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Ed Webb

Iraq: Iran's Economic Gateway To the World - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • 72% of Iran’s exports go to Iraq
  • “Iran is in dire need of Iraq, particularly at this stage; not only to market its goods, but to export them to other countries, or to facilitate the movement of Iranian funds through Baghdad to Damascus and Beirut.” He said, “Iraq is Iran’s economic outlet to the world.”
Ed Webb

Report: Sanctions may be speeding Iran's nuclear advancement - CSMonitor.com - 0 views

  • “Putting pressure is just half of the equation; [US and European officials] have succeeded with that, undoubtedly the pain on Iran is immense,” says Mr. Parsi. “But to channel the pain is a very, very different task.”
  • measures have begun to bite, causing economic isolation and a precipitous fall in both oil revenues and the value of the Iranian currency. But Iran has still added thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium, and deployed a more efficient, second-generation centrifuge model; stepped up uranium enrichment levels from 5 percent to 20 percent, which is technically not too far from weapons-grade; and moved its most sensitive work to a deeply buried site impregnable to air attack.
  • “it is highly unlikely that the regime will succumb to sanctions pressure … [when] no proportionate sanctions relief is put on the table by the P5+1, and capitulation is seen as a greater threat to the regime’s survival than even a military confrontation with the United States.”
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  • "individuals close to the core of Iran's power structure are relishing the narrative of resistance" because although there is economic suffering, Iran “is also gaining newfound respect on the international stage due to its refusal to succumb to Western pressure.”
  • “Stark divisions among the Iranian elite are unmistakable,” notes the NIAC report. “[But] if the testimony of elite insiders is to be believed, sanctions have helped strengthen cohesion rather than intensify rifts.”
Ed Webb

Humanitarian Aid Blocked As UN Imposes New Iran Sanctions | Common Dreams - 0 views

  • Food and medical exports to Iran are being blocked from that country even though they are exempt from new sanctions instituted Monday by the European Union.
  • "With Iraq, that of course ended up with 500,000 Iraqi children dead, resulted in the shortage of medicine, and other needs, and ended up ultimately to forceful invasion and war,"
  • Washington-based sanctions attorney Eric Ferrari said food and medical exports to Iran are being blocked, even though those items are technically exempt from sanctions. According to the NIAC:

    He said he has encountered numerous scenarios—an attempted export of a $250,000 of burn medicine, a multimillion dollar export of prosthetic limbs, exports of food supplies—in which goods that had a license from the U.S. government, a willing exporter, and a willing importer, still were blocked because no foreign bank was willing to take the risk to facilitate the transaction.  The reason, he said, is that the U.S. government has announced broader and broader penalties for any foreign bank dealing with Iranian financial institutions, while making no distinction between prohibited and authorized transactions with those banks.  The result is fewer and fewer channels for legal, humanitarian, food, and medical transactions.

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    Some confusion here - headine refers to UN, text refers to new EU sanctions, but also to existing US sanctions. Nevertheless, it is a matter of concern that sanctions are a blunter weapon than might appear from much media coverage and political discussion.
Ed Webb

BBC News - Blizzard cuts off Iranian access to World of Warcraft - 0 views

  • "This week, Blizzard tightened up its procedures to ensure compliance with these laws, and players connecting from the affected nations are restricted from access to Blizzard games and services," read the statement.

    Unfortunately, said Blizzard, the same sanctions meant it could not give refunds to players in Iran or help them move their account elsewhere.

    "We apologise for any inconvenience this causes and will happily lift these restrictions as soon as US law allows," it added.

    Although the block on Wow has been imposed by Blizzard, other reports suggest a wider government ban might have been imposed.

    Players of Wow and other games, including Guild Wars, said when they had tried to log in they had been redirected to a page saying the connection had been blocked because the games promoted "superstition and mythology".

    Blizzard said it had no information about Iranian government action against online games.

Ed Webb

U.S. Boosts Trade to Iran, Despite Sanctions - The Source - WSJ - 1 views

  • European companies realize they suffer more from recent Iran restrictions than their U.S. counterparts–and that such advantage may stem in part from better corporate access to decision-makers in Washington than in Brussels.
  • U.S. companies benefit from well established channels in Washington to plead for sanctions exemptions, while their European peers, “don’t have the same mechanism to lobby the EU bureaucracy.”
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    One example of how domestic politics drive the implementation of foreign policy.
Ed Webb

The United States and "atrocity prevention" | openDemocracy - 0 views

  • US military will incorporate counter-atrocity planning into its operating procedures
  • a presidential study directive (number 10 ) issued in 2011 that aimed to bridge the gap between national interest and altruistic intervention. It claimed that "preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest" as well as "a core moral responsibility of the United States. Our security is affected when masses of civilians are slaughtered, refugees flow across borders, and murderers wreak havoc on regional stability and livelihoods. America's reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained, when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide."
  • genocide campaigners should beware functioning as the administration’s cheerleaders. Even if atrocity-prevention is a national interest, that hardly means it will trump other national interests - strategic and commercial, for example.The fate of the "ethical dimension" of New Labour’s foreign policy is a warning: it remained just a dimension, and an increasingly subordinate one at that.
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  • It is one thing to sanction your enemies in the name of fine ideals, but if you don’t mobilise the United Nations to do the same against your allies, these ideals are tarnished
  • Israel’s leaders, the pro-Israel lobby in the US, and some "genocide scholars" are already framing their proposed attack as "genocide prevention". Yet the last thing genocide prevention needs is to be linked to aggressive war, which will severely discredit the whole idea.
  • The Atrocities Prevention Board, to live up to its name, cannot ignore the way that US military policies daily produce atrocities. Genocide campaigners need to be alive to these dangers, and campaign against US policy when it too causes violence against civilians. The potential of the Obama administration’s latest moves to prevent some atrocities should be noted, but there must be sustained vigilance lest they end up being mobilised to produce other atrocities.
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