World prepares for US sanctions on Iran

Iranians monitor the stock market at the stock exchange in Tehran on May 8, 2018. Renewed nuclear sanctions would certainly cause severe problems for Iran's economy, but much of the damage has already been done by the uncertainty created by the US and myriad home-grown problems. (AFP / ATTA KENARE)
Updated 12 May 2018
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World prepares for US sanctions on Iran

  • Global shipping companies, traders, insurers and banks look at pulling the plug on business with Tehran after Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
  • Reuters cites sources at global trading companies predicting an imminent drop in Iranian exports due to banking issues, such as availability of trade finance.

LONDON:  US President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran is forcing global shipping companies, traders, insurers and banks to look at pulling the plug on business with Tehran, it emerged yesterday.

Swiss-headquartered private shipping group MSC said it would “comply with the (sanctions) timetable set out by the US government.”

Denmark’s Maersk Line said it had ceased acceptance of the specific cargoes blacklisted by the US Treasury this week.

On May 9, President Donald Trump broke with his European allies to announce US withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Tehran brokered by President Obama. Trump disclosed a phased reimposition of punitive sanctions, which will further damage an already weakened Iranian economy.

Among other things, Washington is imposing sanctions on the direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite and raw or semi-finished metals such as aluminium and steel, and coal, Reuters reported. The US will separately re-impose sanctions on the provision of insurance and reinsurance.

Reuters cited sources at global trading companies predicting an imminent drop in Iranian exports due to banking issues, such as availability of trade finance.

A potential decline in oil volumes due to the sanctions could add to upward pressure on oil prices, which have gained almost 20 percent to around $78 per barrel since January. 

The price rise has also been bolstered by a decision by OPEC and Russia to cap production to reduce inventories that had built up during the boom that came to a halt in 2014.

Middle Eastern oil-producing countries have benefited this year from rising oil revenues, giving them headroom to increase spending to stimulate economies that faced austerity in the wake of the collapse of the crude price four years ago. 

Saudi Arabia’s first-quarter statement revealed increased government spending and a jump in central government receipts from new taxes, including VAT.


450 militants killed in Egypt Sinai offensive: army

Updated 16 October 2018
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450 militants killed in Egypt Sinai offensive: army

  • The military launched a large-scale operation dubbed “Sinai 2018” in February to rid Sinai of Daesh militants
  • Since the start of the campaign, 450 militants were presumed to have been killed “in the north and the center of Sinai"

CAIRO: The Egyptian army said Tuesday that 450 jihadists are estimated to have been killed in its eight-month offensive against the Daesh group in the Sinai Peninsula.
The military launched a large-scale operation dubbed “Sinai 2018” in February to rid Sinai of Daesh militants after an attack on a mosque in the north of the peninsula that killed more than 300 people.
Since the start of the campaign, 450 militants were presumed to have been killed “in the north and the center of Sinai by (soldiers) and police,” army spokesman Tamer Al-Rifai told AFP.
According to army figures, around 30 soldiers have been killed during the operation.
Militants began an insurgency in Egypt after the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Muhammad Mursi, who was forced out by the military in the face of mass protests against his rule and that of his Muslim Brotherhood.
The army on Tuesday rejected criticism from rights groups over the impact on civilians of its campaign in Sinai.
It says that people in the peninsula support its operation and receive humanitarian aid.
“All air strikes are carried out by the army outside residential areas,” Rifai said on Tuesday.
Journalists are barred from going to areas targeted in the Sinai 2018 campaign, although the army organized a rare visit to the North Sinai capital El-Arish in July.
A countrywide state of emergency was imposed in April last year, following two suicide bombings at churches which were claimed by Daesh.
On Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi extended the measure by a further three months.