Saudis Increase Oil Discount To Keep Iran From Taking European Markets

“The Saudis are preparing for Iran’s return,” said Mohamed Sadegh Memarian, who recently retired as the head of petroleum market analysis at Iran’s oil ministry, as they sharply cut the prices they charge for crude oil in Europe (to the biggest discount since Feb 2009). The move that will likely undercut Iran happens as sectarian tensions escalate between the rival Middle Eastern nations. As WSJ reports, the Saudi move appears to pave the way for a competition over European oil markets later this year when Iran is expected to increase its exports after the expected end of western sanctions over its nuclear program. Continue reading

Iran, World Powers Reach Final Nuclear Deal

The door to the next world war has just been opened and the Iranians are laughing all the way to the bank to pick up their once frozen revenue.

 

 

Iran and world powers on Tuesday announced they had sealed a final nuclear deal with Tehran that will lift most economic sanctions on the country and permit it to continue many of the most controversial aspects of its nuclear program, as well as its missile development, according to initial text of the agreement and statements by diplomats.

The agreement, which was finalized in Vienna, would in lift international sanctions on Iran and permit it to continue key elements of its nuclear work, as well as research and development.

Iran will be permitted to continue spinning centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon. Western powers will also work with Iran to help it install and operate more advanced centrifuges, according to those appraised of the deal. Continue reading

Courting Cuba—The EU Is Eager to Move In

 

The French president’s historic visit to Cuba is part of a European effort to pursue closer relations with the island.

“I had before me a man who made history,” said French President François Hollande after meeting former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. That’s a curiously positive response to a meeting with the man who could well have ended history had the Cuban Missile Crisis gone down a little differently. But it is typical of the positive response Cuba is getting from Europe right now.

The world is going through a kind of “Cuban spring.” Except not much is actually changing in the nation’s dictatorial government. Instead, other nation’s attitudes toward Cuba are thawing.

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How Russia Is About to Change the World

From 2010 and today still very relevant:

 

In a remote corner of the globe, a port bristles with cranes, smokestacks, mammoth ships—and trouble for Europe.

In January, Russia made a world-changing move. It completed a new oil pipeline and port complex that sets Russia up to become a more powerful oil exporter than Saudi Arabia. The ramifications for Europe and Asia are profound: The shape of the global economy—and the global balance of power—will soon be altered forever.

December 28 was a big day of ceremony in Russia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pushed a button that transformed global oil dynamics. The button released thousands of barrels of Siberian crude into a waiting Russian supertanker and heralded the opening of Russia’s first modern Pacific-based oil export facilities.

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Israel May Send Arms to Ukraine if Russia Delivers S-300 to Iran – Reports

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Israel may start sending arms to Ukraine in response to Russia’s decision to lift its five-year embargo on the delivery of the S-300 missile system to Iran, NRG reports Tuesday, citing unnamed Israeli military source. Continue reading

Pope brokered Cuba deal, now set on closing Gitmo

White House: Normalization wouldn’t have happened without pontiff

NEW YORK – Having helped broker the agreement to normalize relations between the United States and communist Cuba, Pope Francis plans next to turn his attention to closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, a goal he shares with President Obama.

In a meeting last week at the Vatican with Secretary of State John Kerry, the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, second in authority to the pope, offered to assist U.S. efforts to close the facility for terrorism suspects.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Vatican stood ready “to help find adequate humanitarian solutions through our international contacts” to help place current detainees,” Agence France-Presse reported.

The White House said Wednesday that the re-establishment of U.S. relations with Cuba after more than five decades came after Pope Francis and Obama discussed Cuba at their most recent meeting, which was followed by a Vatican-hosted meeting between U.S. and Cuban officials, the White House told reporters Wednesday.

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EU firms help power China’s military rise

Beijing (AFP) – As China boosts its military spending, rattling neighbours over territorial disputes at sea, an AFP investigation shows that European countries have approved billions in transfers of weapons and military-ready technology to the Asian giant.

China’s air force relies on French-designed helicopters, while submarines and frigates involved in Beijing’s physical assertion of its claim to vast swathes of the South China Sea are powered by German and French engines — part of a separate trade in “dual use” technology to Beijing’s armed forces. Continue reading