Russian oil exporters are pressuring Western commodity traders to pay for Russian crude in euros and not dollars as Washington prepares more sanctions for the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Moscow, Reuters reported last week, citing as many as seven industry sources.

While it may have come as a surprise to the traders, who, Reuters said, were not too happy about it, the Russian companies’ move was to be expected as the Trump administration pursues a foreign policy where sanctions feature prominently. This approach, however, could undermine the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the global oil trade currency.

Early indications of this undermining became evident this spring, when Russia and Iran launched an oil-for-goods exchange program seeking to eliminate bilateral payments in U.S. dollars and plan to keep it going for five years. The sanction buddies discussed this sort of agreement earlier, back in 2014, when Iran was still under Western sanctions. Even after the notorious nuclear deal was reached, the two countries decided to go ahead with their barter deal, and the preliminary agreement was reached last year. According to it, Russia would receive 100,000 bpd of Iranian crude in exchange for US$45 billion worth of Russian goods.

In March, Iran banned purchase orders denominated in U.S. dollars and said that any merchant using dollars in their orders will not be allowed to conduct the import trade. A month later, Tehran announced that it will publish all its official financial reports in euros instead of dollars in a bid to encourage a switch to euros from dollars among state agencies and businesses.

Now, Russia’s biggest oil producers are renegotiating oil delivery contracts with commodity traders, and three of them, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft and Surgutneftegaz, have raised traders’ hackles by insisting they, the traders, commit to paying penalties beginning next year if U.S. sanctions disrupt sales and as a result the buyers fail to make payments.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

President Trump’s Iran Policy – Is It ‘Normal’?

President Trump’s Iran Policy – Is It ‘Normal’?

It’s not often that US Government officials are honest when they talk about our foreign policy. The unprovoked 2003 attack on Iraq was called a “liberation.” The 2011 US-led destruction of Libya was a “humanitarian intervention.” And so on.

So, in a way, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was refreshingly honest last week when, speaking about newly-imposed US sanctions, he told the BBC that the Iranian leadership “has to make a decision that they want their people to eat.” It was an honest admission that new US sanctions are designed to starve Iranians unless the Iranian leadership accepts US demands.

His statement also reveals the lengths to which the neocons are willing to go to get their “regime change” in Iran. Just like then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said it was “worth it” that half a million Iraqi children died because of our sanctions on that country, Pompeo is letting us know that a few million dead Iranians is also “worth it” if the government in Tehran can be overthrown.

The US Secretary of State has demanded that Iran “act like a normal country” or the US would continue its pressure until Iran’s economy crumbles. How twisted is US foreign policy that Washington considers it “normal” to impose sanctions specifically designed to make life miserable – or worse – for civilians!

Is it normal to threaten millions of people with starvation if their leaders refuse to bow down to US demands? Is the neoconservative obsession with regime change “normal” behavior? Is training and arming al-Qaeda in Syria to overthrow Assad “normal” behavior? If so, then perhaps Washington’s neocons have a point. As Iran is not imposing sanctions, is not invading its neighbors, is not threatening to starve millions of Americans unless Washington is “regime-changed,” perhaps Iran is not acting “normal.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SWIFT Cuts Off Iran Central Bank As Tehran Sells 700,000 Barrels To Direct Buyers

As reported last week, shortly after SWIFT caved to US pressure and defied the EU announcing it would cut off a selection of Iranian banks, on Monday, the US Treasury said the Iranian Central Bank has been officially cut off the SWIFT financial messaging system. The disconnection, which comes at a time when Iran’s economy is reeling and its currency is tumbling as a result of restricted oil exports (albeit offset by numerous temporary waivers for top Iranian oil clients), will made it far more difficult for the Islamic Republic to settle import and export bills.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the move is “the right decision to protect the integrity of the international financial system”, and comes after several days planning by SWIFT.


I understand that SWIFT will be discontinuing service to the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions. SWIFT is making the right decision to protect the integrity of the international financial system.


As previously discussed, SWIFT said it would begin cutting off access to several unspecified Iranian banks. More than 70 Iranian and Iranian-linked financial institutions were sanctioned, including a host of banks that allegedly provided services to Hamas and Hezbollah, and others that provided services to the Iranian armed forces.

While the US could not directly force SWIFT to cut off Iranian banks, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned that penalties would be applied to SWIFT and any other firms that refused to comply with the latest sanctions, effectively forcing SWIFT to pick between compliance with US demands or angering top EU officials. It picked the former.

An allegedly “neutral” entity, SWIFT had found itself torn between a US-EU diplomatic row as of late.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

OPEC+ Floats 1 Million Barrel Production Cut After Oil Price Tumbles Into Bear Market

With oil prices entering a bear market last week, tumbling 21% from recent highs as it became clear that Trump will significantly water down Iran oil export sanctions by granting waivers to its 8 largest clients even as US inventory stockpiles are once again rising amid almost weekly records in US oil production, OPEC and its non-OPEC allies – which is pretty much everyone except US shale producers – are starting to sweat, and during today’s meeting in Abu Dhabi they hinted that an oil output cut to limit excess production may be coming.

Speaking to reporters, Oman’s Oil Minister Mohammed Al-Rumhy said that “a number of global producers agree they should pump less oil in 2019, and a reduction of 1 million barrels a day would be a good number” according to Bloomberg. Others echoed his sentiment, floating a range of cutbacks, however the most often cited number was a decrease in output by as much as 1 million barrels a day, roughly the amount of Iranian oil production that is expects to continue flowing thanks to the recent sanction waivers.

“I think probably there is support that right now there is too much oil in the market and stock, inventories are building up,” Al-Rumhy told reporters today in the UAE capital.


Oman min says a 1 million cut would be a good start


Of course, OPEC can not be seen as responding to every political whim in the White House, especially if it will result in higher gasoline prices and an angry Donald Trump, so a technical committee representing the coalition framed the need for a production cut in the context of its projections according to which the global oil surplus – which hit unprecedented levels in 2015 –

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran’s Leadership Must Decide “If They Want Their People To Eat” – Pompeo

Less than a week after US Secretary of State Secretary Mike Pompeo told Fox News Sunday that the “Iranians are responsible for the starvation’ of Yemeni civilians” he’s again issued hugely provocative words, telling the BBC during an interview that Iranian “leadership has to make a decision that they want their people to eat” in reference to the latest round of US sanctions.

As the interview was with BBC Persian, Pompeo’s words were immediately translated from English and broadcast to the Iranian publicthrough BBC’s Persian-language publication. Pompeo repeated his theme that Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and a “destabilizing influence” in the Middle East while ultimately blaming the country’s economic suffering on the intransigence of the country’s leaders.

Pompeo’s words came on the heels of Iran’s foreign ministry issuing a formal response to this week’s US sanctions snap back on the energy sector, publishing a 3-minute video of FM Javad Zarif on Tuesday wherein Zarif emphasized that the sanctions mainly targeted average Iranian citizens, referencing “the economic warfare that directly targets the Iranian people.”

The most contentious segment of the BBC interview was as follows:

QUESTION: You say you are not punishing the people. You say that the sanctions are not targeting the people. But what if —

SECRETARY POMPEO: No, they’re not.

QUESTION: But what if the sanctions hurt the Iranian people, the ordinary lives of them?

SECRETARY POMPEO: The folks who are hurting the Iranian people are the ayatollah and Qasem Soleimani and the Iranian leadership. That’s who is bringing the difficulties to Iran today. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

France Takes The Lead In Protecting Iran Oil Trade From U.S. Sanctions

France Takes The Lead In Protecting Iran Oil Trade From U.S. Sanctions

Tank farm

France aims to lead the European Union (EU) efforts in defying U.S. sanctions on Iran, by supporting the creation of a payment mechanism to keep trade with Iran and making the euro more powerful, France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“Europe refuses to allow the US to be the trade policeman of the world,” Le Maire told FT, adding that the EU needs to affirm its independence in the rift between the EU and the United States over the sanctions on Iran.

The EU has been trying to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that would allow the bloc to continue buying Iranian oil and keep trade in other products with Iran after the U.S. sanctions on Tehran return.

The idea behind the SPV is to have it act as a clearing house into which buyers of Iranian oil would pay, allowing the EU to trade oil with Iran without having to directly pay the Islamic Republic.

As the U.S. sanctions on Iran snapped back on Monday, the SPV hasn’t been operational and reports have had it that the undertaking is very complicated and politically sensitive. The bloc is also said to be struggling with the set-up, because no EU member is willing to host it for fear of angering the United States, the Financial Times reported recently, citing EU diplomats.

On Monday, the Belgium-based international financial messaging system SWIFT said that it would comply with the U.S. sanctions on Iran and would cut off sanctioned Iranian banks from its network. This was a blow to the EU’s attempts to defy the U.S. sanctions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

SWIFT Caves To US Pressure, Defies EU By Cutting Off Iranian Banks

Shortly after Trump reimposed nuclear sanctions on Tehran on November 5, the international financial messaging system SWIFT announced the suspension of several Iranian banks from its service. “In keeping with our mission of supporting the resilience and integrity of the global financial system as a global and neutral service provider, SWIFT is suspending certain Iranian banks’ access to the messaging system,” SWIFT said.

The Belgium-based financial messaging service added:

“This step, while regrettable, has been taken in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system.”

SWIFT’s decision has further undermined EU efforts to maintain trade with Iran and save an international deal with Tehran to curtail its nuclear program, after President Donald Trump pulled the US out in May. Being cut off from SWIFT makes it difficult for Iran to get paid for exports and to pay for imports, mostly of oil.

As a further note, the EU was one of the few entities not to receive a sanctions waiver from the US earlier this week.

The European Commission was understandably displeased, and on Wednesday said it found the SWIFT decision “regrettable”

“We find this decision rather … regrettable,” Commission foreign affairs spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told a briefing.

As we reported over the weekend, last Friday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned SWIFT it could be penalized if it doesn’t cut off financial services to entities and individuals doing business with Iran. However, by complying with Washington, SWIFT now faces the threat of punitive action from Brussels.

Washington has been pressuring SWIFT to cut off Iran from the financial system as it did in 2012 before the nuclear deal. Six years, ago the EU imposed sanctions on Iranian banks, forcing SWIFT, which is subject to EU laws, to cut financial transactions with at least 30 of Iran’s financial institutions, including the central bank.

Iranian banks were reconnected to the network in 2016 after the Iran nuclear deal came into force, allowing much needed foreign cash to flow into Tehran’s coffers.

Iran Shuts Off Oil Tanker Tracking System As US Sanctions Start 

The US on Monday (Nov 5) is reimposing disciplinary measures targeting Iran’s oil, shipping, insurance, and banking sectors in what US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called “the toughest sanctions ever placed” against Iran. In response, Tehran has reportedly turned off all oil tanker tracking systems as the sanctions take effect today.

Analysts at TankerTrackers.com, a watchdog that monitors production, refinement, shipping, and trading of crude oil on a global scale, revealed in late October all Iranian tanker vessels turned off their transponders to avoid international tracking for the first time since 2016.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen a blanket black-out. It’s very unique,” TankerTrackers co-founder Samir Madani told Sputnik News.

Madani said with the transponders turned off, the vessels can only be monitored using private satellite imagery. He believes that such a shift to lesser transparency is a ploy by Iran’s leadership to keep the international supply chains open amid US sanctions.

“Iran has around 30 vessels in the Gulf area, so the past 10 days have been very tricky, but it hasn’t slowed us down. We are keeping watch visually,” said co-founder Lisa Ward.

The analysts suggested that going dark could pose significant problems in pinpointing the date when a tanker loaded its crude cargo.

Between 2010 and 2015, when Iran was slapped with international sanctions, its oil industry discovered that it could keep crude on tankers off the Gulf coast to avoid supply chain disruptions.

According to TankerTrackers.com’s research, there are currently six tankers with a total capacity of 11 million barrels moored offshore as floating storage, which allows Iran to continue deliveries.

Iran is the third-largest oil producer in OPEC, and the country’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri revealed in late October that Tehran had been exporting 2.5 million barrels per day over the past few months, said Sputnik.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Global US Squeeze On Iran Has Started: Europe is Looking For Alternatives

THE GLOBAL US SQUEEZE ON IRAN HAS STARTED: EUROPE IS LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES

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Today the harshest and highest level economic and energy sanctions that can be imposed on any country are being imposed unilaterally on Iran. The US establishment will try its best to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees and Tehran will do its best to cross the US minefield. Whatever the outcome, Iran will never submit to Washington’s twelve conditions.

Iran is not a fledgeling country ready to collapse at the imposition of the first tight sanctions, nor will Iran allow its oil exports to be frozen without reacting. In fact, US and UN sanctions against Iran date to the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and the fall of the Shah in 1979.

No doubt the Iranian economy will be affected. Nevertheless, Iranian unity today has reached new heights. President Trump has managed to bring reformists and radicals together under the same umbrella!

Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has said to President Hassan Rouhani: “You walk and we stand ahead of you. Don’t respond to Trump’s provocations because he is insolent and not at your level. I shall face him myself”. Rouhani believes “US policy and its new conspiracy will fail”. All responsible figures in the Iranian regime are now united under the leadership of Imam Ali Khamenei against the US policy whose aim is to curb the regime.

Under the previous worldwide sanctions regime, Iran began developing missile technology and precision weapons. Iran has never yielded in support of its allies because these alliances are an integral part of its ideology. Today, Tehran is not standing alone against the US and is waiting to see what course global sanctions will take before reacting. Officials in Tehran, convinced that Trump will win a second term, are preparing for a long siege.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Trump Decided To Back Down On Iran

Why Trump Decided To Back Down On Iran

Trump Iran speech

The Trump administration has finally faced up to what many knew all along: It won’t be able to take Iran’s oil exports down to zero.

The U.S. is set to grant waivers to eight countries, allowing them to continue to import some level of oil from Iran, on the condition that they ratchet down their purchases in the months ahead. The full list of the countries will be released on Monday, but they will surely include China, India, South Korea and Japan, which are four of Iran’s top buyers.

“The reported awarding of waivers by the US for up to eight countries to continue buying Iranian oil, on the basis that they reduce volumes, shows that in the short term at least the Trump administration has set aside the goal of trying to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero,” Peter Kiernan, lead analyst of energy at the Economist Intelligence, said in a statement.

Convincing countries to zero out imports from Iran was always going to be tricky. On the one hand, even if the Trump administration had a free hand, it would be technically difficult to achieve. Iran continues to discount its crude, offer cargoes in barter deals, use currencies other than the U.S. dollar, and otherwise ship oil using a variety of furtive means. Iran was always going to be able to maintain some level of exports.

More importantly, however, the oil market is simply too tight to zero out Iranian supply. Notwithstanding the latest plunge in oil prices – down more than 15 percent in the past month – the market is still tight.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fourth Turning & War of the Worlds

THE FOURTH TURNING & WAR OF THE WORLDS

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Image result for bomb hoax Image result for fourth turning war

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

The paragraph above captures everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen during this Fourth Turning. It was written over two decades ago, but no one can deny its accuracy regarding our present situation. The spark was a financial crash. The response to the financial crash by the financial and governmental entities, along with their Deep State co-conspirators who created the financial collapse due to their greed and malfeasance, led to the incomprehensible election of Donald Trump, as the deplorables in flyover country evoked revenge upon the corrupt establishment.

The chain reaction of unyielding responses by the left and the right accelerates at a breakneck pace, with absolutely no possibility of compromise. A new emergency or winner take all battle seems to be occurring on a weekly basis, with the mid-term elections as the likely trigger for the next phase of this Fourth Turning.

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Iran’s Powerful Hardline Cleric Threatens To “Instantly” Create $400 Oil By Seizing Tankers

Just ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran set to snap back on Monday targeting primarily the energy, shipbuilding, shipping, and banking sectors, Iran’s most prominent conservative cleric has announced that if oil exports are halted, Saudi tankers will be confiscated and Gulf countries attacked.

Powerful Shia cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda is the Friday Prayer leader in Mashhad, considered Iran’s spiritual capital and among the holiest places in Shia Islam, and sits on the government’s “Assembly of Experts” but has no formal government role or decision-making ability. However, he’s a powerful leader and chief spiritual force behind Iran’s conservative faction who has long been at odds with President Hassan Rouhani.

Iranian opposition sources report that Alamolhoda told his followers during his Friday prayer sermon:

If we reach a point that our oil is not exported, the Strait of Hormuz will be mined. Saudi oil tankers will be seized and regional countries will be leveled with Iranian missiles.

Prominent hardline cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda

The cleric is further reported to have declared that Iran has the power to “instantly” create conditions for $400 a barrel oil prices if it decides to act in the Persian Gulf.

He said as reported in regional opposition media:

If Iran decides, a single drop of this region’s oil will not be exported and in 90 minutes all Persian Gulf countries will be destroyed. The UAE and Saudi Arabia will be destroyed in 60 minutes. After 90 minutes the U.S. will have nothing in this country. And we haven’t even started with Israel. Beware of the day we go after Israel, too. That’s why they want us to round up our missiles.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Threatens SWIFT With Sanctions If Iran Isn’t Cut Off

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin threatened the global financial messaging service SWIFT on Friday that it could be penalized if it doesn’t cut off financial services to entities and individuals doing business with Iran. The warning came just days ahead of the US re-imposition of all US sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, which will take effect at midnight tonight and cover Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors.

Speaking to reporters, Mnuchin was quoted by Reuters as saying that “SWIFT is no different than any other entity,” adding “We have advised SWIFT that it must disconnect any Iranian financial institutions that we designate as soon as technologically feasible to avoid sanctions exposure.”

The Trump administration has been pressuring allies to cut Iranian oil imports to “zero” next month although on Friday the US agreed to grant exemptions to 8 countries that import Iran oil; the countries include Japan, India, and South Korea according to Bloomberg. China, the leading importers of Iranian oil remains in discussions with the US on terms but is among the eight, as is Turkey which will likely receive an exemption, the country’s energy minister said on Friday. The full list of countries receiving waivers will be released on Monday.

By cutting Iran off from SWIFT, Iran would lose its ability to be paid for its exports and to pay for imports. Washington has been pressuring SWIFT to cut Iran from the financial system as it did in 2012 before the nuclear deal. Six years ago the EU imposed sanctions on Iranian banks, forcing SWIFT, which is subject to EU laws, to cut financial transactions with at least 30 of Iran’s financial institutions, including the central bank.

Iranian banks were reconnected to the network in 2016 after the Iran nuclear deal came into force, allowing much needed foreign cash to flow into Tehran’s coffers.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran’s Top Oil Customers Resist U.S. Calls For Zero Imports

Iran’s Top Oil Customers Resist U.S. Calls For Zero Imports

oil loading

Just a few days before U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports return on November 5, the keywords about how much of Iran’s oil will come off the market are ‘lack of clarity’.

On the one hand, it’s unclear how much Iranian oil will really be removed from the market, considering that Iran has already started to switch off transponders on board of some of its cargoes, although ship-tracking data on the tankers that can be tracked shows that Iranian oil exports are falling, but not as steeply as the market and analysts were expecting just a month or two ago.

On the other hand, it’s unclear whether the United States would grant any waivers, with U.S. Administration officials giving mixed signals.

Yet, one thing is clear, and here analysts were right—Iran’s top two single largest oil customers, China and India, will continue to import Iranian crude. Although China and India’s Iranian oil intake in recent months has fluctuated, and although some of their companies most exposed to the U.S. financial system have drastically reduced or outright stopped imports from Iran (like India’s Reliance Industries), the countries saw their imports in the first three weeks of October increase or hold steady around the volumes from recent months.

According to S&P Global Platts trade flow data, Iran’s oil shipments to China between October 1 and 21 averaged 800,000 bpd, up from around 600,000 bpd average for September. Last year, average Chinese imports of Iranian oil were 602,500 bpd, Platts has estimated.

About half of China’s crude oil and condensate imports from Iran in October, around 400,000 bpd, were bound for a storage hub in Dalian in northeastern China, according to Platts sources and shipping data. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has reportedly leased some storage capacity at Dalian.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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