Home » Posts tagged 'iran'

Tag Archives: iran

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

What To Expect From Today’s OPEC+ Meeting: Another Saudi Surprise?

What To Expect From Today’s OPEC+ Meeting: Another Saudi Surprise?

After Wednesday’s JMMC meeting ended without reaching a recommendation (as is customary and expected), the key decision-making OPEC+ meeting – where ministers will hammer out May’s output quotas – begins at 1pm London Time. As Newsquawk notes, market expectations are skewed towards an extension of current cuts, but a clear stance from Saudi – who have a tendency to surprise in recent months – remains to be seen, namely on the decision regarding the extra 1MM barrels the Kingdom has kept offline since the start of the year.

Commenting on today’s key event, Bloomberg’s Jake Lloyd-Smith reminds us that Saudi Arabia has sprung some big surprises in the oil market already this year, and may do so again today as OPEC+ grapples with a thorny decision on supply. That could make for a volatile session before the long weekend, and already has with oil whipsawing from gains to losses in jittery trading, amid market rumors that OPEC+ is i) considering a return to phased monthly oil-output hikes and ii) is also considering maintaining current cuts, according to a delegate… which pretty much covers every base so is completely useless.

As such, while the consensus view is the grouping will stick with deep output curbs to safeguard crude’s recovery, there’s an outside chance of alternative outcomes. These span the twin extremes, from releasing barrels to tightening further.

At issue is the varied recovery across key regions. For every rosy demand metric from the U.S. or China, there’s a poor one from Europe as lockdowns make a comeback. In addition, Riyadh faces a headache from rival Iran, which has been pushing clandestine barrels into China despite U.S. sanctions…

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

opec+, oil and gas industry, zerohedge, saudi arabia, russia, iran, china, united states, economic sanctions, oil, oil price, bloomberg

The Iran-China Axis Is A Fast Growing Force In Oil Markets

The Iran-China Axis Is A Fast Growing Force In Oil Markets

One of the things that doesn’t get a lot of discussion in the press is the under-the-table relationship Iran and China have had when it comes to oil. At first glance, they wouldn’t seem to have a lot in common. One is a theocracy with a radical view of non-believers and the other is probably the only example of a successful communist dictatorship since this form of government was created. But, if you look a little deeper they have a couple of things that align their mutual interests strongly. The first is they are both absolute dictatorships, meaning the institutions of government and national policies can be changed at the whim of those at the top. The second thing they have in common, and this is the main takeaway, both countries have serious geopolitical issues with the United States.

Iran suffers from years of sanctions imposed primarily by the U.S. to compel them to comply with U.N. resolutions regarding their atomic program. China views this century as the one in which they displace America as the world’s dominant Super Power. The place where these two authoritarian government’s worldviews align is in their opposition to the U.S.

It’s worth noting China’s apparent success has been funded by western economies over the last 75-years, thanks to our desire to buy everything as cheaply as possible. In that time, China has become the manufacturing center for the world and amassed immense wealth in doing so. The pandemic has caused a rethinking of the wisdom of outsourcing strategic commodities to despotic regimes, but for now, if you buy something other than food odds are it was made in China.

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

Iran’s Defense Minister Says Country Must Prepare for Nuclear and Chemical Attacks

Iran’s Defense Minister Says Country Must Prepare for Nuclear and Chemical Attacks

Tuesday marked the 33rd anniversary of Saddam Hussein using chemical weapons on Iraqi Kurds

On Tuesday, Iran’s defense minister said the country must be prepared to face nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks.

“We should be prepared to defend our nation against all threats and whatever the enemy may one day use as an offensive tool, including chemical, nuclear and biological weapons,” said Gen. Amir Hatami, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.

Hatami made his comments on the 33rd anniversary of a chemical weapons attack by Saddam Hussein on Iraqi Kurds in Halabja, Iraq. During the Iran-Iraq war that raged from 1980 to 1988, Hussein frequently used chemical weapons against Iran, sometimes with US support.

Declassified CIA documents revealed that in 1988, the US shared intelligence with Hussein to show the location of Iranian troops, knowing he would use lethal gas against them. The documents revealed the US had firm evidence Hussein was using chemical weapons as early as 1983.

The US and other Western countries provided Hussein with materials to make chemical weapons at the time. A 1994 congressional inquiry found that US companies shipped anthrax and dozens of other biological agents that could be used to make chemical weapons to Iraq during the war.

Besides Iran’s history of being targeted by chemical weapons, Iran is also constantly threatened by Israel, the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. While Israel frequently takes covert action against Iran, Israeli officials have been hinting at a larger attack on Tehran’s civilian nuclear program if the US returns to the Iran nuclear deal.

, antiwar.com, iran, chemical weapons, middle east, israel, war, cia, united states

Game-changing Iranian Pipeline Set To Launch In March

Game-changing Iranian Pipeline Set To Launch In March

The geopolitically game-changing Goreh-Jask pipeline project saw a major advance last week with the commencement last week of offshore pipe-laying operations. The implementation of this operation markets the first stage of the offshore development of the Jask Oil Terminal and, according to the Pars Oil and Gas Company, this offshore section of the early-production phase of the project will be completed with the construction of two 36-inch offshore pipelines running for around 12 kilometres and a single buoy mooring with ancillary equipment. Overall, the company added, the early-production phase of the Jask Oil Terminal Development Project is 70 per cent complete, allowing the project to come online by late March.

After the completion of this first phase of offshore pipeline laying, the Goreh-Jask pipeline will begin full pumping tests aimed at ascertaining its capacity to transfer 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) of light, heavy, and ultra-heavy crude oil through the 1,100 km-long, 46 inch diameter pipeline that runs from the Goreh oil terminal in the north-west Bushehr Province to Mobarak Mount in the western Jask region along the Sea of Oman. This will involve the construction and deployment of 83 42-inch valves relating to the gate, control and emergency shut-off functions in the pipeline project, six smaller pipelines, five pump houses, three stations for receiving and sending pipeline pigs, 10 power stations, 400 kilometres of transmission lines, three single point moorings, subsea pipelines, and a stilling basin.

The initial focus of the oil-transfer chain across the Goreh-Jask pipeline will be the huge oil fields cluster in the West Karoun region, which are the current focus of plans between Iran and China to boost short-term oil production as part of the two countries’ 25-year plan

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

2020 Ends as It Began: With the Looming Threat of a US War With Iran

2020 Ends as It Began: With the Looming Threat of a US War With Iran

2020 began and ended with high-profile assassinations of Iranians, a buildup of the US military on Iran’s borders, and fears of another major war in the Middle East.

Finding A Way Around The World’s Largest Oil Chokepoint

Finding A Way Around The World’s Largest Oil Chokepoint

Oil is sometimes referred to as ‘black gold’. The discovery and export of fossil fuels have led to tremendous wealth creation for certain countries. In this sense, no region in the world is more blessed than the Middle East. Especially the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf are rich in oil and gas deposits. Unfortunately, political instability is almost a synonym for the Middle East. The risk of supply disruptions is a significant threat for those heavily reliant on fossil fuel sales. Therefore, risk mitigation is an important part of the business.

The antagonism between Iran and the U.S. escalated significantly under President Trump. According to sources, Washington came close to acting militarily but the President was dissuaded when informed on the risks and potential losses. Skyrocketing oil prices are one of those consequences as Tehran has repeatedly threatened to close off the Strait of Hormuz in case it is attacked. Approximately 20 percent of the world’s oil travels through the narrow strait separating mainland Iran from Oman and the UAE. Even a short disruption of supplies will most definitely have a devastating effect on prices. Circumventing the Strait, therefore, is essential to maintain exports to markets.

While Iran has been the most vocal when it comes to threats concerning the Strait, it has a contingency plan if the situation escalates. The country is currently building a pipeline from Goreh near the border with Iraq and Kuwait where the majority of the country’s oil is produced to Jask on the Gulf of Oman. The project is slated to be finished in March 2021 and has a capacity of one million barrels per day (mbpd).

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

No Matter Who Wins, The War Machine Wins

No Matter Who Wins, The War Machine Wins

The US government is pushing yet another unproven election meddling narrative about yet another disobedient government, this time targeting Iran and Russia.

This is exhausting. Do I really need to type this bullshit out?

Fine. Okay. Here we go again:

At a press conference with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray it was announced that Iran and Russia have separately obtained some voter registration information, and that Iran has been using its information to send bizarre threatening emails to Democratic voters with the goal of swaying the election.

As usual, no evidence of these allegations has been provided. Democrats are saying this completely unsubstantiated claim proves the Iranians want to help Trump, Republicans are saying it proves they’re trying to help Biden. Both are ridiculous.

The Reuters write-up on the allegations cites one source who says it’s unclear who was actually behind the threatening emails, and that “the evidence remains inconclusive” that Iran had anything to do with them. Washington Post‘s report notes that the allegation against Iran “was leveled without specific evidence”, and that metadata gathered from the emails points to “the use of servers in Saudi Arabia, Estonia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, according to numerous analysts.” No attempt is made to address this discrepancy.

If the US government held a press conference announcing that Iran is in the Middle East I’d have to check a map just to make sure it’s not an island in the South Pacific or something, that’s how much constant, shameless lying they’ve been doing about that nation lately. There is no reason whatsoever to believe unproven assertions by opaque government agencies who have an extensive and well-documented history of lying about governments they want to target.

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

Iran Says It Chased Off US Spy Plane During Large-Scale Hormuz Exercises

On Friday the AFP reported on some surprising statement from Iran’s military, which however remains unconfirmed from the US side:

The Iranian navy on Friday said it drove off American aircraft that flew close to an area where military exercises were underway near the Strait of Hormuz.

US Navy P-8A Poseidon, file image via Boeing

Specifically it was claimed that three total American aircraft, including a P-8 spy plane, a MQ-9 drone and a RQ-4 drone, were caught entering Iran’s air defense identification zone and were picked up by their radar.

Iran’s navy claimed that after “ignoring warnings by Iran’s defense systems to keep away from the drill zone” the American planes were tracked by an Iranian drone before “they changed course and left the zone.”

The Iranians are in the midst of three-day “Zolfaghar 99” exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil transit point, with the drills stretching into the Indian Ocean.

Despite Washington’s maximum pressure campaign still intense as ever in the form of sanctions, the kind of direct conflict witnessed early this year with the killing of the IRGC’s Qassem Soleimani has been largely absent this summer.

Iranian Fotros drone, via state media

Recall that days following the US drone strike on the elite commander while exiting the Baghdad airport, Iran responded with major missile strikes on US bases in Iraq, which in a sense remained “the final word” on the matter.

Likely not wanting to escalate things to a full-blown war, the Trump administration did not retaliate for the missile attack, which reportedly left dozens of US troops with concussion type injuries.

Iran Conducts Annual War Drill To Thwart “Foreign Threats And Possible Invasion”

Adding to the regional instabilities in the Gulf of Oman, near the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway, the Iranian military launched its annual three-day naval exercise on Thursday.

Iranian commander Admiral Habibollah Sardari, who is leading the drills, told Iranian state TV that the exercise would allow the military to thwart future “foreign threats and any possible invasion.”

Reuters notes the exercise is being conducted in the eastern side of the strait in the Gulf of Oman, a hot spot that was the site of last year’s tanker attacks.

The annual exercise, dubbed as Zolfaghar-99, will include naval, air, and ground forces. The drill will also include warships, submarines, fighter jets, and unmanned aerial systems.

The location of the exercise is situated near the world’s most important oil chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz, which has large volumes of oil that flow through the strait via tankers, accounting for about 30% of all the world’s oil traded in a given year.

Tensions have risen between Tehran and Washington this summer, mostly after Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard blew up a replica aircraft carrier in the strait.

Then in August, the Iranian Navy briefly boarded a Liberian-flagged oil tanker. The area has also seen a rise in Iran threatening oil tankers and US warships.

Ahead of the war drill, we noted last week how Iran’s state-controlled Afkar News saying that “American Soil Is Now Within the Range of Iranian Bombs.” The report bragged about the damage that the Iranian military could inflict on the Western powers:

“By sending a military satellite into space, Iran now has shown that it can target all American territory; the Iranian parliament had previously warned [the US] that an electromagnetic nuclear attack on the United States would likely kill 90 percent of Americans.”

With Iran increasingly flouting its military strength ahead of the election, tensions between Tehran and Washington will continue to rise.

Putin Sees US & Iran Headed Toward War – Proposes Urgent World Summit To Stop It

Russia thinks war between the US and Iran is on the horizon, and is proposing steps to stop it:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday proposed a video summit with the United States, Britain, France, China, Germany and Iran in a bid to avoid “confrontation and escalation” at the United Nations, where Washington is trying to extend an arms embargo on Tehran, reports Reuters.

But it’s hard to know what could be done at this point. Not only did the Trump administration void the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), but long-standing hawks like Pompeo have sought to ramp up sanctions at every turn.

AFP/Getty Imags

The situation has been stalemated, with Tehran demanding easing of sanctions or erasure altogether as a condition for fresh talks, but with the White House alternately saying Iran has to first abandon all development related to nuclear power (which the US says is actually for nuclear weapons) and its ballistic missile program.

But if Gaddafi’s fate is anything to go by (who abandoned his WMD program in the early 2000s and was “brought in from the cold” as they say – only to be overthrown by US-NATO military intervention and summarily executed in the street years later), the view from Tehran is that any ‘deal-making’ with the United States is impossible.

“The issue is urgent,” Putin said of his plan in Friday comments. He explained the alternative remains “only further escalation of tensions, increasing risk of conflict – such a scenario must be avoided.”

Iranian ballistic missiles, via Iran Focus

When asked about Putin’s proposal and a press briefing on Friday, President Trump responded: “I hear there’s something, but I haven’t been told of it yet.”

However, given Iran essentially sees the US as in a state of war with the Islamic Republic – especially given the January assassination of IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, it will likely less than optimistic for any UN deconfliction meeting to succeed.

Blast Hits Power Plant In Central Iran Sunday As Mainstream Media Admits ‘It’s Likely Israel’

Blast Hits Power Plant In Central Iran Sunday As Mainstream Media Admits ‘It’s Likely Israel’

Yet another strange and unexplained explosion has rocked central Iran on Sundayreports state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Citing no injuries during the large explosion, it occurred at a power station in the city of Islamabad, which is in the central province of Isfahan. 

At this point, the spate of ‘mystery’ blasts and fires which has damaged key military, nuclear, and industrial sites across Iran – especially in and around Tehran – is approaching a dozen in only the past month.

A separate, prior explosion in Iran over the weekend.

Like with many of the prior incidents, many of which were deadly, Iranian officials downplayed that it was potentially Israeli or US-backed sabotage on its facilities, saying it was likely caused by the erosion of a transformer.

Separately on Sunday, cellophane factory in northwest Iran erupted in fire. Video and images showed a huge cloud of smoke billowing from the site through the day as firefighters struggled to put it out.

Iran’s civil defense organization chief, Ghulam Reza Jalali, was cited in state media as saying Iran is not ruling out sabotage on the power plant either by internal opposition groups or externally supported entities.

To review, all of this comes after earlier this month an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site was destroyed in a mysterious fire which is increasingly being blamed on Israeli or US intelligence:

A former official suggested the blaze could have been an attempt to sabotage work at the plant, which has been involved in activities that breach an international nuclear deal.

On 26 June, an explosion occurred east of Tehran near the Parchin military and weapons development base that the authorities said was caused by a leak in a gas storage facility in an area outside the base.

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

VIPS MEMO: To the President—Avoid Hostilities Over Iranian Fuel Shipment to Venezuela

VIPS MEMO: To the President—Avoid Hostilities Over Iranian Fuel Shipment to Venezuela

The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) urges Donald Trump to avoid the slippery slope toward armed conflict as an Iranian oil tanker nears Venezuela on Sunday.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Avoiding Hostilities Over Iranian Fuel Shipment to Venezuela

Mr. President:

Recent U.S. rhetoric and actions against Venezuela — most immediately regarding Iran’s shipping of gasoline desperately needed during the pandemic — puts the U.S. at risk of an outbreak of dangerous and almost certainly counterproductive hostilities, not only in the Caribbean, but also in waters closer to Iran. As five Iranian tankers approach Venezuela, with the first due to arrive Sunday, hardliners in both Washington and Iran would relish a chance to give a bloody nose to the other side, but it may not be that simple. 

While the U.S. can invoke the Monroe Doctrine in Latin America, geography trumps doctrine. True, the U.S. holds the upper hand in the Caribbean. It does not have tactical advantage in the Persian Gulf — despite the formidable amount of U.S. weaponry already deployed in the area. We believe there is a good chance Iran will pick the Gulf as the place to retaliate for any quarantine or more warlike actions off Venezuela.

As former intelligence officers and other national security practitioners with many decades of experience, we understand the frustration your Administration feels as its “maximum pressure” campaign to remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro enters its 17th month without much progress. Our purpose is not to defend Maduro, whose economic performance has alienated many and compounded Venezuela’s problems.

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

Iran & Venezuela Hail Victorious ‘Defiance’ Over US As 1st Tanker Is Escorted By Maduro Forces

Iran & Venezuela Hail Victorious ‘Defiance’ Over US As 1st Tanker Is Escorted By Maduro Forces

The first among five Iranian fuel-laden tankers has arrived in gasoline-starved Venezuela amid US threats to intervene against the ‘sanctions-busting’ activity by two official Washington enemies. 

Reuters reports: “The tanker, named Fortune, reached the country’s waters at around 7:40 p.m. local time (1140 GMT) after passing north of the neighboring dual-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, according to vessel tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon.”

Multiple tanker tracking monitoring sites have confirmed the arrival of the ‘Fortune’ off Venezuela’s coast last Saturday.

Maduro’s economy vice president and recently named oil minister celebrated on Twitter:  “The ships from the fraternal Islamic Republic of Iran are now in our exclusive economic zone,” amid broader claims of ‘victory’ on state media. 

And per Reuters“Venezuelan state television showed images of a navy ship and aircraft preparing to meet it.” 

The other trailing tankers are also expected to enter Venezuela’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), or within 200 miles of the coast, in the coming days. 


Camila@camilateleSUR

Venezuela’s Yekuaka PO13 Ocean Patroller rendezvoused with the 1st Iranian tanker “Fortune” at 3pm on Saturday in international waters. This was the moment captured by @madeleintlSUR.

Embedded video

Iran’s IRGC-aligned Tasnim media hailed the safe arrival of the first tanker as “A turning point for Venezuela’s sovereignty and independence,” according to a state media report.

Over the past month Tehran and Caracas have become aggressively vocal in touting their “brotherhood” and joint defiance of Trump administration sanctions, for which US officials have recently threatened response, including the possibility of military intervention against the vessels in the Caribbean. Trump months ago reportedly ordered more Navy ships to the area to crackdown against what was dubbed the Maduro regime’s alleged narcotrafficking.


Iran@Iran

#Photos

First #Iran-flagged tanker Fortune reached the #Venezuela coasts while being escorted by the country’s navy forces

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

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

Oil Turns Negative After Russia, Saudis Agree To Cap Output At 8.5MM B/D For 2 Months

Oil Turns Negative After Russia, Saudis Agree To Cap Output At 8.5MM B/D For 2 Months

Update (1350ET): What started off euphorically, has quickly become R-OPEC’s latest dud, with oil now sliding red on the day after earlier surging more than 10%, following the latest news out of the oil producerteleconference, according to which Russia and Saudi Arabia agree to cap production to 8.5MM b/d, indicating a production cut of about 23% each, and which will last for just two months, May and June. 

Furthermore, as Iran’s oil minister explains, the total cut of 10MMb/d (which will include several non Russia/Saudi producers) will ease to 8MMb/d in July and then after Jan 2021, the cut will decline to just 6 million b/d production cut.

In a nutshell, R-OPEC is hoping for two things: i) oil demand will rebound after the summer and the oil market will stabilize organically as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus and ii) the US and other G20/non-OPEC producers join the cuts voluntarily, which however is far from assured.

Meanwhile, even with the 10mm b/d cut (which is really about 7 millions if one uses Saudi Arabia’s Feb production numbers) will be nowhere near enough to offset the global demand plunge which according to industry watchers such as Trafigura is as large as 35mmb/d!

And now that the initial euphoria has worn off and traders are able to do math again – and realize that the cuts are not nearly enough – oil has slumped and was trading in the red last as once again, OPEC has failed to live up to the hype.

Finally, as a reminder, here is why Goldman believes that after today’s pomp and circumstance, oil is still going to $20:

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

As Iran Hits 20,000 Cases, US Says ‘Coronavirus Won’t Save You From Sanctions’

As Iran Hits 20,000 Cases, US Says ‘Coronavirus Won’t Save You From Sanctions’

Even amid a global pandemic that’s altering daily life as everyone knows it, and with borders shut, markets collapsing, and talk of mobilizing the military domestically, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is keeping up the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran. 

“The United States sent Iran a blunt message this week: the spread of the coronavirus will not save it from U.S. sanctions that are choking off its oil revenues and isolating its economy,” Reuters reports

Consider too the blunt headline to the report — U.S. to Iran: Coronavirus won’t save you from sanctionsThis as a top Iranian health expert warned his fellow citizens to brace for “millions” possibly killed as a result of the deadly pandemic. “Our policy of maximum pressure on the regime continues,” Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iranian Affairs, told reporters this week.

But as Spencer Ackerman reports, this policy will actually make the Covid-19 spread more dangerous for us all:

“We are not safe in any place until everyone all over the world is safe,” Paul Anatharajah Tambyah, the president of the Asia-Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection, told the Wall Street Journal about a new wave of COVID-19 cases in east Asia.

“You have to facilitate these medical goods. Anyone who argues otherwise, or does otherwise, is a sociopath or a moron,” [bold mine-DL] said Jarrett Blanc, a former State Department official who monitored Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal that the Trump administration abandoned. “The U.S. should be busting its ass to make sure permissible medical exports are available to Iran. It’s in our self-interest.”

The administration gleefully (and fanatically some would say) rolled out with new sanctions this week targeting over a dozen Iran-linked entities and individuals. 

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase