Bush Advisor Calls for Naval Blockade of Iran
President Bush’s former National Security Council director of international energy, Robert McNally, advocates for a U.S. naval blockade against Iran in today’s Financial Times. McNally acknowledges his recommendation would be an act of war under international law (Financial Times 6/27).
China and Singapore Receive Sanctions Waivers
The Obama administration has extended waivers to China and Singapore, allowing them to importing Iranian oil without penalty for the next 180 days. All countries importing Iranian oil have now received cooperating country waivers from the Secretary of State (U.S. State Department 6/28).
Analysts: Oil Prices Set to Top $110 Again
The median estimate of 32 analysts tracked by Bloomberg expect the price of Brent crude to reach an average $114.50 a barrel in the third quarter, as compared to prices last week in London that dipped as low as $88.49 (Bloomberg 6/28).
Iran Experiencing Grain Shortages Due to Sanctions
Iranian attempts to secure grain via barter deals with India and Pakistan are failing, forcing Iran to pay high premiums for the food staple (Reuters 6/28).
UN Experts Condemn Executions of Ahwazi Arab Minority in Iran
After an allegedly unfair trial, four members of the Ahwazi Arab minority group in Iran were sentenced to death by public executions. Independent human rights experts cited by the UN emphasized, “Defendants in death penalty cases should also receive fair trial guarantees stipulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Iran in 1975.” Despite the technical illegality of public executions in Iran, since January 2008, the practice continues with the UN reporting at least 25 public executions have taken place this year in Iran (UN Human Rights 6/28).
Apple Facing Accusations of Civil Rights Violations
Following multiple recent instances of alleged racial profiling and discrimination at Apple stores, the National Iranian American Council and a coalition of groups Iranian-American and civil rights groups sent a letter to Apple warning that its actions appear to violate civil rights law. (International Business Times 6/27).
Anti-Semitic Comments by Iranian VP Condemned
The U.N. Secretary General has condemned anti-Semitic comments by Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, saying, “‘it is the responsibility of leaders to promote harmony and understanding and he deeply regrets expressions of hatred and religious intolerance’” (Haaretz 6/28). NIAC condemned the statements as “disgraceful and appalling,” adding the remarks do not reflect “the views of the Iranian people, who reject such poisonous bigotry” (NIAC 6/27).
Saudi Arabia Reopens Pipeline Bypassing Strait of Hormuz
Saudi Arabia reopened an old pipeline called the Iraqi Pipeline in Saudi Arabia (IPSA), to bypass Gulf shipping lanes, allowing Riyadh the option of exporting through the Red Sea if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz. The pipeline has not carried oil since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 (Reuters 6/28).
Iran, Saudi Arabia Excluded from Syria Talks
Iran U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said on Wednesday that if some countries do not want Tehran at a meeting of global powers in Geneva on Saturday to discuss a political transition in Syria, “‘that’s their problem.’” While Kofi Annan had advocated that Iran should be invited to attend the meeting, Iran was not invited (Huffington Post 6/27).
Explosion in Iran-Turkey Gas Line
A gas line between Turkey and Iran in the Turkish eastern province of Van exploded at approximately 23.00 GMT. The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) took responsibility for a similar incident that took place several weeks ago. The line is expected to be closed for 4-5 days (Europe Online Magazine 6/28).
Tehran and London Agree to Indirect Embassy Representation
Iran and the U.K. have agreed to have other countries’ embassies represent them in each others’ capitals, according to Iranian sources (Washington Post 6/28).
Notable Opinion: “Russia Worries About Future of Iranian Nuke Talks; EXCLUSIVE From Russian Deputy Minister”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov discusses his view of nuclear talks with Iran and why talks in Moscow didn’t succeed:
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the Iranians “underestimate” the threat against them.
On the other hand, the West was miscalculating too, he said, by thinking that ultimatums will sway the Iranians. “The Iranians, they do not understand this talk. Simply don’t. They will not listen to it. It’s against the whole culture of theirs,” which is based on haggling. Confronted with take-it-or-leave-it positions, “they’re blinded, they don’t know how to react to it. They need to have their negotiation.” At the same time, they have to know what the endgame is. “They are more and more making the point that it’s endless. We need to draw the line somewhere. Tell us where is the final demand (they say) and what we should do, otherwise we will never agree on anything you ask us for.” The Iranian point of view, said Ryabkov, is that “if we get a sense that you are not serious in discussing this, we will withdraw . . . But you have a word of ours that will be kept, that no more than that will come in terms of demands on our side (once we reach an agreement).”
Ryabkov said his personal opinion was that the West should yield on Iran’s call to have its right to enrich uranium recognized. The United States says that Iran must eventually suspend all enrichment, as is called for in several United Nations Security Council resolutions. But Ryabkov agrees with the Iranian position that this right is guaranteed in the clause of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which says that signatory nations have the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. “What in the world precludes the US, France, and others to recognize this very simple fact” if they can get the Iranians not just to “pocket it” but to allow for a level of inspections that would guarantee they could not divert their nuclear work for military purposes, Ryabkov said.
“What we need here is real leadership on the part of the US, real bold moves,” he added.
Read the full article at AOL Defense
Mohammad Reza Rahimi