Kamis, 05 April 2012

Iran talks may or may not occur shortly , Israel may not launch an attack until after US elections and in time for Israel elections and South Africa buying lots of Iranian oil


REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT -- Talks between Iran and six world powers over the Islamic Republic's controversial nuclear program have hit a new snag as Tehran is seeking to change the venue for next week's opening negotiations.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced last week that talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany would be held in Istanbul on April 13 and 14.
But Iran does not appear enthusiastic about the site, spurring calls from Iranian officials to find an alternate venue and a debate on other potential host cities. Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's foreign minister, said at the end of a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday that Istanbul remains a suitable site but that the Islamic Republic is looking for other locations, Iranian state television reported.
Iran's relationship with Turkey has become increasingly strained in the past year due to Turkish criticism of Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad, a close ally of Iran.
Mohsen Rezai, the secretary-general of Iran's influential Expediency Council, which advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said this week that it would be better to hold the talks "in another friendly country," according to a report by the Iranian Labor News Agency, or ILNA.
He suggested that Baghdad, Damascus or Beirut would be more "appropriate locations" than Turkey.
Tabnak, an Iranian news website close to Rezai, reported Thursday that Tehran had "officially" requested neighboring Iraq, which like Iran has a Shiite Muslim-dominated government, to play host for the talks, quoting a top Iraqi official.
China was also suggested as an alternate host, according to Iranian media reports.
Rezai stressed the importance of the location of the negotiations, saying "a wrong signal" should not be given to the six world powers and that the group should not be under the impression that Iran is in "a weak position", according to ILNA. Some observers suggested Iran was seeking to flex its muscles by backtracking on the proposed venue at the last minute.
This month's planned round of talks would represent the first between the Islamic Republic and the six world powers -- the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany -- in over a year.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stressed the importance of the talks going ahead.
"The situation is very complicated and could get worse," he was quoted as saying by Russia's Interfax news agency. "We can't wait any more."
The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons but Iran insists its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.



Iran ducks away from nuclear talks. Moscow: Mid East at boiling point 
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 4, 2012, 9:13 AM (GMT+02:00)
Tags:  Iran nuclear   Russia   US   Israel   Persian Gulf 
Mohsen Rezaie, his master's voice
Iranian spokesmen are maneuvering for a postponement of the nuclear negotiations with world powers set to take place April 13-14 in Istanbul,DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report. It is feared in Washington and Jerusalem that Tehran is working toward two goals: To have the venue removed from Istanbul and to buy a couple more months before the diplomatic crunch, considering that the US and Israel are treating the April talks as the last chance for diplomacy to reverse Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapon. A postponement would therefore delay any military option that Israel or possibly America would choose to exercise.
The Iranians want the site moved to Moscow, Vienna or Geneva, a change opposed by Washington because it would consume several more months before the talks got started. Tehran is also signaling through Moscow that it is not prepared for the diplomatic dialogue to take place under military threat or economic sanctions.
While Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refrained from mentioning military options in presenting his government’s three-year record Tuesday, April 3 – ignoring the three large-scale military movements afoot by the US, Russia, Turkey, Syria, Greece - and Israel itself,  Moscow is talking about an imminent  military conflagration as a result of the continuing US and Israeli military buildup in the Persian Gulf.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Tuesday, April 3: “The Middle East standoff could boil over into military action at any moment.” Referring to the massing of military and naval forces in the Persian Gulf, he said: The pot can explode if the diplomatic valve is not opened.”
He made no mention of the scheduled April 13-14 nuclear talks. One of the most influential figures in today’s Tehran Mohsen Rezaie was more explicit: “Given the fact that our friends in Turkey have failed to fulfill some of our agreements, the talks… had better be held in another friendly country.”
He did not specify which agreements Ankara had failed to meet, but his rejection of Istanbul as the venue for the talks was unqualified.
Strong criticism of the Erdogan government also came from a senior member of Iran’s parliamentary foreign policy and national security commission Esmaeel Kosari. He said during a visit to Azerbaijan:”Turkey serves as the United States and Israel’s messenger and mediator. The Turkish government will be hated by its citizens if it continues this role.”
In Iran’s political culture, neither of these men would have spoken without a green light from the office of the all-powerful supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Kosari’s mission in Baku was to investigate recent reports that Azerbaijan had given Israeli permission for its bases to be used by the Israeli Air Force in an attack on Iran.
Early Wednesday, April 4, Iraqi officials suddenly offered Baghdad as the venue for the forthcoming world power talks with Iran.
The US and Israel are certain to reject this offer because it would give Tehran the important edge of a key diplomatic event taking place on pro-Iranian soil.



Source: Bibi wants to use military assault as election propaganda
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A senior Likud politician has revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to delay an attack on Iran until weeks or months before next year’s scheduled Israeli election, dovetailing with other reports that the military assault targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities has been postponed until 2013.
“A senior Likud politician told my confidential Israeli source that Bibi Netanyahu has decided to delay an Israeli attack on Iran until some weeks or possibly months before the next scheduled Israeli election. That will happen by October 2013 unless Bibi determines he wants to go to the nation earlier,” writes Richard Silverstein.
According to the source, Netanyahu is preparing to take a huge gamble by following the strategy of Menachem Begin, whose decision to attack Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear plant shortly before the election in 1981 was a key factor in securing victory at the polls.
Netanyahu will be able to position himself as a war leader and rally the population around getting behind him to face an external threat if he launches the attack prior to the election.
Silverstein’s report coincides with an article published today by the Jerusalem Post which also cites anonymous defense establishment officials who suggest the attack will not take place this year.
“It could happen this year, but also 2013 is a possibility,” said the source. “We will need to wait to see the effect sanctions and diplomacy have on Iran and what the regime decides to do.”
According to the report, Israel is waiting on the outcome of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group comprised of the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, discussions set to begin in mid-April, before making a firm decision.
However, if Iran begins the enrichment of high grade uranium and clearly takes steps to build a nuclear device, Israel could change the timeline and swiftly launch the attack.
Last week we reported on Haaretz correspondent Amir Oren’s assertion that the attack had been delayed until spring 2013 as a consequence of a joint US-Israeli wargame that did not produce the desired results.
Oren also claimed that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s acknowledgment that Israel would not launch the attack without U.S. support before the American presidential election represented, “An announcement that this war was being postponed until at least the spring of 2013.”
However, with two U.S. aircraft carriers currently positioned in the Persian Gulf, and with another, the USS Enterprise, on its way, along with a number of smaller warships in the region, it remains to be seen whether this is all just a bluff to take the Iranians by surprise.


    South Africa's oil imports from Iran surge defying US-led embargoes
    South Africa’s crude imports from Iran stood at USD 364 million in February. (File photo)
    Tue Apr 3, 2012 6:29AM GMT
    South Africa has increased its crude imports from Iran to USD 364 million in February, up from zero in the previous month, firmly ignoring the US-led oil embargo on the Islamic Republic, an official report says.
    South Africa’s Revenue Service revealed on Monday that the country imported 417,000 tons of Iranian crude in February, indicating a dramatic change of a declining trend seen since October, when the country last imported 467,000 tons of the commodity, according to Reuters.

    In January, trade and customs figures showed that South Africa’s crude imports from Iran stood at zero, compared with a monthly average of USD 280 million last year.

    The US and the European Union have imposed financial and oil sanctions against Iran since the beginning of 2012, in persisting efforts to halt the Islamic Republic's increasingly self-sufficient nuclear energy program.

    Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama gave a green light last week to further sanctions against foreign banks and other financial institutions by or through which Iran’s oil is purchased.

    He claimed that there is enough oil on the global market to ensure that the move will not trigger an oil shock affecting US consumers.

    Iran has rejected the Western and Israeli allegations that its nuclear energy program involves non-civilian diversions, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has every right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. 

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