Friday, June 22, 2018

Eye on Iran: Japan Could End Iran Oil Loading from Oct without Exemption from U.S. Sanctions: PAJ

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Japanese oil refiners may have to stop loading Iranian crude oil from Oct. 1 if Japan's government does not secure an exemption from U.S. sanctions to allow imports to continue, the president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) said on Friday.

Iran, Hezbollah and other Tehran-backed militias in Syria have begun withdrawing from the disputed Golan Heights border with Israel, a watchdog group announced Thursday.

An Iranian businessman schemed to illegally export from Illinois aluminum tubing used in the missile and aerospace industries, according to an indictment made public Thursday in federal court in Chicago.


The remaining signatories of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran, known as the "JCPOA", have met for the first time in a bid to save the landmark pact following the US decision to unilaterally withdraw and reimpose sanctions on Tehran... Abbas Araghchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister, told reporters in Vienna that Tehran was negotiating with the other signatories "to see if they can provide us with a package which can give Iran the benefits of sanctions lifting... I told the conference today that the JCPOA is in the intensive care unit because it has lost its balance as a result of US withrawal from the deal," Mr Araghchi said.


OPEC has reached an agreement in principle to boost oil production, achieving a last-minute compromise that overcame Iran's threats to veto any supply hike.

The U.S. has asked Japan to completely halt oil imports from Iran, going beyond the reductions that were demanded when sanctions were imposed earlier this decade, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

India is looking to revive a rupee trade mechanism to settle part of its oil payments to Iran, fearing channels to pay Tehran might choke under pressure from U.S. sanctions, a government source said on Friday.

India is trying to make Chabahar Port in Iran operational by 2019, the government said in a statement on Friday, despite a threat of renewed U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

The new US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, requested the German government to block Iran's Mahan Air from flying within German airspace and deny it landing rights in the country because of the airline's material support for terrorism.

U.S. sanctions on Iran will not affect an Iraqi-Iranian deal on swapping crude oil, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said on Friday during an OPEC meeting to discuss production levels. 


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Iranian counterpart squared off in a battle of strongly-worded statements this week, with Pompeo tweeting his apparent support for Iranian anti-government protestors, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lamenting a US foreign policy "in crisis."

A senior aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has claimed that the U.S. was behind the creation of ISIS and other extremist groups in Syria.


Leading members of Congress are urging the Trump administration to pressure world leaders to ban Iran from accessing international financial systems following revelations the former Obama administration secretly helped Tehran skirt international sanctions to potentially access billions in hard currency, according to a letter sent Thursday to the Treasury Departments.


A Syrian war monitor group said Thursday that Hezbollah units deployed in Syria were pulling back dozens of kilometers from the Israeli border in response to a request from Russia, but that Iran was refusing to do the same with its forces in the area. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing what it described as "reliable sources," said that the Lebanese terror group and its allied gunmen have begun withdrawing to positions 40 kilometers (25 miles) away for the border, and a similar distance from the Jordanian-Syrian border.

Syrian government helicopters dropped barrel bombs on opposition areas of the southwest on Friday for the first time in a year, a war monitor and a rebel said, escalating an assault that has so far included artillery but only limited use of air power.

The Al-Mustafa community center in the city-state of Bremen in northern Germany is a major hub for raising funds for the EU and US designated terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to a German intelligence report reviewed by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Lebanon's interior minister tried on Wednesday to calm a dispute over a change in rules for entering the country, which some politicians feared reflects deepening influence of Iran and its ally Hezbollah. The move by a state security agency allows entry for Iranians at the airport without their passports being stamped.

Israel is preparing to buy a range of new weapons in preparation for a possible attack on Iran should that country appear to restart efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

Hezbollah and Iran have accumulated a substantial amount of weapons and fighters in Syria that pose a threat to the United States and its allies in the region. In response, Israel has conducted a growing number of strikes against Iranian, Hezbollah and other targets in Syria. An escalating war has the potential to cause significant economic damage, lead to high numbers of civilian casualties and internally displaced persons, and involve more countries in the region than did the 2006 Lebanon War.

Russia does not expect an imminent war between Hezbollah and Israel, Moscow's envoy to Lebanon said in remarks published Friday.

The Al-Mustafa community center in the city-state of Bremen in northern Germany is a major hub for raising funds for the EU and US designated terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to a German intelligence report reviewed by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. The Bremen intelligence agency's newly released report in June stated that the "The Al-Mustafa Community center supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, especially by collecting donations."

A top aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warns that the US presence in Syria would turn the country into America's "second Vietnam," according to the official Fars news agency... The comments come as Iran resists pressure to remove its own forces from Syria and accuses the US in turn of digging in to support its allies in the war-riven country.

United States President Trump's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) re-opens America's gun ports for an economic broadside to punish Iran's continued destabilizing activities throughout the region. However, without a unified effort with the European Union and America's regional allies, there is the danger that Russia stands to gain from the geopolitical melee.

As international companies leave Iran under U.S. pressure, the Iranian government is scrambling to salvage as much foreign investment as possible. The top leadership in Tehran believes the solution is to engage with Russia, China, and the "east" to replace the West's hesitant commitment to the Iranian market. But this eastward approach is a pipe dream, and there is plenty of history to prove it.

When Hassan Rouhani ran for president of Iran in 2013, he campaigned on the promise of promoting human rights and individual freedoms in a country that retained a strong authoritarian bent. Five years after his election, it is becoming clear that Mr. Rouhani has failed to deliver on these promises. Last week's arrest of prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is a telling reminder that the regime's repressive tactics remain largely unchanged.

An Iranian campaigner for women's access to men's sporting events in Iran says she is unimpressed by authorities allowing women into a Tehran stadium to watch a telecast of Iran's latest World Cup match... "It hurts to see the world considering that Iranian women watching the Iran-Spain game on a big screen is a major victory," [Darya] Safai said. "As long as women can't buy tickets for and attend a real football game at Azadi stadium, which during real games is filled only with cheering men, this is not a victory, and we will continue our battle against this discrimination."


Migration to cities due to water scarcity and widening gulf between the younger generations will lead to disenchantment.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said European countries shared concern over Iran's ballistic missile programme and called for solutions to its "aggressive tendencies" in the Middle East.


The Iranian Navy's 54th flotilla of warships is on an overseas mission to international waters... The naval fleet, comprising the Kharg Helicopter Carrier and Sabalan Destroyer, is on its way to the Indian Ocean. It will later arrive in the Gulf of Aden and Bab el-Mandeb Strait.


President Donald Trump's tough stance on Iran, new tariffs on European Union metal imports and U.S. demands for higher defence spending in Europe are part of a strategy to strengthen the West, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

Iran's recent moves against Morocco's national sovereignty reflect its intention to continue on its path towards global domination by destabilizing pro-Western countries. Tehran is shifting its attention towards Africa, which is less on the Western radar following the American withdrawal from the JCPOA.


Germany has voiced concern about increasing cyberattacks from Iran, Russia and China. The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency Bfv, Hans-Georg Maassen told the reporting network Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland that the "quantity and quality of cyber campaigns staged by foreign intelligence services has been on the rise" this year.


The European signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have been primarily focusing in the aftermath of last month's US pullout from the pact on "avoiding a military confrontation," senior French sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. They asserted that some sides inside Iran "want and seek" this confrontation, whereas Germany, Britain and France, in cooperation with Russia and China, are striving to avoid reaching the "point of no return."

From Lebanon to Yemen, Iran's influence is being challenged... Alleged Israeli strikes and a new U.S. base add military pressure on an already troubled economy... And even Russia may be turning a cold shoulder... To use the language of sport for a minute, in the spirit of the World Cup soccer tournament now underway in Russia, what is being executed in the Middle East now is a full-court press.

Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

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