Jumat, 13 April 2012

Iran sanction nuclear talks watch.....


TEHRAN, April 12 (UPI) -- Iran is trying to overcome U.S. and European sanctions by offering oil to potential customers at zero-percent interest for six months, industry officials said.
The free credit for 180 days -- offered to "a handful" of potential customers in Asia, including India -- amounts to a 7.5 percent discount per $118 barrel, the officials told the Financial Times.
Each month of credit amounts to a discount of roughly $1.20 to $1.50 a barrel, they estimated.
But even with zero-percent interest -- made popular in the United States by the auto industry to lure customers into empty showrooms during the 2008-2010 crisis -- Tehran is struggling to find customers, Gulf-based officials and European traders told the British business newspaper.
"Obviously, [the extra credit is] the easiest way for them to discount," a senior European oil trader said. "However, I think very few will be tempted."
Saudi Arabia and other leading Middle East oil producers typically extend 30 days of credit. Tehran in the past let importers such as China pay in 60 to 90 days, the newspaper said.
The report came ahead of talks, to begin Friday, between Iran and the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany on Iran's nuclear program -- talks that broke off in stalemate more than a year ago.
U.S. and European officials, supported by U.N. weapons inspectors, maintain Iran plans to build nuclear weapons. Iran's leadership insists the government's goal is for peaceful civilian uses only.
Saeed Jalili, Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator and Supreme National Security Council secretary, predicted Wednesday the nuclear talks would succeed only if the six world powers arrived with "a constructive approach" and refrained from coercive tactics, Iran's state-owned al-Alam news channel reported.

"The language of threat and pressure has never yielded results and only reinforces the determination of the Iranian people," it quoted Jalili as saying.
The six powers had no immediate response.
The report of zero-percent interest also came two days after Iranian Petroleum Minister Rostam Ghasemi insisted Iran would have no problem selling its oil, despite the economic sanctions and an impending European embargo of Iranian oil, to start July 1.
"Iranian oil has high economic value, and the international oil market would never neglect it," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted him as saying.
But even before the oil embargo goes into effect, European purchasers of Iranian oil have started buying elsewhere, The New York Times reported.
In retaliation, Tehran suspended oil exports to Germany and planned to stop shipments to Italy, al-Alam and state-run Press TV reported.
It halted crude exports to Spain Tuesday and cut off oil sales to France and Britain in February, the media said.
The International Energy Agency oil watchdog said Iran's crude production had now reached a 10-year low.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday Iran had so much hard currency in reserve it would "manage well, even if we don't sell a single barrel of oil for two or three years."



WASHINGTON // Less than a year ago, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, visited India and said the relationship between the world's two largest democracies would shape the 21st century.
India and the United States are now navigating some of the rockiest waters since they began to build closer ties in the late 1990s, with Washington weighing sanctions unless New Delhi significantly cuts oil imports from Iran.
No one expects a return to strained ties of the sort seen during the Cold War, when India tilted towards the Soviet Union. But the mood is palpably different from 2008 when the United States ended a three-decade ban on nuclear trade with India.
Trade between the two countries has soared over the past decade but also hit high-profile disputes. The nuclear deal, meant to symbolise the new partnership, has been at a standstill over an Indian law on disaster liability.
India in December backtracked on a plan pushed by the United States to allow foreign supermarkets such as Wal-Mart into the country after an uproar by its ubiquitous small-store owners.
But few issues have caused as much friction as Iran.
A new US law, seeking to pressure Iran to end a nuclear programme seen by Israel as a major threat, will slap sanctions starting on June 28 on banks from countries that do not cut oil imports from the Islamic republic.
In public, US officials have played down differences and echoed Mrs Clinton's July 2011 speech in Chennai where she urged a greater global leadership role for India.
In a speech last month in Washington, the Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao said New Delhi's foremost foreign policy task was to promote the transformation of its economy and said that its share of oil imports from Iran was declining.

India historically has strong relations with Iran and relies on Tehran to ship assistance to Afghanistan, where New Delhi has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of US-led efforts to fight the Taliban.
The main concern for policymakers in New Delhi is not Iran but Pakistan - which has a long-standing, if uneasy, partnership with the United States and where a number of anti-Indian militants operate openly.
Walter Lohman, the director of the Asian studies centre at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that Japan and other US allies have taken actions such as sending troops to Iraq out of consideration for ties to Washington.
But Mr Lohman said the United States had nothing to show for its efforts on India and called it "crazy" to support a permanent Indian seat on the UN Security Council - as President Barack Obama pledged on a 2010 visit to New Delhi.
"If our partnership can't support an effort to bring maximum pressure to bear on Iran over its nuclear programme, I don't see what it can possibly support," Mr Lohman said.
But Daniel Twining, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said the US relationship with India was based on a longer-term view that a stronger, more prosperous "giant democracy" was in the world's interest.
Mr Twining said the United States should not be surprised to deal with a nation that "believes its own virtues are supreme and thinks it should pursue its own interests to the detriment of whatever else anyone might say".
"Most countries in the world are used to dealing with a country like this - it's just that they're dealing with us," he 


China hopeful Iran will compromise with the UNSC

Posted on 04/13/2012 by Juan
China’s official Xinhuanet news service is predicting that Iran will compromise with the 5 members of the UN Security Council plus Germany as they meet in Istanbul beginning on Friday. The Chinese news service points out that Iran is suffering 25% to 35% inflation at the moment. Moreover, the Iranian currency has fallen dramatically against the dollar, and 25 of Iran’s banks have been kicked off the SWIFT exchange under European Union pressure (the EU in turn acted because it is afraid of US sanctions otherwise.) Xinhuanet does not say that Tehran will just give in, but quotes an Iran specialist to the effect that they will give in on some small issues in hopes of getting the negotiation ball rolling.
China has every reason to hope for this outcome. It is being put in the uncomfortable position of being the chief country defying the United States over the latter’s unilateral boycott of Iranian oil. Other Asian countries are even hoping that China will insure, or arrange to have insured, the ships that will take the oil to Asian ports. European Union sanctions now rule out European companies doing the insuring.
It seems clear that Iran will not give up its civilian nuclear enrichment program, aimed and making reactor fuel for energy plants. But apparently the West will press Iran to give up its program of enriching uranium to 19.75% for its medical research reactor. Iran will likely also be pressed to abandon its nuclear facilities at that cave (Fordow) near Qom, since it is underground and cannot be easily bombed (though it can be inspected and has been inspected).
The flaw in the west’s case is that it is hypocritical as long as the Israelis have some 400 nuclear warheads. Asking Iran to surrender even a virtual nuclear capacity when its rival has a real one makes for difficult strategic calculations. It is hard to believe that India would agree to give up its nuclear weapons if Pakistan did not. And the US has had 20 years after the end of the war to end its own nuclear stockpile, since its Soviet foe no longer exists; but that has not happened. Iran doesn’t even have the nukes to give up, and probably cannot have them for a good ten years even if they decided they wanted them, which Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei emphatically says they do not. But its civilian nuclear enrichment program probably is intended to provide some deterrence and it is not easy to understand why it would relinquish that deterrent capability for nothing in return from Israel.
The mothballing of the program to enrich uranium to 19.75% (for a medical research reactor given Iran by the US decades ago) maybe the easiest thing the Iranians could offer. Whether they will do so, and whether that will be enough to create a sense of forward momentum has yet to be seen.

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