Tag Archives: Iran

With food and fuel, Hezbollah prepared for the worst in collapsing Lebanon | Instant News


BEIRUT, (Reuters) – Lebanon’s Hezbollah has been making preparations for the collapse of the fractured nation, issuing ration cards for food, importing medicine and preparing fuel storage from its Iranian patron, three sources with knowledge of the plan told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Hezbollah flag and a poster depicting Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah pictured along a road, near Sidon, Lebanon 7 July 2020. REUTERS / Ali Hashisho / File Photo

The measures, responding to a severe economic crisis, would mark the expansion of services provided by the armed movement to its large Shia support base, with networks already offering charities, construction companies and a pension system.

The measures highlight growing fears of a Lebanese state explosion, in which authorities can no longer import food or fuel to turn on lights. They underlined Hezbollah’s growing role in dealing with emergencies with the services the government is supposed to provide.

The plan clashes with concerns in Lebanon that people have to rely on political factions for food and security, as did many during the militia era in the 1975-1990 civil war.

Responding to a question about Hezbollah’s plans, Leila Hatoum, the prime minister’s interim adviser, said the country was “in no condition to refuse aid” regardless of its politics.

A source from the pro-Hezbollah camp, who declined to be named, said plans for the worst-case scenario had escalated as subsidies ended in the coming months, raising the specter of famine and unrest.

The Lebanese currency has crashed as the country ran out of dollars, with no country rescue in sight. Food prices jumped 400%.

Fights in supermarkets are now commonplace, as are people rummaging through trash. A brawl over food packages this week killed one person and injured two others.

Hezbollah’s plan will help protect its community – not only members but also a large proportion of the Shia population in the district it dominates – from the worst crisis, the sources said. It could also contain jitters among core supporters, analysts said.

Hezbollah, which with its allies has a majority in parliament and the government, did not respond to requests for comment.

“Preparations for the next stage have already begun … This is indeed an economic battle plan,” said one of the sources, a senior official.

NETWORK OUT

The new ration cards, seen by Reuters, help hundreds of people buy basic goods in local currency – mostly cheaper Iranian, Lebanese and Syrian goods at discounts of up to 40%, subsidized by the party, the sources said.

The cards – named after the Shia Imam – can be used in cooperatives, some of which have recently opened, in the southern suburbs of Beirut and parts of southern Lebanon where Hezbollah holds power. The sources did not specify the budget or recipients.

An Iran-funded paramilitary force that critics have called a “state within the state”, Hezbollah has become increasingly entangled in Lebanese state affairs in recent years.

Washington, which considers Hezbollah to be a terrorist group, has stepped up sanctions to choke off its sources of funding, including an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars from Tehran each year.

Iranian funding makes Hezbollah better off than many in the country, including those who oppose its arsenal. Several factions have issued aid baskets for their patronage communities, but the Iran-backed network is still too large by comparison.

“They all do … But Hezbollah’s coverage is much bigger and stronger, with more resources to deal with the crisis,” said Joseph Daher, a researcher who has written a book on Hezbollah’s political economy. “It’s more about limiting havoc to its popular base. This means that dependence on Hezbollah in particular will increase. “

And while Hezbollah provides ration cards, the country, ravaged by decades of corruption and debt, has been talking about the idea of ​​such a card for impoverished Lebanese for nearly a year without acting.

Ministers say the need for parliamentary approval has halted cabinet plans to get cards.

DARKNESS AND HUNGER

Photos on social media of shelves piled with canned goods, reportedly from one of the Hezbollah operatives, were scattered across Lebanon last week.

Fatima Hamoud, in her 50s, said ration cards allow her once a month to buy grain, oil and cleaning products for the eight-member home. “They know we are in bad shape,” he said. “Without them, what would we do in these difficult times.”

A second Shiite source said Hezbollah had filled warehouses and launched cards to expand services outside the party and close gaps in the Lebanese market, where cheap alternatives were more common than before the crisis.

He said the card offers quotas, based on the number of family members, for necessities such as sugar and flour.

The goods are backed by Hezbollah, imported by allied companies or brought at no customs fees through the border with Syria, where Hezbollah forces have had a foothold since joining the war to support Damascus alongside Iran.

The source added that Hezbollah had similar plans to import drugs. Several pharmacists in Beirut’s southern suburbs say they have received training on the new Iranian and Syrian brands that have appeared on the shelves in recent months.

Two sources said the plan included stockpiling fuel from Iran, as Lebanon’s energy ministry warned of a possible complete blackout. The senior official said Hezbollah was clearing storage rooms for fuel in Syria.

“When we get to the stage of darkness and famine, you will find Hezbollah will use its backup options … and that is a tough decision. Then Hezbollah will fill the position of the state, ”said the senior official. “If that’s the case, the party will take precautions to prevent a vacuum.”

Written by Ellen Francis, Editing by William Maclean

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Germany says Iran nuclear deal ‘not dead yet’ | Instant News


BERLIN

Amid a last-ditch effort to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Germany on Friday said the deal was “not dead yet.”

Speaking to media representatives in the capital Berlin, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said: “From our point of view – and this is the position we have taken since the beginning of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) – this is a meaningful contract that must maintained. “

The JCPOA refers to the 2015 nuclear agreement sealed in Vienna between the five world powers (US, UK, Russia, China and France) plus Germany and Iran.

Adebahr said the Iran nuclear deal was “not dead yet” because of the ongoing talks in Vienna between Iran and the four world powers that are still parties to the deal aimed “to try to get all parties back to this agreement.”

The US delegation is also in Vienna amid intense behind-the-scenes negotiations.

However, the team led by US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley did not participate in the meeting with other world powers, as Iran refused to negotiate directly with Washington until the sanctions imposed by the administration of former US President Donald Trump were lifted.


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Iran – JCPoA – Statement by Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany and the UK (14 April 2021) | Instant News


The governments of France, Germany and the UK (E3) noted with great concern the announcement by Iran that they would begin enriching uranium to 60% using state-of-the-art centrifuges when Iran communicated with the IAEA on April 13.

This is a serious development because the production of enriched uranium is an important step in the production of nuclear weapons. Iran does not have a credible civilian need for enrichment at this level.

We also expressed our concern over the news that Iran plans to install an additional 1000 centrifuges at Natanz, which will significantly increase Iran’s enrichment capacity.

Iran’s announcements are particularly regrettable considering they come at a time when all JCPoA participants and the United States have begun substantive discussions, with the aim of finding a swift diplomatic solution to revitalizing and restoring JCPoA. Iran’s recent malicious communications run counter to the constructive spirit and good faith of these discussions.

In light of recent developments, we reject all escalation measures by any actor, and we call on Iran not to complicate the diplomatic process.

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China’s purchase of Iranian oil destroys demand for Brazil, Angolan crude | Instant News


SINGAPORE / Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Reuters) – China’s record imports of Iranian crude in recent months have squeezed supplies from rival producers, forcing oil sellers from countries such as Brazil, Angola and Russia to cut prices and divert shipments to India and Europe.

FILE PHOTOS: An employee holds a crude oil sample at the Yarakta oil field, owned by Irkutsk Oil Co, in the Irkutsk region, Russia on March 11, 2019. REUTERS / Vasily Fedosenko / File Photo

Iran’s surge in volume shocked markets and has capped global oil prices although the Biden administration is expected to resume talks with Tehran to revive the nuclear deal.

Iranian oil started entering China from late 2019 despite harsh US sanctions, but volumes have started to surge only since late last year as oil rebounded above $ 60 and buyers became emboldened by the prospect of the United States lifting sanctions under President Joe Biden.

China received a daily average of 557,000 barrels of Iranian crude between November and March, or about 5% of total imports by the world’s biggest importers, according to Refinitiv Oil Research, back to levels before former US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran. in 2019.

(GRAPH: China’s purchase of Iranian oil returns to pre-US sanctions levels back in 2019 -)

Most of this oil ends up in the eastern province of Shandong, China’s center for independent refineries.

“These ‘sensitive’ barrels are squeezing supply from everywhere, because they are too cheap,” said a Chinese trader handling oil sales to Shandong, referring to Iranian oil that sold $ 6- $ 7 a barrel below from Brazil earlier this year. . .

A second trader said South American suppliers to West Africa and the North Sea were stepping up efforts to find new markets as Chinese demand plummeted.

Major South American exporters Brazil and Angola West Africa were among the hardest hit, while Russia’s eastern grade ESPO crude recorded some of the rare flows to the US that were squeezed by falling Chinese demand.

Shipping from Brazil, which last year overtook Angola as the No. 4 China, thanks to aggressive marketing and attractive prices, fell 36% in January-February compared to last year, although volumes increased 16% annually in March, according to Chinese customs and Refinitiv assessments.

While China’s appetite for Brazilian sweet oil from the Tupi field is “endless” – and Asian nations are still paying dearly for it – the current margins are less competitive, Roberto Castello Branco told Reuters on Sunday, in his final interview before stepping down as Petrobras Chief. Executive Officers on Monday.

India has become a bigger market for oil from Brazil, West Africa and even the North Sea as Chinese demand cools, providing the world’s No. 3 importer with many alternatives as New Delhi cuts Saudi oil purchases.

India’s imports of Brazilian and Angolan crude surged for arrivals from March to May while Europe received more Brazilian oil between March and April than at the start of the year, Refinitiv data show.

The Iranian crude attack, which came as oil from Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Malaysia, has lowered prices for competing supplies such as Norway and Brazil to multi-month lows, although they have recovered considerably in recent weeks.

(GRAPH: Iran’s surging flows of oil to China reduce supply from Brazil, West Africa and Russia -)

The spot premium for Brazilian Tupi crude shipped to China in May earlier fell to 10 cents a barrel to ICE Brent, down from more than $ 1 a barrel for late December arrivals before returning to 30-40 cents last week.

“China is now looking for light crude oil to blend heavy Iran,” said a second source with a West African producer, adding that they managed to sell just two spot cargoes for May, at slightly better prices than the “bad month” in April.

They can barely compete with Iranian barrels in Brent minus $ 3- $ 5 per barrel.

“China doesn’t want to pay high (prices) with all those sensitive barrels,” said a third trade executive.

However, the surge in Iranian supplies did not affect the market share of Saudi Arabia, China’s main oil supplier, as the OPEC kingpin serves a different client base – Chinese state refiners and large private factories.

With transactions mostly being made in Chinese currency and in some cases end buyers offering open credit, Iranian oil flows are expected to continue, particularly as private companies face less political pressure to exit lucrative businesses.

“Imagine you are a teapot boss, all you care about is whether the oil is cheap enough and if your factory is equipped to process it,” said a fourth trade executive in China.

Additional reporting by Olga Yagova in Moscow, Julia Payne and Alex Lawler in London; Edited by Florence Tan & Shri Navaratnam

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Iran will resume British flights from 6 May | Instant News


TEHRAN – Iran’s flag carrier IranAir will resume flights to and from Britain from May 6 after a month-long suspension was put in place to curb the spread of a new coronavirus variant to the Islamic Republic.

“IranAir will resume flights between Tehran and London on May 6,” IRNA quoted Hossein Jahani, who heads the airline’s public relations department, as saying on Sunday.

Jahani said flights to London would be operated on Sundays and Thursdays every week due to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in the UK.

In December, the Islamic Republic suspended flights to and from the UK, preliminary for two weeks, and then the ban was initially extended for one month at the Ministry of Health’s discretion to prevent transmission of the ‘British’ variant and to try. to maintain public health.

At that time, a wave of travel bans cut off British tourists from much of Europe and other parts of the world. Some experts believe that there is no evidence that the new variant is deadlier or will react differently to the vaccine, but it has been shown to be up to 70% more contagious.

AFM

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