Sunday, February 19, 2012
Iran stops oil sales to British, French
◼ Iran has stopped selling crude to British and French companies, the oil ministry said on Sunday, in a retaliatory measure against fresh EU sanctions on the Islamic state's lifeblood, oil. - Reuters
The European Commission said last week that the bloc would not be short of oil if Iran stopped crude exports, as they have enough in stock to meet their needs for around 120 days.
Industry sources told Reuters on February 16 that Iran's top oil buyers in Europe were making substantial cuts in supply months in advance of European Union sanctions, reducing flows to the continent in March by more than a third - or over 300,000 barrels daily.
France's Total has already stopped buying Iran's crude, which is subject to fresh EU embargoes. Market sources said Royal Dutch Shell has scaled back sharply.
◼ US officials believe Iran sanctions will fail, making military action likely - The Guardian
(T)here is a strong current of opinion within the administration – including in the Pentagon and the state department – that believes sanctions are doomed to fail, and that their principal use now is in delaying Israeli military action, as well as reassuring Europe that an attack will only come after other means have been tested.
"The White House wants to see sanctions work. This is not the Bush White House. It does not need another conflict," said an official knowledgeable on Middle East policy. "Its problem is that the guys in Tehran are behaving like sanctions don't matter, like their economy isn't collapsing, like Israel isn't going to do anything.
"Sanctions are all we've got to throw at the problem. If they fail then it's hard to see how we don't move to the 'in extremis' option."
◼ The threat from Iran grows ever graver - The Telegraph
Iran’s scientists may soon be able to present their country’s obdurate and ruthless leaders with an invulnerable means of constructing a nuclear arsenal. As William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, warns in his interview with this newspaper today, any such decision on the part of the regime would trigger a “new Cold War in the Middle East without, necessarily, all the safety mechanisms”.
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