Iran: Various options to neutralize ‘illegal’ US sanctions oil exports

Above, an Iranian oil facility on Khark Island. Iranian officials have threatened to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to strangle Tehran’s oil exports. (AFP)
Updated 23 February 2019
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Iran: Various options to neutralize ‘illegal’ US sanctions oil exports

  • ‘Apart from closing Strait of Hormuz, we have other options to stop oil flow if threatened’
  • ‘Iran has plans in place that will neutralize the illegal US sanctions against Iran’s oil exports’

DUBAI: Iran said on Saturday it had many options to neutralize the reimposition of US sanctions on its oil exports, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, adding that Tehran’s regional influence could not be curbed as demanded by Washington.

“Apart from closing Strait of Hormuz, we have other options to stop oil flow if threatened,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani told Tasnim. “Iran has plans in place that will neutralize the illegal US sanctions against Iran’s oil exports,” Shamkhani said. “We have many ways to sell our oil.”

Tensions between Iran and the US increased after US President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers last May, and then reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic.

The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Iran to further curb its nuclear and missile programs as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

Washington had been pushing governments to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero. But, fearing a price spike, it granted waivers to eight Iranian oil buyers when the sanctions on oil imports started last November.

Iranian officials have threatened to disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf countries if Washington tries to strangle Tehran’s oil exports.

Carrying one-third of the world’s seaborne oil every day, the Strait of Hormuz links Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond.

“There are multiple ways to make that (blockage of Hormuz) happen. We hope we would not be forced to use them,” Shamkhani said.

Iran has been President Bashar Assad’s most supportive ally against insurgents throughout the nearly eight-year Syrian civil war.

“We have achieved 90 percent of Iran’s goals in Syria,” said Shamkhani, a close ally of Iran’s top authority Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“There will be important developments in promoting the deterrence capability of the resistance front in Syria,” said Shamkhani when asked about Israel’s “possible future attacks” in Syria, according to Tasnim.

“Iran is capable of confronting any military threat ... Trump and Israel are well aware of Iran’s military might,” Shamkhani said. Iran often refers to regional countries and forces opposed to Israel and the US as a “resistance axis.”

Israel, increasingly concerned that its enemy Iran may establish a long-term military presence in neighboring Syria, says it has carried out over 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria in the last two years.

Defying Israeli threats that they might be targeted if they do not leave the country, Iran says it will continue to provide military advisers to Syria for as long as necessary in support of Assad’s forces.

“They know that they cannot enter a war with Iran. That is why they publicly threaten Iran.”


Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

Updated 26 May 2019
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Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

  • Former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika were referred to the Supreme Court
  • Five other former ministers were also referred

ALGIERS: An Algerian prosecutor investigating graft allegations has referred two former prime ministers and five former ministers to the supreme court, Ennahar TV reported on Sunday citing a statement from the prosecution.
Mass protests have broken out in Algeria demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people demonstrators regard as corrupt. The seven politicians will be investigated by the court over alleged corruption cases, Ennahar said, without providing details.
They include former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who resigned on April 2 after coming under pressure from protesters and the army.
The list of the former ministers, who are under investigation, includes Amara Benyounes, Abdelakader Zaalane, Amar Ghoul, Karim Djoudi and Abdessalam Bouchouareb.
They were in charge of the sectors of trade, transport, public works, finance and industry respectively.
Their lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
The army is now the most powerful institution after the departure of Bouteflika, who had ruled the North African country since 1999.
Army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah has said major corruption cases would be pursued to try to appease the protests that started on Feb.22.
Bouteflika's youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge over "harming the army's authority and plotting against state authority."
At least five prominent businessmen have also been detained pending trial over involvement in corruption cases.
Protesters also want the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Beoui, who are considered as part of the ruling elite that has run the country since independence from France in 1962.