Backdoc » September 11th, 2015, 12:19 am A DEAL IS A DEAL!
COME ON MAN!
SERIOUSLY CONGRESS? THE DEAL WAS ALREADY DONE! WHY ALL THE THEATER?
WITH THE U.N., THE UK PARLIAMENT, THEN THE SWISS, REALLY? WELL SORRY U.S. THE DEAL WAS ALREADY DONE!
CUT THE THEATER! HEE HEE
REGARDLESS OF PERSONAL FEELINGS FOR NOW WE LIVE WITH THE DEAL SO I GUESS IRAN WILL HAVE TO PAY ME HANDSOMELY TO GET THEIR CURRENCY BACK! LOL
NOTHING COULD BE MORE AMERICAN TO ME THAN MAKING THEM PAY ME FOR SELLING THEIR OIL!
MAYBE MY SMALL INVESTMENT WILL REDUCE A MINOR AMOUNT OF THEIR FUNDS TO SUPPORT TERROR!
I DID MY PART! LOL GOD HELP US AND HELP ISREAL IN THE DAYS AHEAD!
ThunderHawk: Backdoc Alert Iran Gets Ready to Sell to the World
In anticipation of the end of sanctions, its tankers get moving.
Before the most recent round of sanctions went into effect three years ago, Iran was able to sell oil to 21 countries. By mid-2012, that was down to six: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.
Rather than immediately pull back on production, and risk damaging oil wells by slowing them down, Iran decided to store its excess crude. As it scrambled to build onshore tanks, the government loaded millions of barrels onto its suddenly out-of-work fleet of crude-carrying vessels.
The Iranians eventually reduced their oil output by about a third, to a low of 2.5 million barrels a day in mid-2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. As exports fell to 1 million to 1.5 million barrels a day, Iran kept filling its tankers with oil it couldn’t sell. By this summer, a large portion of its tanker fleet, one of the world’s biggest, sat parked off the coast, filled with 50 million to 60 million barrels of crude and condensate, a lighter form of oil used to make petrochemicals.
Since the nuclear agreement between Iran and six other nations was reached on July 14, the regime has been preparing to ramp up its exports and sell that stored oil. A small number of Iranian tankers believed to have been storing crude has left the Persian Gulf in the past several weeks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Three of those ships have since disappeared from detection by failing to report their location.
Iran’s crude output has been rising for two years and now stands at about 2.9 million barrels a day, the highest level since 2012. It won’t be allowed to sell that extra crude until sometime next year, when the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies that Iran has complied with curbs on its nuclear program. The monitoring needed for that to happen probably won’t be in place until January or February, say three Western diplomats familiar with the nuclear monitoring process.
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says sanctions will be lifted sooner. When they are, he says, production will rise immediately by a half-million barrels per day, and after four to five months, by an additional half-million barrels. He says that by then, “we will reach to a figure between 3.8 and 3.9 million barrels a day.” Saudi Arabia is pumping 10.5 million barrels daily.
Even if Iran can increase production as quickly as Zanganeh claims, it may have to incentivize buyers by offering lower prices or by trading oil for goods or services, says Sara Vakhshouri, president of SVB Energy International, an energy consulting group in Washington. That’s because the Saudis have used long-term contracts to lock in customers who not long ago bought Iranian oil.
The sanctions put in place in 2012 shrank the economy by about 10 percent by March 2014, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service. A report by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington estimates that Iran needs about $170 billion to develop its oil and gas potential. The decline in oil prices has led to a drop in Iran’s own investment in its oil and gas sector—from $40 billion in 2011 and 2012 combined to only $6 billion last year, Zanganeh says. The International Energy Agency estimates about half of Iranian production comes from oil fields that are more than 70 years old.
Much of the money Iran has made through its remaining crude exports since 2012 is being held in escrow accounts in the various countries still buying Iranian crude. To reduce Iran’s access to cash, Congress passed a law requiring that Iran spend oil revenue only on goods from its customer countries. The Department of the Treasury estimates Iran will be able to retrieve half that amount, or about $56 billion. That’s still not enough to restart full oil production. And so the government is looking for foreign investment.
Since July, political and business delegations from Austria, Germany, Italy, and Spain have visited Tehran. “I think European companies are very eager to be involved in our projects,” Zanganeh says. Iran has not met with U.S. companies, he says. “It seems they have received the order from the U.S. government not to have the meeting. The doors are open for them like others.”
Some Iran watchers say Western companies will proceed with caution. “You’re not going to see an energy gold rush in terms of capital investment in Iran anytime soon,” says Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington and a supporter of tougher sanctions. “The majors are still reluctant to make multibillion-dollar commitments to Iran.”
Iran Nuclear Accord Survives Senate Test in Win for Obama
The Iran nuclear agreement survived a key test in the U.S. Senate Thursday as Democrats blocked a Republican effort to scuttle the accord.
Democrats kept Republicans’ disapproval resolution from advancing in a 58-42 procedural vote, with 60 required, but Republicans said they aren’t giving up. The Senate will hold another vote next week to see if “any folks want to change their minds,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
“Foreign policy will be a big issue going into 2016; this agreement is a metaphor for all the mistakes this president has made,” said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday’s vote was “clear, decisive and final.” He added, “You can continue to relitigate it, but it’s going to have the same result.”
After President Barack Obama wraps up a final victory in Congress, the deal still would be months away from taking effect. It also must be considered by Iran’s parliament, and international weapons inspectors must verify that Iran is meeting initial requirements before economic sanctions can be removed, probably early next year.
The president has lobbied hard for the agreement against unanimous Republican opposition joined by a handful of Democrats. The deal’s survival in Congress would remove the biggest impediment to the accord Iran reached with six world powers to reduce its nuclear program in return for easing international economic sanctions.
In a statement, Obama said “this vote is a victory for diplomacy, for American national security, and for the safety and security of the world.”
On House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a fiery speech to a joint House and Senate meeting on March 3 contending the accord would “all but guarantee” Iran would get nuclear weapons.
The eventual outcome of Congress’s effort to scuttle the accord is sealed regardless of the Senate’s vote: Obama has more than enough Democratic support to preserve the Iran deal even if Congress passed a resolution disapproving it. He has promised a veto, and Senate Republicans lack the votes for an override.
Four Democrats voted with Republicans in favor of advancing the resolution: Ben Cardin of Maryland, Chuck Schumer of New York, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
House Republicans are pursuing a different strategy. The chamber is voting Thursday and Friday on a set of resolutions intended to express Republicans’ opposition to the accord. The Senate doesn’t plan to take them up.
House Republicans say they are preserving their right to fight a legal battle over the Iran agreement later. They contend the Sept. 17 deadline for Congress to disapprove the agreement isn’t valid.
“What we feel confident in is after Sept. 17, Congress’s opportunity to spoil this deal will expire,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday.
Approval of the agreement in Iran is considered all but certain because Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has tacitly backed the accord, even as he sought this week to placate hard-liners with oratory that the U.S. remains the “Great Satan” and the “Zionist regime” in Israel won’t exist in 25 years.
A series of requirements would have to be met before oil and financial sanctions could be lifted, probably in the first three months of 2016, according to Western diplomats familiar with the nuclear monitoring process who asked not to be identified in discussing confidential estimates.
Iran could boost oil production by as much as 800,000 barrels a day in 2016, according to Eduard Gracia, a principal at A.T. Kearney Inc.’s oil and gas consulting practice in Dubai. It assumes Iran’s output could be increased by an average of 6 percent a year from now until 2020 as long at it attracts foreign investment to help develop its fields.
U.S. trade with Iran would remain constrained by continuing non-nuclear sanctions imposed on the basis that the Islamic Republic supports terrorism. But European government officials and companies already have been traveling to Tehran to pave the way for revived business.
Senate Republicans proposed their resolution of disapproval, H.J. Res. 61, under a procedure Congress enacted in May to let lawmakers review the nuclear pact. Such a resolution would have to be passed by both houses of Congress to reach Obama’s desk.
A revolt among conservative House Republicans Wednesday prompted that chamber’s leaders to abandon efforts to join the Senate in passing such a resolution.
“This debate is far from over,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters Thursday. “Frankly, it is just beginning.”
“We will use every tool at our disposal to stop, slow” the nuclear agreement from being implemented, said the speaker, an Ohio Republican.
VIDEO: Senate Democrats block effort to kill Iran nuclear deal
U.S. President Barack Obama achieved perhaps the greatest foreign policy victory of his six years in office on Thursday, when a Republican-backed effort to kill the Iran nuclear agreement was narrowly blocked in the U.S. Senate, clearing the way for the deal's implementation.
Forty Democrats and two independents voted to block a resolution disapproving of the pact in the 100-member chamber, one more than the minimum needed to keep it from advancing.
"This vote is a victory for diplomacy, for American national security, and for the safety and security of the world," Obama said in a statement after a vote he termed "an historic step forward."
Senate Republicans insisted the fight was not over, however.
The Senate's Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, immediately took steps to clear the way for the chamber to consider the matter again, hoping some Democrats would vote differently next time.
"We'll revisit the issue next week and see if maybe any folks want to change their minds," he said in a speech angrily denouncing the vote.
Under a law Obama signed in May, Congress has a 60-day period ending on Sept. 17 to pass a resolution disapproving of the international agreement.
If such a resolution were to pass, and survive Obama's promised veto, it would bar the president from waiving many U.S. sanctions on Tehran, a key component of the nuclear deal.
But there was no sign any votes would change, and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid bluntly responded, "This matter is over with."
Reid urged McConnell to move on to other legislation, including bills providing long-term highway and transportation funding and urgent legislation to fund the government in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and avoid a government shutdown.
"This is a situation where he's (McConnell) lost the vote and it's a situation where he is just not in touch with reality as it exists," Reid said.
The defeat came despite an intense $40 million lobbying campaign against the agreement, largely by conservative pro-Israel groups.
Although the nuclear deal was reached after two years of negotiations with Iran by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vociferously opposed the agreement. Netanyahu said the deal demanded too little from Iran in exchange for sanctions relief and would strengthen a country he sees as a threat to Israel's existence.
Hours after the Senate vote, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, who had lobbied dozens of lawmakers, said the deal "makes America and Israel much, much less safe."Speaking at a Jewish New Year reception in Washington, he said Israel and its U.S. ally would deepen security cooperation in the years ahead despite their differences over Iran diplomacy. But he insisted Israel also had "the power and the will to defend ourselves, a will that no deal and no force on Earth will ever break."
HOUSE REPUBLICANS VOW TO FIGHT ON
Republican in the House of Representatives meanwhile pushed ahead with legislation critical of the nuclear accord. They raised the possibility of filing suit against Obama over the Iran deal or attaching Iran-related legislation to a bill funding the government.
"This is a bad deal with decades-long consequences for the security of the American people and our allies. And we’ll use every tool at our disposal to stop, slow, and delay this agreement from being fully implemented," House Speaker John Boehner told a news conference.
Republicans are already using the Iran deal in campaigning against Democrats in the 2016 election. On Wednesday, Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were among the headliners at a raucous anti-deal rally on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
But House Republicans split over how to handle the agreement, after weeks of marching in lockstep in opposition to the nuclear deal, announced on July 14.
Iran deal no reason to halt work on Gulf missile shield: U.S. experts
The Unites States will keep working on a regional missile defense system in the Gulf despite progress on the Iran nuclear deal, current and former U.S. military officials said on Thursday while warning that Iran has the largest inventory of short- and medium-range cruise and ballistic missiles in the region.
The comments came as a Republican-backed effort to kill the Iran nuclear agreement was narrowly blocked in the U.S. Senate, handing President Barack Obama a huge victory and clearing the way for the deal's implementation.
Robert Scher, assistant defense secretary for strategy, plans and capabilities, told lawmakers the Pentagon would continue to push for cooperative missile defense programs since the nuclear deal did not cover Iran's work on ballistic missiles.
"There is no doubt in my mind that Iran's ballistic missile activities continue to pose a risk to the United States and our allies and partners in Europe, Israel, and the Gulf," he told the House Armed Services Committee's strategic forces subcommittee.
U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Kenneth Todorov, who stepped down six weeks ago as deputy director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said he saw growing momentum for a Gulf missile shield.
"The worst mistake we could make if the deal happens is to say, 'We can let our guard down,'" he told an event hosted by the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a non-profit group that lobbies for missile defense programs.
President Obama and allies from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) underscored their commitment to build the defense system at a May summit, as Washington moved to assuage Gulf allies' concerns about a more powerful Iran once international trade and financial sanctions are lifted.
Todorov said building a truly integrated system required greater cooperation among GCC countries, and hard work on integrating existing systems already present in the region.
One relatively "doable" target would be to integrate missile early warning systems already in use by individual countries.
Michael Tronolone, former director of the U.S. Central Command Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center of Excellence in Abu Dhabi, said it was imperative for U.S. officials and Gulf allies to share data about potential threats, arguing that advances in cyber security had reduced the risks involved.
The biggest obstacles, he said, were not technologies but policy barriers that prevented more multilateral efforts.
"To hook those sensors together will increase our capabilities exponentially," said Tronolone, who now works for U.S. weapons maker Raytheon Co (RTN.N).
He said a Gulf missile shield would also require construction of a warehouse with spare parts in the region, since it now takes one to two years to repair damaged missiles because they are all sent to the United States.
Tronolone also called for more multilateral training.
He said the focus was less on buying new weapons systems than taking steps to break down barriers and better coordinate among GCC countries.
Last week's attack in Yemen that killed 50 soldiers from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain would help cement ties among Gulf states that have not always seen eye to eye, he said.
British, French, German leaders defend Iran nuclear deal
The leaders of Britain, France and Germany on Thursday defended the Iran nuclear deal agreed in July between Iran and major powers as the debate in U.S. Congress heated up due to fierce opposition to the agreement among Republican lawmakers.
Under the July 14 agreement, sanctions on Iran will be lifted in exchange for at least a decade of curbs on Tehran's nuclear program, which Western powers and their allies fear has been a cover for Tehran to acquire the capability to produce atomic weapons. Iran denies that allegation.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel vigorously defended the agreement in an article published in the Washington Post.
"The U.S. Congress is voting this week on whether to support the agreement," the European leaders said. "This is an important moment. It is a crucial opportunity at a time of heightened global uncertainty to show what diplomacy can achieve."
"Two years of tough, detailed negotiation have produced an agreement that closes off all possible routes to an Iranian nuclear weapon in return for phased relief from nuclear-related sanctions," they said.
Republican critics of the deal say U.S. President Barack Obama's administration gave Iran too much in exchange for too little in the negotiations. They also say that it will enable Iran to become a nuclear weapon state once the restrictions on its uranium enrichment program lapse.
Despite the fact that Republicans control both houses of the U.S. legislature, Obama has enough support to sustain a veto over any attempts to block the deal. Under a law Obama signed in May, Congress has until Sept. 17 to try to pass a resolution disapproving of the deal.
Republicans have vowed to continue fighting the deal, even though they appear to have virtually no ability to block its implementation.
"This is not an agreement based on trust or on any assumption about how Iran may look in 10 or 15 years," the leaders wrote. "Iran will have strong incentives not to cheat: The near certainty of getting caught and the consequences that would follow would make this a losing option."
Sanctions on Iran are to be reimposed if it violates the agreement.
"We are confident that the agreement provides the foundation for resolving the conflict on Iran's nuclear program permanently," the three said. "This is why we now want to embark on the full implementation of the (deal) once all national procedures are complete."