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Thread: Eurasia Topics

  1. #1551
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klondyke View Post
    It seems that the opening of the gates at the Southern border of the (please no names here)
    Somewhere in Eurasia or are you in the wrong thread?

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    Saudi-Iran reset will take time

    May 11, 2021 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (R) received Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (L), Jeddah, May 11, 2021

    "The Saudi-Iranian contacts that began last month in secrecy has gained gravitas. The unannounced trip to Jeddah last night by the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and the exceptional courtesies he received, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greeting him at the airport, calls attention to the winds of change sweeping Gulf region. Sheikh Tamim returned to Doha by the crack of dawn but it was a substantive visit.

    The Emir was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani while a galaxy of Saudi princes and high officials were present at the talks, including the Minister of State and Cabinet’s member Prince Turki Bin Mohammed Bin Fahd; Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid Bin Salman; Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan; Minister of State, Cabinet’s member and National Security Adviser Dr. Musaed Bin Mohammad Al-Aiban.

    Last weekend, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Qatari foreign minister had said,

    “We welcome any dialogue or efforts and a positive spirit related to relations between Iran and the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, and we support such efforts and believe that dialogue is a constructive step toward the stability of the region.”


    Earlier, in an interview with Bloomberg TV in January, the Qatari foreign minister was more explicit, expressing hope that a summit between leaders of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council and Iran would happen. He said, “I think this is also a desire being shared among the other GCC countries… Also from the Iranian side. They have expressed their willingness several times to engage with the GCC countries.” Since then, both Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers have visited Doha in late March on successive days.


    Tehran has warmed up to the idea of inclusive dialogue. It is in this backdrop that Iran confirmed publicly Monday that it was in talks with Saudi Arabia. Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the talks focused on bilateral and regional issues. He added,

    “The two countries and the region are interested in reducing tensions and hope to reach a meaningful understanding that will help change the atmosphere.”

    Significantly, this is an exclusively regional initiative. The US assistant secretary of state for the region, Joey Hood, speaking at an event on Monday at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, acknowledged that

    “It is very important to have open dialogue to try to get things de-escalated” and Washington supported the Saudi-Iranian talks , “(but) we don’t have anything to do with them.”


    This echoed the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s non-committal stance ten days back when he told FT, “If they’re talking, I think that’s generally a good thing. Talking is usually better than the alternative. Does it lead to results? That’s another question. But talking, trying to take down tensions, trying to see if there’s a modus vivendi, trying to get countries to take actions on things they’re doing that you don’t like — that’s good, that’s positive.”


    Blinken sounded unhappy and somewhat irritated. His words reflect the reality that the the US is a mere passive bystander while the two Gulf powerhouses in the Gulf are drawing close — and one of them is Washington’s client state for almost 80 years while the other is an archetypal enemy for the past 40 years. Blinken betrayed the waning influence of Washington in West Asia — although the White House keeps insisting that ‘America is back.’


    The Saudi-Iranian drive to normalise ties is motivated primarily by the two sides’ deep distrust of American intentions. The US-Saudi alliance is in an impasse and Riyadh no longer trusts the US as a provider of security. As for Tehran, the regional climate today is conducive for advancing its long-held belief that the the regional security issues are best handled by the regional states without outside interference.


    The breakdown of the decades-old US policy to exploit the frictions in the Gulf to sell weapons and keep the local regimes on tight leash is self-evident. The Biden administration’s focus on engaging Iran is a wake-up call for Riyadh and other Gulf Arab regimes.


    Having said that, it must be understood that the Gulf regimes are far from staging a mutiny. The petrodollar continues to lubricate the western banking system and the wealthy sheikhs hold extensive assets, personal and otherwise, in the western countries. Nonetheless, they see greater logic in normalising relations with Iran so as to be in sync with the international community.


    Besides, Saudis realise that engagement with Iran could increase Riyadh’s capacity to manoeuvre and create space to negotiate with the US. Above all, Saudis would like to be on the right side of history, as the US-Iran engagement holds the potential to galvanise conflict resolution in the ‘hotspots’ in the region — Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.


    Nonetheless, it is a refreshing sight that diplomacy is on the ascendance in regional politics. Thus, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mahmut Cavusoglu arrived in Riyadh on Monday on a 3-day visit — the first high-level Turkish official visit to Riyadh since the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.


    Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif is “almost certain” to travel to the UAE later this week, which will be the first of its kind in the past 5 years. Again, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief met with his Syrian counterpart in Damascus last week in another sign of the broad push towards lowering the temperature in the region.

    Succinctly put, Saudi Arabia is chartering own course rather than merely sub-serving or harmonising with Washington’s regional strategies. Credit must be given to the Saudi Crown Prince for having gone the extra league to convey his desire to normalise with Tehran.

    Prince Mohammed said in a recent interview with Al-Arabiya TV,


    “At the end of the day, Iran is a neighbouring country. All we ask for is to have a good and distinguished relationship with Iran. We do not want the situation with Iran to be difficult. On the contrary, we want it to prosper and grow as we have Saudi interests in Iran, and they have Iranian interests in Saudi Arabia, which is to drive prosperity and growth in the region and the entire world.”


    Tehran has agonised whether this is a mere tactical shift due to a combination of circumstances — growing friction in US-Saudi relations, acute need for Riyadh to take Iran’s help to navigate a face-saving Saudi exit from Yemeni war, the US’ return to JCPOA and the lifting of US sanctions against Iran, etc. — or a genuine conviction in Riyadh that co-existence with Iran is in its strategic interests. The fact remains that unlike the Gulf Arab regimes, Iran is an Islamic republic, which is founded on revolutionary principles, and that remains an immutable reality.


    A reset of Saudi-Iran ties will take time. Herein lies the weak spot, as variables come into play. Fundamentally, the regional balance is tilting in favour of Iran as its integration into the world economy accelerates. In turn, Iran’s surge as a regional power will demand a lot of adjustment on the part of the regional states, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the fizz has gone out of Abraham Accords.


    All things considered, a US retrenchment from West Asia is not to be expected, as Washington fears that it may only open new opportunities for China and allow Russia to consolidate its regional standing further. Blinken’s remarks suggest that the US doesn’t think that a Saudi-Iranian reset is a done thing yet. These are early days and the US could always work its way back to the centerstage by creating new contradictions in Gulf security. The Saudi succession may turn out to be an inflection point, as Biden has let his aversion toward the Crown Prince be known.


    The Biden administration’s blanket support for Israel over the latter’s attack on Palestinians and its desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque is a clear indication that nothing much has changed in Washington’s mindset. Israel’s clout with the US elite remains intact. And Israel will ensure that the US keeps its dominance in the Gulf, no matter what it takes.


    The point is, West Asia is not only about arms exports, petrodollars and terrorism, but a vital region that intersects with the Asian Century.
    It is a regional hub for China’s Belt and Road; it is where dollar’s pre-eminence as world currency could be seriously challenged; and, of course, roughly half of China’s imported crude oil originated from nine Middle Eastern nations in 2019."

    https://www.indianpunchline.com/saud...ill-take-time/
    Last edited by OhOh; 12-05-2021 at 12:18 PM.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

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    How India lost its way in Persian Gulf

    May 19, 2021 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

    Eurasia Topics-farzad-jpg

    India gets booted out of Farzad-B gas field in Persian Gulf.


    "There have been two successive setbacks in the past one-year period to the India-Iran relationship. India has been literally eased out of two strategically important projects in Iran that were full of promise to uplift the ties in a medium and long term perspective.

    The first was in July when Tehran dropped India from the planned construction of a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan.

    4The second has been the Iranian decision to award to a local company a contract worth USD 1.78 billion for the development of Farzad B Gas Field in the Persian Gulf, which India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd had discovered way back in 2008. Plainly put, India has been booted out of the project.


    In both cases, there was considerable delay on India’s part to negotiate a mutually satisfactory arrangement at government-to-government level, which apparently left Tehran with no choice but to proceed with the implementation of the projects without the involvement of Indian public sector companies.


    Having said that, it was a political decision no doubt that Tehran took, considering the highly strategic nature of the two projects for not only bilateral ties but regional politics as well. While Farzad B Gas Field would have strengthened India’s energy security, the Chabahar-Zahedan rail line would be a vital link in regional connectivity for India with land-locked Afghanistan and the Central Asian region. In the latter case, India’s capacity to play an effective political role in Afghanistan could get impaired.


    Fundamentally, these setbacks are to be attributed to the lack of strategic clarity in India’s policies toward Iran and the Persian Gulf region on the whole. Certain serious aberrations had crept into the Indian regional policies in the Persian Gulf in the recent 3-4 years since 2017 that negatively impacted Iran’s core strategic interests.


    To recap, in a marked departure from the traditional policy not to take sides in the perennial inter-state tensions in the Persian Gulf between Iran and the GCC states, India began to identify itself with the countries of the anti-Iran regional front that the former US President Donald Trump was sponsoring — involving Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.


    How far the US encouraged India to be a ‘swing’ state to give ballast to the Israel-Saudi-UAE front or whether the Indian ‘tilt’ was a suo moto decision is a moot point today. Most likely, it was a combination of both templates, stemming out of a deeply flawed Indian assessment of the geopolitics of the West Asian region.

    Indian policy got predicated on an entirely unwarranted assumption that the US-led Israel-Saudi-Emirati bandwagon was irrevocably on the ascendance in regional politics and it would be advantageous for India to get on board as a fellow traveller.

    Indeed, Indian strategic community contributed significantly to this mishap. With the signing of the Abraham Accords last August, Indian analysts were convinced that the country’s regional strategies in the Persian Gulf and West Asian region would be best served by forging even closer links with the Us-Israeli-Saudi-Emirati axis.

    Two op-Eds in the Indian Express newspaper at that time titled India’s geopolitical interests are in close alignment with moderate Arab centre and India must seize the new strategic possibilities with the Gulf and a piece penned by a former Indian diplomat in the Times of Israel titled Why India supports the Abraham Accord stand out as forceful presentation of the case. (here, here and here)


    Unfortunately, the seductive arguments propagating the US-Israeli-Saudi-Emirati axis were falling on very receptive ears in the corridors of power in Delhi. They happened to fit in perfectly with the policy trajectory to give gravitas to the nascent quasi-alliance between India and steadily elevate it to a military alliance dovetailing with Washington’s so-called Indo-Pacific strategy against China in the geopolitical space from Western Pacific to the Indian Ocean.


    Wasn’t India aware that the raison d’être of the US-Israeli-Saudi-Emirati front aimed at isolating Iran in its region and overthrowing the established regime in that country? Of course, Trump and his regional allies had left Delhi in no doubt whatsoever on that score. But, simply put, Delhi had no qualms over it, although Iran has been traditionally a friendly country that never encroached upon India’s vital interests and had consistently sought a close friendly partnership with India.


    Without doubt, Tehran began noticing the shift in the Indian attitudes. While Delhi’s muted response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (December 2017) signalled new churning, the enthusiastic welcome that Delhi extended to the Abraham Accords (August 2020) would have made Tehran sit up.


    Indeed, Delhi kept silent when Iran’s Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed (January 2020) on Trump’s orders and when a top Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated by Israel. Delhi no longer bothered to hide its special relations with the UAE and Saudi Arabia with accent on security cooperation, notwithstanding the two countries’ growing hostility toward Iran. In retrospect, India was cruising through a fantasyland, completely out of touch with the realities.


    Then the inevitable happened in a rapid sequence — Trump lost the November election; Biden swung toward putting the US’ alliance with the Saudi regime under scanner; US began debating retrenchment from the West Asian region so as to focus on the Asia-Pacific; US stance on Palestinian issue reverted to the default position; and, most important, disregarding protests by Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Biden decided to engage with Iran.


    Of course, the lifting of the US sanctions against Iran, which is on the horizon, will completely realign the security scenario in the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are already scrambling to engage Iran on their own initiative to cope with the profound transition that is expected in regional security. Above all, the notions stemming out of the Abraham Accords have died a sudden death. Th current conflict in Gaza even accentuates Israel’s isolation.


    Meanwhile, Iran’s surge is in the cards. The lifting of US sanctions and ensuing integration into the world economy will dramatically change the geopolitics of Iran. Iran is a very rich country, and with or without India’s cooperation, it will embark on an ambitious programme of economic reconstruction. Symptomatic of it is the recent 25-year, $400 billion pact of economic cooperation with China.


    From the Indian perspective, the easing of tensions in Iran’s problematic relationship with Saudi Arabia should be seized as a window of opportunity to inject new dynamism into the Indian policy. India should quietly bury the disastrous Gulf policy trajectory of the recent years built on wrong assumptions and act quickly to revive the verve of the Iran-India cooperation. Reviving the purchase of Iranian oil could be a first step.

    The road to Tehran will soon get crowded."


    https://www.indianpunchline.com/how-...-persian-gulf/

  4. #1554
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    Belarus Sends MiG Fighters To Divert Foreign Airliner, Arrests Anti-Lukashenko Journalist On Board

    by Tyler Durden

    Sunday, May 23, 2021 - 11:35 AM
    A bizarre and alarming incident which officials are calling unprecedented unfolded over the skies of Eastern Europe on Sunday. A Ryanair flight which had departed Athens and was en route to Vilnius - the capital of Lithuania - was forced to land in Belarus to allow state intelligence and security services to detain a journalist who's long been critical of President Alexander Lukashenko.

    Bloomberg has identified the detained journalist is Raman Pratasevich, described as "the former editor-in-chief of the most popular Telegram news channel in Belarus" who was "arrested in the Minsk airport after the plane landed, according to the Minsk-based human rights center Viasna, which is not officially registered by the country’s authorities."

    Neighboring Lithuania had earlier issued Pratasevich asylum after Belarusian authorities had put him on a "terror watch list" related to his journalistic activities, given the 26-year old blogger and activist helped spearhead last year's anti-Lukashenko demonstrations which at times shut down large parts of central Minsk following the disputed August 2020 election which resulted in prolonging the autocrat's rule to a sixth term (which will see him into three decades in power).

    The journalist has been dubbed an "extremist" for his role in covering and participating in protests which officials also alleged there was a "foreign hand" behind which had covert NATO support. Pratasevich now faces a severe sentence - if he even goes to trial at all, with some supporters going so far as to suggest a possible death penalty case.
    Astoundingly, Belarus' military had scrambled MiG fighter jets in order to divert the plane to Minsk. Bloomberg continues, "The plane, which was flying over Belarus en route to Lithuania, was escorted to Minsk by a MiG-29 fighter jet after a bomb threat, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported, citing the Minsk airport’s press service."
    The bomb threat, however, is being widely perceived as but a ruse which ensured the plane would be on Belarusian soil in order to facilitate the controversial detention.
    Germany's Deutsche Welle details:

    An airport spokesperson told the agency that although authorities did not find any explosive devices on the plane, it was unclear when it would be allowed to take off again.
    The opposition Telegram channel Nexta also reported that the plane was searched and that authorities detained the outlet's former editor, Roman Protasevich.
    "The plane was checked, no bomb was found and all passengers were sent for another security search," said Nexta. "Among them was... Nexta journalist Roman Protasevich. He was detained."
    Image via NEXTAThe episode is quickly gaining international attention and raising alarm in NATO and the European Union, with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda issuing a statement on Twitter condemning the "unprecedented" and "abhorrent" action of Lukashenko's government.

    President Nauseda also said in a written statement released to international press agencies that: "I call on NATO and EU allies to immediately react to the threat posed to international civil aviation by the Belarus regime." He added,"The international community must take immediate steps that this does not repeat."

    Also interesting will be the added pressure on both Belarus and Lukashenko-ally Putin over the brazen intervention in a foreign airline's flight path (Ryanair DAC is based in Ireland and did not immediately comment in the hours after the incident), given especially the two leaders are expected to meet again in Sochi this week, Rossiya-1 television reported.
    Putin has been widely seen in the West as enabling Lukashenko's dictatorial rule, with Russian officials also seeing recent protests in the former Soviet satellite state as West-backed 'color revolution' activity fueled by external powers designed to expand NATO influence by seeking overthrow of Russia-friendly governments.

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    Economic news from Iran.

    Non-oil exports hit $6.3b in 2 months, up 48% yr/yr

    May 26, 2021 - 13:46

    Eurasia Topics-3780976-jpg


    "TEHRAN – The value of Iran’s non-oil exports reached $6.3 billion in the first two months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-May 21), up 48 percent compared to the last year’s same period, IRIB reported on Wednesday quoting the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA).

    ran exported 16.9 million tons of non-oil commodities including gasoline, polyethylene, methanol, iron and steel ingots and steel products to foreign destinations in the mentioned two months, according to Mehdi Mir-Ashrafi.


    Meanwhile, some 5.3 million tons of goods valued at $6.5 billion were also imported into the country in the said period to register a 26.5-percent rise compared to the last year’s same two months.

    In total, the Islamic Republic traded 22.2 million tons of such goods worth $12.8 billion with its trade partners in the period under review, up 6.6 percent and 38 percent in terms of weight and value, respectively, Mir-Ashrafi said.

    Iran's top five non-oil export destinations during this period were China with $2 billion worth of exports, Iraq with $953 million, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with over $849 million, Turkey with $388 million, and Afghanistan with $365 million.

    According to the official, the mentioned five countries accounted for 68 percent and 73 percent of Iran’s total non-oil exports in terms of weight and value, respectively.


    Meanwhile, the country’s top five sources of imports during these two months were the UAE with $1.8 billion, China with $1.5 billion, Turkey with $642 million, Germany with $285 million, and Switzerland with $283 million worth of imports.


    Mobile phones, corn, sunflower oil, meal, wheat, soybeans, rice, barley, sugar and crude soybean oil were the most imported items during this period.

    These 10 items accounted for 69.5 percent of the weight and 33 percent of the total value of imports, according to Mir-Ashrafi.


    The official also noted that over 1.842 million tons of goods were transited through Iran in the said period, registering a 142-percent rise compared to the same period in the previous year."

    Non-oil exports hit $6.3b in 2 months, up 48% yr/yr - Tehran Times


    Transit of goods via Iran rising

    May 26, 2021 - 13:57

    Eurasia Topics-3781008-jpg


    "Today, transit has become more important due to the expanded global trade relations and the intensity of competition for new markets. So that many countries have achieved huge incomes in this way by planning and making optimal use of their transit opportunities and facilities.

    Iran is one of the countries that has a special status in trade and transit relations due to its strategic location and special geography, as the country is the passage of several important international corridors.


    In the south of Iran is the Persian Gulf, which is home to the world's major oil-producing countries. This region is considered as the energy bottleneck of the world.


    In the north of Iran is the Caspian Sea, which is the best bridge between Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan and can play an important role in trade between these countries.


    The country, on the other hand, borders Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the west and east.


    In other words, it can be said that Iran communicates with 15 countries through land and water borders, and at the same time it can act as a bridge between these countries (with each other and other parts of the world).

    These countries have a large population and high income which can be effective as a factor in the development of transit and trade in the region.

    The connection of Central Asian countries with the Persian Gulf, as well as the establishment of trade relations between East Asia and European countries through Iran, is very cost-effective, so that many of these countries seek to establish such relations through Iran.


    This status has provided the country with many opportunities that making optimal use of them through the expansion of the transportation network and reliable and efficient communication, Iran can achieve foreign currency earnings and economic growth, and make transit revenue a suitable alternative to oil export, while improving its strategic position in the region.

    Considering the country’s transit statistics, it is obvious that Iran is taking the advantage of its strategic status in this due.

    As reported by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), 7.532 million tons of commodities were transited through Iran in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20) despite the restrictions created by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The IRICA report said that Shahid Rajaei Special Zone in Hormozgan province with 3.305 million tons, Bazargan in West Azarbaijan province with 703,000 tons, Bashmaq in Kurdistan province with 687,000 tons, Sarakhs in Khorasan Razavi with 457,000 tons, Imam Khomeini Port in Khuzestan province with 447,000 tons, Bileh Savar in Ardabil province with 337,000 tons, Jolfa in East Azarbaijan province with 312,000 thousand tons, Razi in West Azarbaijan province with 188,000 tons, Astara in Gilan province with 156,000 tons and Bandar Lengeh in Hormozgan province with 139,000 tons of transited goods, were the country’s top 10 customs in terms of the volume of transits.

    Also, the reports related to the transit via the country in the current Iranian year indicate a rising trend.

    For example, transit of goods through Shahid Rajaee port, Iran’s largest and best-equipped container port, increased 160 percent in the first month of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-April 20), as compared to the same period of time in the past year, according to a provincial official.

    Alireza Mohammadi Karajiran, the director-general of Ports and Maritime Department of Iran’s southern Hormozgan province, where the port lies, said that 20,231 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of commodities were transited via Shahid Rajaee port in the said month.

    Enjoying the most modern container terminals and port equipment, Shahid Rajaee accounts for 85 percent of the total loading and unloading at the Iranian ports.

    The latest report in the field of transit was released by IRICA on Wednesday, as the IRICA director-general announced that 1.841 million tons of goods were transited through the territory of Iran during the first two months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-May 21), which has increased by 142 percent compared to the same period last year.

    This increase indicates an improvement in the transit of goods across customs borders of the country, a reduction in coronavirus-related restrictions and a reduction in the impact of sanctions, Mehdi Mir-Ashrafi stated.

    Considering its geographical location, Iran can play a significant role in the transit of goods in the region and benefit a lot from its status in this due. To take full advantage of its location for transit, the country has many plans underway and, on the agenda, to boost its transit capacity.

    Some of these plans include developing Shahid Rajaee Port, and also Chabahar Port in the southeast of the country, connecting the ports to the railway network, development of transit via railway, and also some customs measures such as improving transit procedures in the customs offices"

    Transit of goods via Iran rising - Tehran Times

  6. #1556
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Non-oil exports hit...
    Forwarding cost to Europe and USA have quadrupled...

    Wondering where from all the goods are coming?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klondyke View Post
    Wondering where from all the goods are coming?
    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Meanwhile, the country’s top five sources of imports during these two months were the UAE with $1.8 billion, China with $1.5 billion, Turkey with $642 million, Germany with $285 million, and Switzerland with $283 million worth of imports.

    Mobile phones, corn, sunflower oil, meal, wheat, soybeans, rice, barley, sugar and crude soybean oil were the most imported items during this period.
    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    exported 16.9 million tons of non-oil commodities including gasoline, polyethylene, methanol, iron and steel ingots and steel products
    Primarily produced in Iranian refinery/chemical plants. Steel from their own furnaces.

    Imports:

    Eurasia Topics-iran-imports-country-jpg


    Exports:

    Eurasia Topics-iran-exports-country-jpg


    Iran Exports By Country


    ameristan unsurprisingly is missing out on some good deals.

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    I used to look down on the creek from the Sheraton Dubai and marvel how much shit went into Iran on those dhows.

    VW Camper vans, baths, you name it. If it fitted, it went on there. How they didn't capsize more often is a mystery.

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    Perhaps all the gold they were smuggling in the keel kept the lot upright ?

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    Let Iran choose its next president


    May 30, 2021 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

    "
    The western analysts feel agitated about Iran’s refusal to play by the rule book of liberal democracy. They feel indignant even as Tehran released on Tuesday the final list of candidates found qualified by the Constitutional Council to run for president in the June 18 election.

    A consensus is forming that the election is gerrymandered by the powers that be. In reality, they are applying western norms of democracy, although the 1979 Iranian revolution created a unique political system in Iran devolving upon the unassailable supremacy of the concept of velayit-e-faqih, (guardianship of the jurists in power) but renewable through free elections on the basis of universal suffrage.

    Such a political system based on Islamic principles with popular support was conceived as the best means to preserve the revolutionary ideals and ensure stability as well as create a firewall against predatory strikes by inimical foreign powers. Iran’s modern history is replete with brazen foreign interventions and it is no secret that the Iranian revolution is today at a crossroads.

    A transition is looming large for the position of the Supreme Leader, which Ali Khamenei has been occupying since 1989 at the age of 50. The position carries immense responsibilities as the spiritual head of the system as well as being the most powerful political authority with either direct or indirect control over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, as well as the military and media.

    Interestingly, Khamenei had served as the third President of Iran from 1981 to 1989 before being elected as the Supreme Leader by the Assembly of Experts.

    With the lifting of the US sanctions, which is in the cards, Iran’s integration into the world economy is expected to enter a new phase, and foreign influences and pressure on the country’s decision making are bound to intensify as never before. Iran is a potentially very rich country in resources and there is going to be a scramble for its minerals, in particular.

    There is a wonderful 2006 book Overthrow authored by veteran New York Times foreign correspondent and author Stephen Kinzer about the US’ involvement in the overthrow of foreign governments from the late 19th century to the present.

    Kinzer contends that “establishing military bases around the world and bringing foreign governments under American control were never ends in themselves” but were “ways for the United States to assure itself access to the markets, resources and investment potential of distant lands.” He adds to it as a supplementary factor that US intervention came also from humanitarian hubris as well — “the power of the noble idea of American exceptionalism.”

    Both greed and hubris are present in the US’ fraught relationship with Iran, which will remain in adversarial terms for a foreseeable future even if diplomatic ties are established. The US fancies that there is a huge pro-American sentiment in Iran and it is far from a situation of every Iranian being militantly anti-Israel, anti-American, or in favour of the system of velayit-e-faqih.

    Again, there is a notion that Iran’s support the resistance movement is in reality skin deep only and people don’t want to see the country’s resources being squandered to support militant groups such as Hezbollah or Hamas at a time when the economy ought to be the priority.

    These self-serving notions, with no empirical data to back up, have led to the USG appropriating $75 million to go to the promotion of democracy and a more “open” society in Iran.

    Kinzer writes in his book, “The United States uses a variety of means to persuade other countries to do its bidding… By the end of the twentieth century, it had become more difficult for Americans to stage coups because foreign leaders had learned how to resist them. Coups had also become unnecessary.”

    When it comes to Iran, the system is based on checks and balances that prevents concentration of political power. But dispersal of power also has a flip side — it can not only create a dysfunctional system but is also vulnerable to foreign penetration.

    It is critically important that the three main pillars of the political system — the presidency, the Majlis and the judiciary — are broadly in harmony with each other despite whatever differences on specific issues. Factionalism has been the Achilles heel of Shia politics historically.

    All these considerations prevail when the list of approved presidential candidates is announced. The Guardian Council, which vets candidates for the presidential election, is appointed by the Supreme Leader and is a constitutionally mandated 12-member body of six Islamic jurists (faqihs, or, experts in Islamic Law) and six jurists specialising in different areas of law, to be elected by the Majlis from among the Muslim jurists nominated by the Chief Justice. In principle, the Supreme Leader can demand a revision of the recommended panel of presidential candidates and once, in the presidential election in 2005, it did happen.

    Now, this may not conform to the practice of democracy in America. But then, as in America, it is any country’s choice in terms of its history and culture and exigencies of politics to adopt the most suitable electoral system. When it comes to this year’s election, the so-called reformist wing could not agree on a consensus figure while the conservative faction (Principalists) has several candidates in the fray.

    Chief justice Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, who is being mentioned as front runner, and apparently enjoys broad support in the conservative camp, had opposed the candidacy of incumbent president Hassan Rouhani in the last election in 2017 but polled only 15.8 million votes as against the latter’s 23 million votes. Clearly, being the favourite of the conservative faction alone does not necessarily assure election victory. Surprises are galore when the voters make their choice.

    There are other formidable candidates in the fray beyond Raeisi — notably, Mohsen Rezai, former IRGC commander; Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator from 2007-2013 (presently a member of the a Expediency Council which arbitrates between parliament and the Guardian Council in any dispute);

    Abdolnasser Hemmati, the central bank governor (a “moderate” technocrat) who has worked under two presidents from the opposing wings of Iran’s political factions. By the way, all three candidates are PhD holders.

    All in all, from the western perspective, the real problem with the current election in Iran is that the outlook for a moderate candidate is bleak. And this has profound implications at a juncture when the sanctions are likely to be lifted on Iran and the country will be embarking on a new journey to realise its full potential for growth and development for the first time after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

    A joint survey of the Iranian public conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and IranPoll in April provides fascinating insights into how Iranians view this pivotal moment for their country. The US think tank estimated that “Iranians view Rouhani’s policies quite negatively, especially his economic policies… As the election nears, nearly two-thirds of Iranians say they would prefer a critic of Rouhani to be the next president of Iran.”

    That is to say, if no credible reformist candidate has not appeared in the electoral arena, it is not because any superior power ordained so but simply because the reformist platform stands discredited today in the eyes of the electorate.

    The top contenders in the electorate arena are mostly conservative candidates. Raeisi scored 27%, but then, a plurality of Iranians also say they are undecided (35%). The undecided portion may swing the election in either direction. Clearly, no decisive favourite has volunteered in the upcoming election.

    Interestingly, while half of Iranians think it is likely that sanctions would be loosened during the Biden presidency, there is little expectation of improvement for the US-Iran relations over the next four to eight years.


    The crux of the matter is that elections in Iran are never about foreign policy. Iran has a very animated political culture. Both in its symbolism and its pragmatism, it stood out that Presidential candidate Raeisi began his election campaign on Wednesday with two events: a meeting with businessmen and a visit to Tehran Grand Bazar.

    The election will not produce the results that the western world would hope for. The compass for Iran’s foreign policy is not going to be reset. It is anchored on strategic autonomy.

    Therein probably lies the West’s disappointment."


    https://www.indianpunchline.com/let-...ext-president/

  11. #1561
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Let Iran choose its next president
    How about letting the Iranian people choose their next president rather than letting the beardy twats choose the candidates?

    Or is that too democratic for you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    How about letting the Iranian people choose their next president rather than letting the beardy twats choose the candidates?
    The "RULES" of the election procedures are normaly only revisable if one party has a high majority, as laid out in a county's constitution. Similar to many countries.

    As for the "let the people decide", the people will vote very soon and the person who has the most votes will be the winner.

    None of this post "peoples vote" adjustments, by an unelected group accountable to nobody, other than their campaign funders.

    As adopted in ameristan it appears.

    Or as in the UK. Where the PM is chosen by his political party MPs.

    The British people only vote into office their constituency MP.

    The British people do not vote into office, the PM.
    Last edited by OhOh; 31-05-2021 at 06:38 PM.

  13. #1563
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    The "RULES" of the election procedures are normaly only revisable if one party has a high majority, as laid out in a county's constitution. Similar to many countries.

    As for the "let the people decide", the people will vote very soon and the person who has the most votes will be the winner.

    None of this post "peoples vote" adjustments, by an unelected group accountable to nobody, other than their campaign funders.

    As adopted in ameristan it appears.

    Or as in the UK. Where the PM is chosen by his political party MPs.

    The British people only vote into office their constituency MP.

    The British people do not vote into office, the PM.
    You don't seem to have a fucking clue about the electoral systems of any country, let alone Iran.

  14. #1564
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    As for the "let the people decide", the people will vote very soon and the person who has the most votes will be the winner.
    Sweet baby Jesus . . . I guess OhNo also thinks China has a one-person/one-vote electoral system . . .

  15. #1565
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    The "RULES" of the election procedures are normaly only revisable if one party has a high majority, as laid out in a county's constitution. Similar to many countries.

    As for the "let the people decide", the people will vote very soon and the person who has the most votes will be the winner.

    None of this post "peoples vote" adjustments, by an unelected group accountable to nobody, other than their campaign funders.

    As adopted in ameristan it appears.

    Or as in the UK. Where the PM is chosen by his political party MPs.

    The British people only vote into office their constituency MP.

    The British people do not vote into office, the PM.
    No. But they can vote him out of his seat which will remove him from office.
    Your slavish adherence to a one party totalitarian state shows your complete ignorance of western politics, apart from the propaganda you are fed from the CCP which you slavishly drool over like some automaton like simpleton, with absolutely no intellectual capacity for any form of rational reasoning or critical thought.
    You are quite a disapointing fellow in many respects as you do show signs of intellectual capacity, unlike a few pseudo intellectual morons on TD, but you exhibit an uncanny knack to back it up with a breathtakingly myopic stupidity that is apparent to all your readers, but unfortunately not yourself.
    Fear not, there are two other rivals for your crown galloping up the rear to take out the slightly less than coveted "Tokyo Rose Poster of the year" award.

  16. #1566
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    You are quite a disapointing fellow in many respects as you do show signs of intellectual capacity, unlike a few pseudo intellectual morons on TD, but you exhibit an uncanny knack to back it up with a breathtakingly myopic stupidity that is apparent to all your readers, but unfortunately not yourself.
    How very well put.


  17. #1567
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat View Post
    Sweet baby Jesus . . . I guess OhNo also thinks China has a one-person/one-vote electoral system . . .
    Well he thinks the chinkies can happily post antigovernment sentiments if they so desire...

    Eurasia Topics-chinafreespeech-jpg

  18. #1568
    Achieve By Unity cyrille's Avatar
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    It's quite clear that he lives in his own little dreamworld.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    no intellectual capacity for any form of rational reasoning or critical thought.
    There are a few posters I do regard highly. There are others here that can be easily led along which fit your opinion. All of which increases the forum post numbers, and it's value.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrille View Post
    lives in his own little dream world
    Absolutely, one day you may find your rainbows end.



    Or is yours terrifying?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    No. But they can vote him out of his seat which will remove him from office.
    Do you have an example when a sitting PM has been voted out of office by his/her constituency citizens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    Your slavish adherence to a one party totalitarian state shows your complete ignorance of western politics,
    You're implying that multi-party states are improving their citizens well-being. Some current and recent examples would be nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    the propaganda you are fed from the CCP
    I post "news" from a variety of sources. Whether you accept their content is your choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    exhibit an uncanny knack to back it up with a breathtakingly myopic stupidit
    There are many versions of history available to all who look.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    is apparent to all your readers
    All?

    Yet you post there are others vying for my exhaulted position!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    "Tokyo Rose Poster of the year" award.
    I've only met three "roses", none Japanese and married them all. All did, and one continues to, prick me occasionally.

    A healthy epidermis protects me well.

  20. #1570
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    no intellectual capacity for any form of rational reasoning or critical thought.

    . . . OhNo continues on on his unhinged multi-quote rant.

    Well spotted, HC

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    To Indians, Palestine’s Hamas remains a riddle

    May 20, 2021 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

    "One major outcome of the current conflict in Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem will be the emergence of Hamas as the charioteer of the Palestinian resistance movement against Israel.

    The Hamas’ ascendence poses a predicament for a number of countries who would have a sense of involvement with the Palestinian cause. India falls in that category. A policy adjustment becomes necessary. This may involve a leap of faith, as it overlaps the relationship with a militant Islamic group.

    In the current conflict, Hamas has won considerable sympathy far beyond the Muslim world, including among those who could otherwise be vehemently opposed from a variety of ideological perspectives to political Islam being the manifestation of power.
    The complex feeling ranges from visceral reaction to a far more developed and politically articulated accommodation with Islamism as a political force. The uninformed Indian mind feels confused to see some combination of al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbollah, Hamas, et al, while Hamas exemplifies a new form of the historic project of justice, freedom, equality and resistance to suppression.

    In the international context, the evidence of this transformation appeared when the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez flew into Tehran and dramatically embraced the Iranian president in 2006. More recently, Iran sent a flotilla of tankers to Venezuela last year to help the Latin American nation fight a crippling fuel shortage due to US sanctions, in an act of defiance in the face of Washington’s warnings. What began as a tactical cooperation between Venezuela and Iran has become something far more elaborated.

    Curiously, the relationship between militant Islam and secularists in modern history dates back to the immediate aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 when the Soviet leadership viewed militant Muslims as at least tactical allies while promoting an “anti-imperialist” movement in Asia against the British, French and Dutch colonial empires.
    To quote the well-known British scholar on political Islam, Fred Halliday, “For decades afterwards, the Soviet position on Islam was that it was, if not inherently progressive, then at least capable of socialist interpretation.” Of course, it is a different story that in the latter part of the 20th century, as key template of the Cold War strategy against the Soviet Union, the West succeeded by a far clearer alignment of Islamist groups against communism, socialism, liberalism and all that Moscow stood for — with devastating effect culminating in the “Afghan jihad” in the 1980s.

    Inevitably, when history is rewritten, the language of political adjustment also changes to accommodate the new accommodation. Thus, the protests in the western cities this past week over the Israeli assault on Gaza carried the banners “Palestinian Lives Matter,” echoing the movement that surged in the US following the brutal murder of George Floyd, an African-American by police in Minneapolis in Minnesota in the US last May.

    That the sympathisers and supporters of the Palestine cause invoked Black Lives Matter, a decentralised political and social movement in the US against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people, carries much symbolism about the changing perceptions of Hamas worldwide as a resistance movement.
    A riveting piece today by The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was titled The ‘unshakeable bonds of Friendship Between the US and Israel are Shaking. Kristof wrote that young Americans tend to see “the rise of this hawkish, more extremist Israel and perceive not a plucky democracy but an oppressive military power. What strikes them most isn’t democratic values so much as what Human Rights Watch calls “crimes of apartheid.”

    Importantly, among Democrats in the US Congress, attitudes toward Israel have grown more critical as the party base expresses concern about the human rights of Palestinians. A robust push from the energised progressive wing of the party — led by Senator Bernie Sanders and the representatives in the House, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, have openly accused Israel of gross human rights violations against Palestinians and of operating an “apartheid state.”

    Senator Sanders wrote a forceful essay in the New York Times last week where he argued, “In the Middle East, where we (US) provide nearly $4 billion a year in aid to Israel, we can no longer be apologists for the right-wing Netanyahu government and its undemocratic and racist behaviour. We must change course and adopt an evenhanded approach, one that upholds and strengthens international law regarding the protection of civilians, as well as existing US law holding that the provision of US military aid must not enable human rights abuses.”
    Sanders concluded, “We must recognise that Palestinian rights matter. Palestinian lives matter.” Meanwhile, diplomacy always happens behind the scenes because it needs to be quiet and seldom if ever its every component gets read out. Reports have appeared nonetheless that President Biden has lately switched to a somewhat sharper private tone in his calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Biden’s juggling act on Israel only underscores his acute awareness that the Democrats are no longer solidly in Israel’s corner. The crisply worded White House readout on Biden’s call with Netanyahu on Wednesday ended with a noticeably undiplomatic formulation hinting at irritation, which has made headlines in the international press: “The President conveyed to the Prime Minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.” (Emphasis added.)

    All this has great relevance today for Indians who have been brainwashed by Israel and its lobbyists in the academia, media and think tanks into the stereotyped conceptions of Hamas as a violent jihadi group. Part of the problem, admittedly, lies in past history when Hamas used to be antithetical to the PLO led by Yasser Arafat and, more recently, to the Fatah led by Mahmoud Abbas, who have been friends of India.

    However, much water has flowed down the River Jordan since Arafat. Even as the Palestinians increasingly got disillusioned with the Fatah’s dalliance with the CIA and Israel, Hamas — with its styles of dogged resistance, systems of social reform and the organisation of the centralised party — began rising in popular esteem. To be sure, Fatah feels threatened today to the point that Abbas contrived to scuttle the parliamentary elections in Palestine slated for May 31 (to be followed by presidential elections on July 3.)

    The covert bonding between Abbas and Netanyahu, and the latter’s blatant interference in intra-Palestinian politics has been an enduring feature but no one wants to talk about it. In fact, the former Fatah intelligence chief Mohammed Dahlan who split from Abbas and lives in the UAE, keeps contact with the US and Israeli intelligence, and is being groomed up as possible contender to replace 84-year-old Abbas as Palestinian Authority President!

    Herein lies the far-reaching significance of the Hamas’ resistance in Gaza today to the ferocious Israeli attacks. A point has come where Hamas, thanks to its growing deterrent power, may be insulating Gaza from anymore Israeli aggression — as the Hizbollah has succeeded in Lebanon since the disastrous Israeli invasion in 2006.

    In political terms, this means that no issues of war and peace can any longer be decided in Palestine without the participation of Hamas, which has emerged as the most effective player with support from Iran, Turkey and Qatar.

    Hamas by far overshadows the traditional friends of India in the Palestinian camp, who are of course a pale shadow of what they used to be in the halcyon days of Arafat. India must, therefore, upgrade its approach. The Indian statement of May 16 at the UN Security Council suggests that the new thinking is in transition, struggling to be born."

    https://www.indianpunchline.com/to-i...ains-a-riddle/

  22. #1572
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    I think to this particular retard blogger that you seem to fawn over, *anything* is a riddle.

  23. #1573
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    India . . .



  24. #1574
    Im bored AF Backspin's Avatar
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    US Homicide Rate 60% Higher Than Russia's in 2020



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