Een belangrijke uitspraak van Rusland dat nu minder of meer publiekelijk zegt dat Iran zich moet terugtrekken uit grensgebied met Israel. Iets wat al lange tijd duidelijk was maar zelden door de Russen publiekelijk toegegeven. Moskou vindt de Iraanse aanwezigheid in Zuid-Syrie een gevaar voor het voortbestaan van Assad en het herstel van zijn macht.quote:Foreign Minister Lavrov indicates Moscow open to Israeli demands that Iranian forces be kept far from Israel's frontiers; urges withdrawal of all 'non-Syrian forces'
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday that only the Syrian regime should field military forces in the country’s southern border areas.
Lavrov’s comments, made at a press conference in Moscow, apparently referred to areas including the Syrian Golan Heights region abutting the Israeli Golan Heights and the border with Jordan, and indicated that Russia was open to Israeli demands that Iranian forces should be kept far from Israel’s borders.
The area is currently held by various rebel groups and Israel has accused Iran of trying to establish a presence in the area. Israel also accused Iran of firing a salvo of rockets at Israel from the area earlier in the month.
“Of course, the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces must be carried out on a mutual basis, this should be a two-way street,” Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow.
“The result of this work which should continue and is continuing should be a situation when representatives of the Syrian Arab Republic’s army stand at Syria’s border with Israel,” Lavrov said.
Earlier Monday, the Haaretz daily reported that Russia is considering trying to keep Iranian forces and their allies from Israel’s northern border, fearing that repeated Israeli strikes may undermine Syrian President Bashar Assad’s grip on the country.
Citing Israeli security and diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, the Haaretz report said Russia decided to work on a deal to remove the Iranian troops following a heavy Israeli attack on Iranian targets in Syria on May 10. The bombing raids came after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s al-Quds Force launched 32 rockets at Israel’s forward defensive line on the Golan Heights border.
Israel has acknowledged carrying out several aerial raids on Iranian targets in Syria, and is suspected of carrying out several more, the most recent last week, when a military air base in western Syria was hit in an airstrike.
Much of the Iranian infrastructure is set up on Syrian bases and Israel has also frequently hit Syrian air defenses during strikes on Iranian targets.
The preemptive effort by the Israel Defense Forces against Iran and its allies in Syria is known collectively as “Operation Chess.”
However, just last week, Iran appeared to reject remarks from Russia’s leader that the Islamic Republic should pull its forces out of Syria after a political settlement is reached in the war-torn country.
“No one can force Iran to do anything,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi said, according to the Tasnim news website.
Russia has reportedly also recently tried to involve the United States in an agreement to bring stability to Syria, which has been ravaged by civil war for the past seven years.
Jerusalem wants Iranian troops and Shiite militia groups aligned with Iran to be at least 60 kilometers (40 miles) from the Golan Heights, Israel’s northern border with Syria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken several times with Russian President Vladimir Putin and stressed that Israel will not allow Iran and Shiite militias backed by Tehran to maintain a foothold in Syria near the Israeli border.
Last November Russia reportedly made a deal with the Iranians that they would not come within five kilometers (three miles) of Israel’s border, but in practice Tehran has ignored this, and members of the Revolutionary Guard have occasionally been seen right on the border.
Israel suspects there are some 2,000 Iranian troops currently in Syria, Haaretz reported, along with almost 9,000 Shiite militia from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and another 7,000 members of the Hezbollah terror group.
On Sunday, Netanyahu told his cabinet that Israel was taking action against arms manufacturing in Lebanon and threatened continued fighting with Iran Sunday.
“We are working to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. At the same time we are working against the establishment of an Iranian military presence against us; to this end we are also operating against the transfer of deadly weapons from Syria to Lebanon or their manufacture in Lebanon,” Netanyahu said.
“All of these weapons are for use against the State of Israel and it is our right – based on the right of self-defense – to prevent their manufacture or transfer,” he said. Netanyahu did not specify what action was being taken against the arms in Lebanon.
On Thursday night a military air base in western Syria was hit in an airstrike, sparking large explosions, which were heard throughout the area, state media reported.
The Daba’a air base, also known as al-Qusair air base, and the surrounding area are known to be a stronghold for Hezbollah and Iran-backed militias. It was also reportedly struck by Israel in skirmishes against Syrian and Iranian forces on May 10.
Zeer interessant.quote:Russia and Saudi Arabia’s energy ministers will discuss a potential relaxation of the global oil output cap agreed between Opec and Moscow amid calls for them to boost output after their supply cuts helped drive prices to $80 a barrel.
The historic agreement that came into effect in January 2017 between the previous oil market rivals — curbing global output by 1.8m barrels a day — helped arrest the three year slump in crude prices.
But collapsing oil production in crisis-hit Venezuela and fears renewed US sanctions against Iran’s energy sector will curb exports further have seen prices jump to the highest level since 2014, sparking calls for an exit from the deal.
Russia’s Alexander Novak will meet his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih in St Petersburg on Thursday evening to discuss the oil market and debate a possible easing of the caps that were agreed among 24 countries.
“We will discuss the current situation, the outlook and possible further actions to be taken within the framework of our deal. Speaking of relaxing the deal: it is possible but should be based on a thorough analysis of the situation,” Mr Novak told the Financial Times. “Generally speaking, we are quite flexible.”
Opec, Russia and other producing countries will next meet fomally in Vienna on June 22 to decide the future of the deal as pressure mounts from consumer nations to amend the strict curbs, even as most oil-exporting economies have benefited from rising prices.
Opec and its allies have cut production by more than their initial targets, removing far more barrels from the market than originally planned.
The price of benchmark Brent crude slipped 1 per cent on Thursday to a low of $78.57 on speculation that Opec and Russia’s deal could be amended.
Ahead of the US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, President Donald Trump’s administration held discussions with big producer countries— widely believed to have included Saudi Arabia — about alleviating any supply shortages.
Mr Trump last month also accused Opec of “artificially” boosting the price.
While Mr Al Falih said last week the market had “ample” supplies, he also said he was in communication with countries such as the US and Russia “to co-ordinate global action to ease oil market anxiety”.
Indian government officials have expressed concern about the impact of higher prices on the fast-growing Asian economy, which is a big oil consumer. The International Energy Agency, meanwhile, warned demand growth would take a hit.
“$80 per barrel is way higher than expected … it is surprising and unexpected for us,” Mr Novak said in an interview.
“We cannot argue that higher prices are always a good thing for producers. When prices are way too high, it leads to the market being overheated and it results in destabilisation and excess supply,” he added.
Some countries are afraid such a high price will encourage more investment in the US shale industry, which they fear has the potential to once again crash the price should more supplies come on too fast.
“We need to thoroughly analyse the reasons behind this price development. We need to understand whether it is a result of basic fundamental balance shift between supply and demand, or a one-time issue that will not last,” Mr Novak added. “Our ultimate goal was not to set a specific price.”
Gulf officials too have said they want to ensure the rally is not temporary, fearing a renewed price drop should they ease supply curbs too soon, two people familiar with the matter said.
Vagit Alekperov, head of Russia’s second-largest oil producer Lukoil, said on Thursday that Russian producers should be allowed to increase their output. Mr Alekperov said the deal should remain but be made more “flexible.”
Mr Novak said that any easing would take place across all members of the deal and would be “gradual”, to avoid a rush by producers to increase their market share.
“It will be a gradual process in order to prevent market destabilisation. Maybe it will involve reduction of quotas step by step, and at any time it could be adjusted according to the state of the market,” he said.
“We want to continue our co-operation beyond 2018. What we are talking about right now is the format.”
Afgelopen weken zijn in en mbt Israel veel relevabte ontwikkelingen geweest maar vul gerust aan met eigen onderwerpen als je daar behoefte aan hebt.quote:
Wellicht niet politiek maar wel relevant wat dat betreft.quote:Egypte heeft in een beroepszaak videowebsite YouTube voor een maand in de ban gedaan omdat daarop een film te zien was die voor moslims beledigend zou zijn. De Egyptische telecomautoriteiten moeten ervoor zorgen dat YouTube wordt geblokkeerd. Het gaat om de film Innocence of Muslims die in de VS is gemaakt en veel ophef heeft veroorzaakt in moslimlanden. In de film wordt de profeet Mohammed afgeschilderd als een idioot met een seksuele afwijking. Dat is godslastering voor moslims. Een lagere rechtbank had in 2013 al tot de blokkade bevolen, maar de telecomautoriteiten waren tegen die uitspraak in beroep gegaan. Ze lieten weten dat als YouTube geblokkeerd zou worden dit zou leiden tot de ontwrichting van zoekmachine Google. Volgens de telecomautoriteiten zou dat slecht zijn voor de economie. (ANP)
quote:Isfandy‚r ¬ry‚npour, lives in Iran
The Iranian economy is practically dead, but money is still circulating.
The economy has basically collapsed to half of what it was last month, which was already in a terrible position.
Millions are suffering from poverty, and millions upon millions more are going hungry.
I can’t afford anywhere near as much groceries from the bazaar as I could just a few months ago.
But at least I can afford to eat three meals a day, unlike a huge number of Iranians who are going hungry and are suffering daily under the policies of this government.
As a result, huge protests have broken out across Iran. Larger than any before under this regime.
In my city, the bazaaris (shopkeepers) have been on strike for several days and it may continue for weeks to come.
Huge protests are taking place, most noticeably in Tehran, where thousands have been marching through the streets demanding change.
The response is brutal; government forces are deploying tear gas and viciously attacking civilians and destroying public property.
quote:Parham Shirazi, I have been to Iran and her major cities many times
The Iranian economy in numbers and the immediate effects of economic damage (Fast Facts):
-The International Monetary Fund reported that a record amount of capital, $27 billion, was taken out of the country last year.
-Iran is banning imports of over 1,300 products to counter U.S. sanctions. This suggests the U.S. sanctions threat is pushing Tehran back toward another "resistance economy" designed to conserve foreign exchange reserves and become as self-sufficient as much as possible.
Iranian Rial is 90,000 for every dollar as of Monday. A dramatic increase from 75,500 since last Thursday. And this compared to the end of last year, where it stood at 42,890.
-Drastic increase in prices of imported goods. Many people are buying real estate, gold and cars, which then drives up prices of those assets to counter inflation.
A Toyota RAV4, costs around $25,000 in the United States. In Iran, it was sold for $68,000 in August last year. Now its about $100,000.
-In the Grand Bazaar, hundreds staged protests. More protests could put pressure on President Hassan Rouhani, who has been criticized by hardliners for his economic performance.
No arrests in the Tehran protests so far. They were dispersed with tear gas when they were becoming overcrowded.
Many of those who protest are small shopkeeper owners and young people since majority of the youth are unemployed. While many did peacefully protest so far, some protestors have as gone far as too harassing other shopkeepers into shutting their shops and calling them cowards. Those shopkeepers complied for fear of vandalism and destruction.
"Police have dispersed the protectors. We are all angry with the economic situation. We cannot continue our businesses like this. But we are not against the regime," said a merchant in the bazaar, who asked not to be identified.
-A quote from Reuters article on the protests.
Sources for fast facts: My family, Reuters, New York Times
Some economic analysis:
I talked to my family and Mom the other day. She's visiting Iran now and I wish I was there but I have things to set straight here in the United States.
Just like it was expected for Trump to pull out of the nuclear, so are these protests. The Iranian people make the most noise when they suffer economically and the Iranian government is anticipating it right now. There are going to be drastic changes in Iran's economy that the will take some months or longer for adjustment. And no matter how much they anticipated it, the economic troubles will still hit hard. This is until they can go back to the self - sufficient economy they had before.
Speculation for Iran's political future:
There are whispers of a plot for a military coup at the blessing of the hardliners. Rumour has it that hardliners were to blame for the initial protests around New Years against the reformist president, Rouhani, in order to sway influence from him to themselves.
While the Iranian hardliners had issues with the nuclear deal when it was signed, the pullout and economic hardships is further strengthening the Hardliner’s legitimacy with these protests - that Reformists can't be trusted or effective in their government roles. They're now going to receive some heat for the economic troubles. Within the next few years, there might be a military led government instead of civilian one.
The nuclear deal that Europe is trying to salvage is failing. And since the deal is not working, Iran shouldn't have to uphold their end of the nuclear deal also.
Again, this is my speculation and understanding. But I could be wrong. Any corrections or suggestions are welcomed.