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South Korea to Halt Iran Oil Imports

South Korea has announced it will be the first major Asian importer of Iranian oil to halt oil imports after a July 1st EU ban on insuring tankers carrying Iranian oil goes into effect.  During the first five months of this year, South Korea imported about 192,000 barrels per day (bpd) on average (Reuters 6/25).
EU, Iran Brace for Oil Embargo
EU leaders ratified its planned Iran oil embargo Monday, dismissing Greece’s concerns that a reduction in oil supply could increase prices and further destabilize the Euro zone (WSJ 6/25). Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi responded to the ratification this morning by urging EU leaders to look “‘into the matter with more rationality and wisdom because I think nobody benefits from confrontation’” (Reuters 6/26).
Meanwhile, the National Iranian Tanker Company, has delayed a planned expansion of its fleet, according to industry sources (Al Arabiya 6/26).

EIA: Oil supply increasing, but spare capacity tight
A new Energy Information Administration report states that the world’s spare production capacity for crude oil increased to 2.4 million bpd, up from 2.1 million bpd. However, the EIA cautioned that spare capacity “is still quite modest by historical standards, especially when measured as a percentage of global oil production and consumption.” (Reuters 6/26).
Israel Leans on Putin to Increase Pressure Iran
“‘I am confident that Russia, which defeated fascism, will not allow today’s threats to continue,” said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in front of visiting Russian President Putin. Despite Netanyahu’s increasing pressure on Russia, Putin demonstrated a continued reluctance to support tougher sanctions on Iran. An Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity commented of the bilateral meeting to discuss Iran and Syria, “‘Do not expect any major breakthrough’” (NYT 6/25).
Iranians Tighten Their Belts as Food Prices Rise
With an estimated inflation rate of 50% and 60%, and the price of bread increasing 33% in the last two weeks alone, Iranians have launched a three day boycott of milk and bread to protest the inflation. In a speech on Monday Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said the rising prices were “creating ‘psychological problems in society’” (WSJ 6/25).
Morsi Aide Denies President-Elect Reached Out to Iran
Yasser Ali, an aide for Egyptian president-elect Mohamed Morsi, denies that Morsi spoke to officials in Tehran before Sunday’s election results, as reported earlier in the week (Reuters 6/25). In the alleged interview, Fars news agency claimed Morsi was interested in “reconsidering” Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, drawing the attention of major news outlets. The incident highlights a rift within the Iranian press corps (Radio Free Europe 6/26).
Notable Opinion: “Our obsession with Iran obscures the bigger threat”

In the end, the desperate effort to stop the Iranian nuclear programme – while living with Pakistani nukes – may have a simple explanation. Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. Iran can still be stopped.
But next time somebody tells you that Iranian nuclear weapons would be an unparalleled and intolerable threat to international security, you might remember that we are already living with a more alarming menace: the Pakistani bomb.

Read the full article at Financial Times

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