Turkey voices support for Iran nuclear programme

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on thursday expressed his support of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In a statement issued by Ahmadinejad’s office, Erdogan was quoted as saying: “The government and nation of Turkey has always clearly supported the nuclear positions of the Islamic republic of Iran, and will continue to firmly follow the same policy in the future.”

Ahmadinejad thanked Turkey for its “clear and frank” stance on the issue, the statement added.

Full article: Turkey voices support for Iran nuclear programme (Ahram Online)

Banking’s SWIFT ready to stop Iran transactions

Belgium-based SWIFT, which provides banks with a system for moving funds around the world, bowed to international pressure on Friday and said it was ready to block Iranian banks from using its network to transfer money further isolating Iran’s economy on the global stage.

Expelling Iranian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication would shut down Tehran’s main avenue to doing business with the rest of the world – an outcome the West believes is crucial to curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

SWIFT, which has never cut off a country before, has been closely following efforts in the United States and the European Union to develop new sanctions targeting Iran that would directly affect EU-based financial institutions.

The United States and EU have already moved to sanction Iran’s central bank.

Full article: Banking’s SWIFT ready to stop Iran transactions (Jerusalem Post)

Iranian Endgame: Part II — The Saudi Dimension

Western powers have entered into a tense endgame with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. In the second part of this new report from the Globalist Reseach Center, energy expert Matthew Hulbert explores the critical role the China-Saudi relationship might play in its resolution.

The sanctions strategy that Western nations is enacting against Iran’s oil weath depends on more than just those Western nations. The interest (and actions) of the Gulf states and Asian nations also matters critically. Only East-West cohesion can seriously undermine Iran’s hydrocarbon economy. But getting the Saudis to wield such a brutal oil weapon to shoot down Persian nuclear plans will not be quick or easy given the stakes involved.

The al Saud are well aware of the other (more credible) hedges Iran has up its sleeve (beyond cutting off oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz). At the top of the list is stirring Shia schisms in Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon and in Saudi Arabia itself.

The “Arab Awakening” is still sufficiently fresh in the minds of Gulf region leaders to set them on edge. Iran has dropped hints that it could have played much tougher with Riyadh over its intervention in Bahrain.

Full article: Iranian Endgame: Part II — The Saudi Dimension (The Globalist)

See also: Iranian Endgame: Part I — Sanctions and Asia (The Globalist)