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Iran: Cornered, armed and dangerous

Ahmadinejad: Cowboy of the Mid-East
Iran turns to barter for food as sanctions cripple imports Iran ready for talks but asserts nuclear path will continue Iran threatens to hit any country used to attack its soil Ahmadinejad nukes Western threats, puts fuel rods in reactor With nuclear bluster, Iran edges closer to a confrontation

Terror map: Bangkok, Georgia, New Delhi
Iranian bomber maimed in blasts in Thai capital Thailand confirms Iranians planned to attack Israeli diplomats Delhi car blast: No leads, so everyone under scanner

Israel: Waiting to strike
How Israel is hustling the US and rushing to strike Iran Israel says Bangkok bomb is Iran terror attempt Israel point fingers at Iran for attacks in India, Georgia Israel may not strike back too hard: analysts

US: A tight rope walk
US, Europe look at fast but risky penalty on Iran Dwindling time, rising tension make Iran top fear Ready with all options on Iran: Obama

India: And the subcontinent
After Pakistan, is Iran ‘exporting’ terror to India? India: A friend of two enemies It’s in India’s interest to crack Israeli embassy car bomb case If we’ve to choose between Israel and Iran, choose the former Ahmadinejad to visit China next month: Report Pain at the pump: Oil prices spike after Iran’s sabre-rattling

Ahmadinejad: Cowboy of the Mid-East

Valerie Parent and Parisa Hafezi.Iran turns to barter for food as sanctions cripple imports Difficulty in making paying for urgent import needs has contributed to sharp rises in the prices of basic foodstuffs. Feb 9. with inputs from Reuters. 2012 . causing hardship for Iranians.

cooking oil. Deals revealed on Thursday appear to be among the first in which Iran has had to result to offering cashless barter to avoid sanctions. Iran has been trading oil in currencies like Japanese yen. Reuters surveys of commodities traders around the globe show that since the start of the year. Difficulty paying for urgent import needs has contributed to sharp rises in the prices of basic foodstuffs. The United States and Europe say the sanctions are needed to push Iran to the negotiating table before it produces enough nuclear material to build an atomic bomb. The Iranian government successfully put that uprising down by force. commodities traders said on Thursday. South Korean won and Indian rupees. Iran’s arch foe. refusing to unload until payment can be received for cargo. Reformists are barely represented in next . while also saying that their people are willing to endure any hardship in support of the country’s sovereign right to nuclear technology. Iranian officials deny that sanctions are having a serious economic impact.aris/Tehran: Iran is turning to barter — offering gold bullion in overseas vaults or tankerloads of oil — in return for food as new financial sanctions have hurt its ability to import basic staples for its 74 million people. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.” Another trader said: “As the shipments of grain are so large. barter or gold payments are the quickest option. Iranian grain importers have in the past sidestepped sanctions by booking business through the United Arab Emirates. With Iran’s rial currency tumbling. “Some of the major trading houses are involved. when Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election against a reformist opponent triggered eight months of violent street demonstrations. the prices of rice. a sign of new urgency as it seeks to buy food and get around the financial restrictions. but since then the “Arab Spring” has revealed the vulnerability of authoritarian states in the region to popular anger fuelled by economic hardship. causing hardship for Iranians with just weeks to go before an election seen as a referendum on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s economic policies. traders said. bread and meat in Iranian bazaars have doubled or more in dollar terms in recent months. New sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union to punish Iran for its nuclear programme do not bar firms from selling Iran food but they make it difficult to carry out the international financial transactions needed to pay for it. but such deals make it difficult to repatriate profits. openly say time is running out for air strikes to destroy the nuclear programme if sanctions do not persuade Tehran to back down.” Details of how the barter deals work are still unclear as the payments problem is so new. and traders did not disclose the exact size of such deals. Grain ships have been held at its ports. Last month it began nuclear enrichment at a new facility deep under a mountain to make it secure from military strikes. Pivotal time The economic hardship is being felt in Iran at a pivotal time in its domestic politics and its nuclear diplomacy with the West. but this option was cut off by the UAE government in response to sanctions. speaking on condition of anonymity while discussing commercial deals. Iran’s parliamentary election on 2 March will be its first vote since a presidential vote in 2009.” one Euro- P pean grains trader said. Iran has had trouble securing imports of basic staples like rice. animal feed and tea. “Grain deals are being paid for in gold bullion and barter deals are being offered. Officials in Israel.

” said the owner on Thursday. shipments of palm oil from both the top suppliers. Iran at this moment. . a staple ingredient for products from margarine to sweets. A margarine factory owner in Tehran said on Wednesday he expected to halt production within months because of a shortage of raw materials. “The objective of current and likely sanctions is very simple: to raise the cost of having anything to do with the purchase or shipping of Iranian petroleum to such an extent that even such potential partners who are formally beyond the legal jurisdiction of the United States or its allies will nonetheless shun doing business with Tehran. “Like all the international companies. which bought a fifth of Iran’s oil exports last year. a U. their measures can raise the cost of doing business so much that it is no longer profitable for traders. The vote will be hotly contested between Ahmadinejad’s supporters and conservative opponents who blame him for economic disarray. “All my ingredients come from abroad. It was announced on Mousavi’s website.S.” Paul Conway. think-tank. China. We don’t want to go anywhere near In public. chairman of US agribusiness giant Cargill told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. have been halted to Iran because traders fear they cannot get paid. A trading source from Saudi Arabia whose firm runs a 16.” While the United States and Europe lack the authority without the United Nations to ban dealings by other countries with Iran.” said J. with the Atlantic Council. opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi’s website Kaleme reported on Wednesday. The two countries account for 90 percent of global supply of the oil. Either the prices suddenly doubled or they stopped being shipped. we do business there. “I can confirm that Singaporean firms have stopped. Kaleme. the candidates who opposed Ahmadinejad in 2009.month’s election. but you have to be very careful. Reformists are planning a rally next week. has cut its imports this year in half. seeking a steeper discount which will hurt Iran’s revenues. Children of Iranian opposition leaders called on the international community to help their voices reach the rest of the world. According to commodities traders in Asia. We are doomed. which could be a rare test of whether the soaring food prices are increasing anger on the streets. it is too risky. Indonesia and Malaysia.” said a trader with a listed Singaporean firm that ships Indonesian palm oil cargoes to the Middle East and Iran. having been barred from standing or declaring boycotts. Peter Pham. “Doomed” The effect of Iran’s difficulty processing payments on often opaque international commodities markets can be felt directly on the streets in the form of higher prices and shortages. “We are going bankrupt and probably will be closed within weeks. companies and countries say they will still trade with Iran as long as it remains legal to do so. The impact could be felt in a Tehran pastry shop. The 14 February rally would mark a year of house arrest for Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.000-tonne-a-year plant that refines food oil in Iran said the sector was barely operating.

” .Rahul Khullar. Under a new system. trade secretary of India. Indian firms are expected to pay for 45 percent of their Iranian oil imports in Indian rupees to avoid going through international banks. “Having said that. Traders revealed this week that Iranian buyers had defaulted on payments for Indian rice. driving those fearful of the reach of sanctions to decide not to go through with transactions while giving Iran’s remaining partners – one thinks. Azam Monem. “The mere taint would also have a net negative effect on Iran. a food wholesaler in Tehran.” the Atlantic Council’s Pham said. the sharp rise in price means that there is a problem with its import. Indian tea exports to Iran fell by a third last year.” International shipping firms are cutting back business with Iran. Reza Hosseini. Since Iran is a big importer of tea. said: “The price per regular package of tea has doubled…. the world’s largest tea producer. “I sense that many international shipping companies are challenged beyond what they find can be justified when looking at the potential earnings of trading with Iran. Last year the United States blacklisted major Iranian port operator Tidewater Middle East Co. a maritime security officer with BIMCO. the privately run National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) with a fleet of 40 tankers. of Chinese firms – the leverage to drive the price they pay down. Khullar said there were also payment problems in tea. Iran faces a bigger challenge if US lawmakers pass sanctions on its main tanker group. director at McLeod Russel India.” said Jakob Larsen. although he did not give details. German container shipping group Hapag-Lloyd said on Thursday it no longer offered limited services to Iran. It had already ended consignments last year to Tidewater-run ports. Implementing the system has been stalled while Indian authorities work out whether to subject such payments to tax. said exporters were waiting for a system to be set up so that Iranian buyers can pay in rupees. I think there are still some who are able to carry on their business in a way that does not breach sanctions and yet ensures a decent return on investment. Iran’s only container port connected to the world’s big shipping lines. for example. India shut down a payments system for trade with Iran last year. one of Iran’s main trade partners.” Danish shipping company AP Moller-Maersk told Reuters this week it had suspended new oil tanker deals with Iran due to the EU measures. said: “If the EU and the US both want to stop exports to that country. “The measure … would amount to de facto oil and shipping embargos. the world’s largest private shipowners’ association. please tell me why I should follow suit? Why shouldn’t I take up that business opportunity?” Under US pressure. or on the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company. which operates seven terminals in Iran including Bandar Abbas.

Iran ready for talks
nuclear path will continue

but asserts

However, Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam television said the govet had handed a letter to EU foreign policy chief expressing readiness to “hold new talks over its nuclear programme in a constructive way”.
Reuters, Feb 16, 2012

ran proclaimed advances in nuclear know-how, including new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster, a move that may heighten its confrontation with the West over suspicions it is seeking the means to make atomic bombs. Tehran’s determination to pursue a nuclear programme showed no sign of wavering despite Western sanctions that are inflicting increasing damage on its oil-based economy. “The era of bullying nations has passed. The arrogant powers cannot monopolise nuclear technology. They tried to prevent us by issuing sanctions and resolutions but failed,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a television broadcast on Wednesday. “Our nuclear path will continue.” But Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam television said the government had handed a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressing readiness to “hold new talks over its nuclear programme in a constructive way”. An Ashton spokeswoman confirmed receipt of the letter, saying she was evaluating it and would consult the United States, Russia, China and other partners among the big powers. Iran has long refused to negotiate curbs on its nuclear programme, saying it is intended purely for civilian uses, including producing electricity for booming domestic demand. The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail. Washington played down Iran’s announcement, saying the advances were neither new nor very impressive. “We frankly don’t see a lot new here. This is not big news. In fact it seems to have been hyped,” a State Department spokeswoman said. IRAN DENIES BANNING OIL EXPORTS TO EU Iran’s Oil Ministry denied a state media report that it had cut off oil exports to six EU states.

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“We deny this report … If such a decision is made, it will be announced by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council,” a ministry spokesman said. Iran’s English language Press TV had said Tehran had halted oil deliveries to France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Netherlands and Spain — its biggest EU customers — in retaliation for an EU ban on Iranian crude due to take effect in July. The Islamic Republic is the world’s No. 5 oil exporter, with 2.6 million barrels going abroad daily, about a fifth of it to EU countries. Western sanctions are spreading to block Iran’s oil exports and central bank financing of trade, and Tehran has resorted to barter to import staples like rice, cooking oil and tea, commodities traders say. The Obama administration is putting pressure on the European Union and SWIFT, the global organisation that facilitates most of the world’s cross-border payments, to expel Iranian banks from its network, a new step in the push to deprive Iran of funds, a U.S. official said on Wednesday. Expelling Iranian banks from the Belgiumbased Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication would cut off one of Iran’s few remaining avenues to do business abroad. European banking regulators may meet SWIFT’s board on Thursday to discuss the issue, two sources familiar with the matter said. SWIFT has said previously it is working to resolve the issue but is just a messaging system for its 10,000 users. The most recent talks between world powers and Iran failed in January 2011 because of Tehran’s unwillingness to discuss transparent limits on enrichment, as demanded by several U.N. Security Council resolutions passed since 2006. The nuclear achievements proclaimed by Tehran involved a new line of uranium enrichment centrifuges and the loading of its first domestically produced batch of fuel into a research

reactor that is expected to run out of imported stocks soon. Tehran has for some years been developing and testing new generations of centrifuges to replace its outdated, erratic “P-1″ model. In January it said it had successfully manufactured and tested its own fuel rods for use in nuclear power plants. “FOURTH GENERATION” CENTRIFUGE Ahmadinejad said the “fourth generation” of centrifuge would be able to refine uranium three times as fast as previously. If Iran succeeded in introducing modern centrifuges for production, it could significantly shorten the time needed to stockpile enriched uranium, which can generate electricity or, if refined much more, produce nuclear explosions. Last year, Iran installed two newer models for large scale testing at a research site near the central town of Natanz. But it remains unclear whether Tehran, under increasingly strict trade sanctions, has the means and components to make the more sophisticated machines in industrial quantity. “We have seen this before. We have seen these announcements and these grand unveilings and it turns out that there was less there than meets the eye. I suspect this is the same case,” said Shannon Kile at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). However, Ahmadinejad said Iran had increased the number of centrifuges at its main enrichment site at Natanz to 9,000. In its last report on Iran, in November, the UN nuclear watchdog said there were 8,000 installed centrifuges at Natanz, of which up to 6,200 were operating. France said Tehran’s latest moves again demonstrated that it would rather ignore international obligations than cooperate.

to engage meaningfully on the international community’s well-founded concerns about its nuclear programme. Until it does so we’ll only increase peaceful and legitimate pressure on Iran to return to negotiations.” Russia said global powers must work harder to coax concessions from Iran, warning that Tehran’s willingness to compromise was waning as it makes progress toward the potential capability of building nuclear warheads. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said U.N. sanctions and additional measures introduced by Western nations had had “zero” effect on Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran has threatened retaliation for any attack or effective ban on its oil exports, suggesting it could seal off the main Gulf export shipping channel, the Strait of Hormuz, used by a third of the world’s crude oil tankers. NEW FUEL FOR RESEARCH REACTOR State television aired live footage of Ahmadinejad loading Iranian-made fuel rods into the Tehran Research Reactor and called this “a sign of Iranian scientists’ achievements”. The Tehran reactor produces radio isotopes for medical use and agriculture. Iran says it was forced to manufacture its own fuel for the reactor after failing to agree terms for a deal to obtain it from the West. In 2010, Iran alarmed the West by starting to enrich uranium to a fissile purity of 20 percent, saying this was for reprocessing into special fuel for the Tehran reactor. A 3.5 percent level is enough to power nuclear power plants, and the move to 20 percent purity brought Iran significantly closer to the 90 percent needed for a nuclear warhead. Analysts remained doubtful that Iran would be able to operate the research reactor with its own special fuel.

“As usual, the announcement surely is exaggerA British Foreign Office spokesman said: “(This) ated. Producing the fuel plates … is not so hard. does not give any confidence that Iran is ready But the plates have to be tested for a consider-

” said Mark Fitzpatrick of London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies.S.” Spent fuel can be reprocessed into plutonium. but could be a way of telling its enemies that time is running out for a negotiated solution to the dispute. which has accumulated enough material for several bombs. “If Iran is really running the reactor with untested fuel plates.able period before they can be used safely in the reactor. It will be unsafe. the alternative key ingredient in atomic bombs. Iran appears to have overcome one serious recent obstacle to nuclear development by succeeding in neutralizing and purging the “Stuxnet” computer virus from its nuclear machinery. But Western worries about Iran’s nuclear programme have focused on its enrichment programme. Analysts say the fuel rod development does not bring Iran any closer to producing nuclear weapons. then my advice to the residents surrounding the building would be to move somewhere else. Many believe Israeli operators planted the virus. European and U. officials and private experts told Reuters. in the view of nuclear proliferation experts. .

Feb 6. expanding Tehran’s range of threats in an increasingly volatile stand-off with world powers over its nuclear ambitions. 2012 . Reuters. the deputy Revolutionary Guards commander said.Iran threatens to hit any country used to attack its soil Iran will target any country used as a launchpad for attacks against its soil.

situated on the other side of the vital oil exporting waterway from Iran. its oil minister asserted on Saturday it would make no nuclear retreat even if its crude oil exports ground to a halt. two of its neighbours – Qatar and Turkey — urged the West on Sunday to make greater efforts to negotiate a solution to the nuclear row. in his position as top military planner. threatening to target Israel and U. and refusal to negotiate peaceful guarantees for the programme or open up to UN nuclear inspectors. raising fears for Gulf oil supplies. The Gulf states that host US military facilities are Qatar. “If there is strong political will and mutual confidence being established. The problem is mutual confidence and strong political will. along with closing the Strait of Hormuz used by one third of the world’s seaborne oil traffic. his office said on Sunday. every- . told the semi-official Fars news agency on Sunday. Betraying nervousness about possible blowback from any military strike on Iran. and Israeli political sources said he is likely to meet US President Barack Obama while there. But its recent shift of uranium enrichment to a mountain bunker possibly impervious to conventional bombing. Iran says its nuclear programme is for civilian energy purposes. The six. Speaking at the annual Munich Security Conference attended by top world policymakers.S.” He added: “A military option will create a disaster in our region. Iran’s Salami did not identify which countries he meant as possible hosts for military action against it. So before that disaster. this issue could be resolved in a few days. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to visit Washington next T month. The United States and Israel. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said an attack would be a “disaster” and the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme could be ended very rapidly. in any regional conflict. have said they would not allow their territories to be used for attacks on the Islamic Republic. have not ruled out a military strike on Tehran if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear stalemate.” Hossein Salami.” he said. Iran’s supreme clerical leader threatened reprisals for the West’s new ban on Iranian oil exports and the US defence secretary was quoted as saying Israel was likely to bomb Iran within months to stop it assembling nuclear weapons. including Iran. the deputy Revolutionary Guards commander said. Iran’s arch-enemies. “The technical disputes are not so big. On Sunday Israel appointed a new air force chief who last month. The Guards began two days of military manoeuvres in southern Iran on Saturday in another show of force for Iran’s adversaries associated with tensions over its disputed nuclear programme. US-allied Arab states in the Gulf Cooperation Council.ehran: Iran will target any country used as a launchpad for attacks against its soil. Although broadened and sharpened financial sanctions have begun to inflict serious economic pain in Iran. warned publicly that Israel could not deal a knock-out blow to its enemies. deputy head of the elite Revolutionary Guards. bases in the Gulf. arguing they should have the right to defend themselves. Last week. THREAT TO SHUT VITAL OIL CHANNEL Iran has warned its response to any such strike will be “painful”. “Any spot used by the enemy for hostile operations against Iran will be subjected to retaliatory aggression by our armed forces. Washington might pressure the host nations to permit those bases to hit back. have thickened an atmosphere of brewing confrontation. But analysts say that if Iran retaliated for an attack launched from outside the region by targeting US facilities in Gulf Arab states. expanding Tehran’s range of threats in an increasingly volatile stand-off with world powers over its nuclear ambitions. Bahrain and Kuwait.

Qatari Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Mohamed al-Attiyah said an attack “is not a solution.body must be serious in negotiations. 1 exporter Saudi Arabia. This is what we feel in our region. and tightening the embargo on Iran will make the scenario worse. throttling the supply of Gulf crude and gas. “I believe that with our allies and friends in the West we should open a serious dialogue with the Iranians to get out of this dilemma. would send oil prices soaring.” Tehran has warned several times it may seal off the Strait of Hormuz. A military strike on Iran and Iran’s response. which could seriously harm the global economy . We hope soon both sides will meet again but this time there will be a complete result. if attacked or if sanctions mean it cannot export its oil.” Turkey was the venue of the last talks between Western powers and Iran a year ago which ended in stalemate because participants could not even agree on an agenda. which might include an attack on the oilfields of No.

cannot monopolise them and deprive other countries.Ahmadinejad nukes Western threats. “The Western countries can no more stop us. “The Western countries are arrogant powers of the world. yet they say they are against bombs. The president said that science and knowledge are heritage of mankind and US and co. . But that time is over now. because they don’t want Iran to progress.000 nuclear centrifuges. Ahmadinejad reiterated that his country’s atomic programme stands on the principle of peace and not annihilation. FP Staff Feb 15. you will want us to sit on the table and sign whatever you give. President Ahmadinejad accused the Western powers of killing Iran’s scientists and ‘bullying’ them for all these years. Ahmadinejad said that Iran will proceed with the nuclear project and it will not be affected by any propaganda.” Ahmadinejad said. I He said the US is killing their scientists. puts fuel rods in reactor Addressing the world through a televised speech.” he said. The president made it clear that Iran is not building bombs and nuclear power does not necessarily means war. Commenting on the global hypocrisy. “Right now how many countries around us with bombs? They have 10. Addressing the world through a televised speech.” Ahmadinejad said. adding that Iranian nuke technology will suffice the country’s energy and medical needs. they have looted all of us. “Anywhere people hear the world ‘nuclear’ they think of bomb. “You (Western powers) will not talk.” He said Iran has finally learned the hard way. 2012 ranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led his country today in a daring show of nuclear strength to the West by loading domestically made nuclear fuel rods into the Tehran research reactor. Ahmadinejad reiterated that his country’s atomic programme stands on the principle of peace and not annihilation. It is not so. and the country has 9.” the president said. We have shown what we can do.000 bombs. Iran’s capacity to increase nuclear fuel production has enhanced by 50 percent. US is not at all powerful. the president said. All our enemies are too weak.

a confrontation Tehran’s resolve to pursue a nuclear program showed no sign of wavering despite Western sanctions inflicting increasing damage on its oil-based economy. Iran edges closer to . Feb 16. Reuters. 2012 With nuclear bluster.

erratic “P-1″ model. Washington however played down Iran’s latest announcement. They tried to prevent us by issuing sanctions and resolutions but failed. In January it said it had successfully manufactured and tested its own fuel rods for use in nuclear power plants.” However.” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a live television broadcast. Tehran has been resorting to barter to import staples like rice. Ahmadinejad said the “fourth generation” of centrifuge would be able to refine uranium three times as fast as previously. This is not big news. and the EU consumes around a fifth of those volumes. as demanded by several would consult with the United States. Tehran has for some years been developing and testing new generations of centrifuges to replace its outdated. In fact it seems to have been hyped.ehran: Iran proclaimed advances in nuclear know-how on Wednesday. The most recent talks between world powers and Iran failed in January 2011 because of An Ashton spokeswoman confirmed receipt Tehran’s unwillingness to discuss transparent of the letter. saying its reported advances were “not terribly new and not terribly impressive. Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam television said the government had handed a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressing readiness to “hold new talks over its nuclear program in a constructive way.N. cooking oil and tea. IRAN DENIES BANNING OIL EXPORTS TO EU NEW GENERATION OF CENTRIFUGE The nuclear achievements proclaimed by Tehran involved a new line of uranium enrichment centrifuge and the loading of its first domestically produced batch of fuel into a research reactor that is expected to soon run out of imported stocks. 2006. 5 oil exporter.” a State Department spokeswoman said. . U. With Western sanctions now spreading to block Iran’s oil exports and central bank financing of trade. Greece. Tehran’s resolve to pursue a nuclear program showed no sign of wavering despite Western sanctions inflicting increasing damage on its oilbased economy. with 2.” a spokesman for the ministry told Reuters. The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail. commodities traders say. Portugal. saying she was evaluating it and limits on enrichment. including new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster. “The era of bullying nations has passed. “We deny this report … If such a decision is made. “Our nuclear path will continue.” “We frankly don’t see a lot new here. The Islamic Republic is the world’s No. Security Council resolutions passed since China and other partners among the big powers. Russia. Italy. Netherlands and Spain — its biggest EU customers — in retaliation for an EU ban on Iranian crude due to take effect in July.” T Iran’s Oil Ministry denied a state media report that it had cut off oil exports to six European Union states. Iran’s English language Press TV said Tehran had halted oil deliveries to France.6 million barrels going abroad daily. it will be announced by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. a move that may hasten a drift towards confrontation with the West over suspicions it is seeking the means to make atomic bombs. The arrogant powers cannot monopolize nuclear technology. Iran has long refused to negotiate curbs on its nuclear program. saying it is intended to produce electricity for booming domestic demand and for other civilian uses.

In boosting enrichment up from the 3. Last year. In 2010. it could significantly shorten the time needed to stockpile enriched uranium. MAJOR THREAT. A British Foreign Office spokesman said: “(This) does not give any confidence that Iran is ready to engage meaningfully on the international community’s well-founded concerns about its nuclear program. if refined much more.5 percent level suitable for powering civilian nuclear plants. Iran says it was forced to manufacture its own fuel for the Tehran reactor after failing to agree terms for a deal to obtain it from the West. used by a third of the world’s crude oil tankers.” Russia said global powers must work harder to coax concessions from Iran. the Strait of Hormuz.” The Tehran reactor produces radio isotopes for medical use and agriculture. saying there were now 9. . has the means and components to make the more sophisticated machines in industrial quantity. suggesting it could seal off the main Gulf export shipping channel. “We have seen this before.If Iran eventually succeeded in introducing modern centrifuges for production. I suspect this is the same case. warning that Tehran’s willingness to compromise was waning as it makes progress toward the potential capability of building nuclear warheads. Analysts remained doubtful that Iran would be able to operate the research reactor with its own special fuel. Iran moved significantly closer to the 90 percent threshold suitable for the fissile core of a nuclear warhead. Making a case for a renewed dialogue. Iran installed two newer models for large scale testing at a research site near the central town of Natanz. nuclear watchdog said there were 8. Iran has threatened retaliation for any attack or effective ban on its oil exports. Ahmadinejad said Iran had significantly increased the number of centrifuges at its main enrichment site at Natanz. In its last report on Iran.N.000 such machines installed there. under increasingly strict trade sanctions.” said Shannon Kile at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).N. But it remains unclear whether Tehran.000 installed centrifuges at Natanz. in November. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said U. which can generate electricity or. Iran alarmed the West by starting to enrich uranium to a fissile purity of 20 percent for the stated purpose of reprocessing into special fuel for the Tehran reactor. Until it does so we’ll only increase peaceful and legitimate pressure on Iran to return to negotiations. the U. We have seen these announcements and these grand unveilings and it turns out that there was less there than meets the eye. nuclear explosions. NEW FUEL FOR RESEARCH REACTOR State television aired live footage of Ahmadinejad loading Iranian-made fuel rods into the Tehran Research Reactor and called this “a sign of Iranian scientists’ achievements. FRANCE SAYS France said Tehran’s latest moves again demonstrated that it would rather ignore international obligations than cooperate.200 were operating. sanctions and additional measures introduced by Western nations had had “zero” effect on its nuclear program. of which up to 6. However.

Producing the fuel plates … is not so hard.S. But the plates have to be tested for a considerable period before they can be used safely in the reactor. But Western worries about Iran’s nuclear program have focused on its enrichment program. the alternative key ingredient in atomic bombs. officials and private experts told Reuters. Analysts say the fuel rod development itself will not put Iran any closer to producing nuclear weapons.“As usual. European and U. Many believe Israeli operators planted the virus. the announcement surely is exaggerated. It will be unsafe.” Spent fuel can be reprocessed into plutonium.” said Mark Fitzpatrick of London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies. but could be a way of telling Tehran’s adversaries that time is running out if they want to find a negotiated solution to the dispute. Iran appears to have overcome one serious recent obstacle to nuclear development by succeeding in neutralizing and purging the “Stuxnet” computer virus from its nuclear machinery. “If Iran is really running the reactor with untested fuel plates. then my advice to the residents surrounding the building would be to move somewhere else. in the view of nuclear proliferation experts. . which has accumulated enough material for up to several bombs.

Georgia. New Delhi .Terror map: Bangkok.

Reuters.Iranian bomber maimed in blasts in Thai capital An Iranian man was seriously wounded in Bangkok on Tuesday when a bomb he was carrying exploded and blew one of his legs off in an incident Israel said was an attempted terrorist attack by Iran. 2012 . Feb 15.

and endangering the stability of the world. who spent a few hours in Bangkok on Sunday. It is thought that the suspect might be storing more explosives inside his house. “The Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected Israeli claims that Iran was involved in the Bangkok bombing and added that efforts by the Zionist regime to harm friendly and historic relations between Iran and Thailand will bear no fruit. Hezbollah is a Shi’ite group backed by Syria and Iran that is on the U. Thai police and officials said. subsequently lifted. one of two men they were looking for who had been living at the house where the initial blast took place. Police said they had detained another supsect at Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi airport.angkok: An Iranian man was seriously wounded in Bangkok on Tuesday when a bomb he was carrying exploded and blew one of his legs off in an incident Israel said was an attempted terrorist attack by Iran. but Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak blamed Iran. Soon after that. Government spokeswoman Thitima said police had then tried to move in and arrest the man but he attempted to throw another bomb at them.” government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng told reporters. in addition to the taxi driver. of possible terrorist attacks in areas frequented by foreigners.” the semi-official Fars news agency reported. there had been an explosion in a house the man was renting in the Ekamai area of central Bangkok. Israel accused Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind those attacks. had links to Hezbollah. Iran denied involvement. blacklist of foreign terrorist organisations. Another doctor was quoted on TV as saying three Thai people had suffered minor injuries.” said B Barak. It’s an Iranian passport and he entered the country through Phuket and arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport on the 8th of this month. Israel and other countries issued warnings. The driver was wounded slightly.” Barak said on a visit to Singapore. “Iran and Hezbollah are unrelenting terror elements endangering the stability of the region. Police declined to make any link between Tuesday’s incident and the arrest last month of a Lebanese man in Bangkok who. according to the Thai authorities. “The police have control of the situation. Shortly beforehand. The three explosions in Bangkok came a day after bomb attacks targeted Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia. The United States. The police discovered a large amount of explosive material in an area southwest of Bangkok at around the time of that arrest. “We discovered the injured man’s passport. blowing one of his legs off. It went off before he was able to do so. A doctor at Chulalongkorn Hospital told reporters the other leg had to be amputated. . The Lebanese man has been charged with possession of explosive material and prosecutors said further charges could follow next week. A taxi driver told Thai television the wounded suspect had thrown a bomb in front of his car when he refused to pick him up near the site of the first blast. Iran strongly denied any involvement in the Thai incident. Tuesday’s blasts were not near Israel’s embassy nor the main area for embassies.” Police General Bansiri Prapapat told Reuters. “The attempted terrorist attack in Bangkok proves once again that Iran and its proxies continue to perpetrate terror. Thai officials declined to say whether the two men they had detained were involved with any militant group. there was a third blast on a nearby road. TAXI A TARGET Thai police said they were working to make safe an unspecified amount of explosives found in the house where the initial blast took place.S.

AP. Feb 16. 2012 .attack Israeli diplomats Iranians planned to Thailand confirms Thailand’s police chief also confirmed that the type of explosive — a homemade “sticky” bomb — found at the blast site matched the devices planted on Israeli diplomatic cars in India and Georgia.

while security forces were searching for an Iranian woman they said had originally rented it.” he said. Watch Video .angkok: Thailand’s police chief said the Iranians who were arrested after accidentally setting off explosives at their rented home in Bangkok were plotting to attack Israeli diplomats. confirming that an investigation into a magnetic strip found in Bangkok was the same type used in New Delhi. The type that was attached to vehicles. He also confirmed that the type of explosive — a homemade “sticky” bomb — found at the blast site Tuesday matched the devices planted on Israeli diplomatic cars in India and Georgia a day earlier. Two of the men were detained in Bangkok on Tuesday after fleeing the destroyed house. “The type of improvised explosives they used were the same.” police chief Gen Prewpan Dhamapong told a Thai television station late Wednesday. Bomb disposal teams combed the Iranians’ house again Wednesday looking for more evidence. while Iran’s Foreign B Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast called the allegations baseless and said Israel was trying to damage his country’s relations with Thailand and fuel conspiracy theories. Thailand’s government says it is still trying to piece together what happened when a group of three Iranian men accidentally detonated explosives at a home they had rented in Bangkok’s busy Sukhumvit Road area a day earlier. Israel has accused Iran of waging a campaign of state terror and has threatened military strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran has blamed the Jewish state for the recent killings of Iranian atomic scientists and has denied responsibility for all three plots this week. bolstering claims by Israel that the group was part of an Iranian-backed network of terror. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the violence. “I can tell you that the target was specific and aimed at Israeli diplomatic staff. while a third was arrested Wednesday in neighboring Malaysia after boarding a flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur overnight.

2012 . Feb 16. the possible role of nationals of middle-eastern countries is being investigated.Delhi car blast: everyone under scanner No leads. so With Israel pointing the finger at Iran. FP Staff.

“I was waiting at the Race Course signal when I heard a thud at the rear end of the car. T The presence of potassium chlorate and nitrate in the bomb as reported in a preliminary forensic report. The Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) has been asked by the police to provide details of visitors from Jordan and Iran. and according to news reports. but there was no bike.” . have said there are similarities between the bombs used in Delhi and Bangkok. including an Israeli diplomat. Iran and Jordan have come under the police scanner. in an interview to the Indian Express. reports the Times of India. continues. suggesting that the bomb could have been made outside the country. the possible role of nationals of middle-eastern countries is being investigated. Meanwhile. as local terror modules reportedly do not have expertise in handling these substances. also points to the bomb’s foreign origin. eight persons have so far been questioned and released in relation to the blast. A massive hunt has also been launched to find the bike that is suspected to have been used in the operation. Students and visitors from Lebanon. Israeli investigators. has said he didn’t see any motorcyclist.he search for the mysterious biker who allegedly planted the ‘sticky bomb’ that blew up an Innova in a high-security zone injuring four. on Monday. who have inspected the blown-up Innova. like somebody pushed it…I did not notice carefully what car was behind me. They had also added that the bomb that was used may have been made locally.” NDTV reported. TOI reports. But the police is also looking at the involvement of local elements and several suspects have been detained in overnight raids. Manoj Sharma. the Innova driver. including agents from the secret service Mossad. “Yesterday. the investigators had said that the motor-cyclist who planted the bomb on the Israeli embassy car may have been of Indian origin. With Israel pointing the finger at Iran.

Israel: Waiting to strike .

Feb 14. Venky Vembu. Peace stands no chance.into talking of war.How Israel is hustling the US and rushing to strike Iran Barack Obama began his presidency by reaching out to Iran.and by Iran’s failure to respond . But he has been dragged by pressure from Israel and neoconservatives . 2012 .

getting US administration officials to echo that sentiment. in their estimation. argues Parsi. was genuine.” Obama’s intention. the United Arab Emirates and Egypt (then under the Hosni Mubarak) referred to Iran on various occasions as “an existential threat”. significantly. with every leader (barring Ron Paul.) Leaders in Saudi Arabia. which he articulated even during his campaign. The irony is that today. Additionally. that Obama perhaps saw the effort to pre-empt Iranian nuclearisation not from the perspective of Israel’s security (which was on top of their minds) but from a global non-proliferation perspective. caused them deep disquiet because it represented a slideback from the belligerent neoconservative narrative of the George W Bush years. an Israel emboldened by all this war talk has been hyping up the prospect of a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities by this spring – and. even Obama has abandoned his peacenik overture towards Iran – and even his efforts to let sanctions do the job. but his vision for diplomacy was undermined by several factors. with the sanctions hurting Iran and with suspected Israeli operatives carrying out targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.. particularly after Barack Obama took office as US President in 2009. the libertarian candidate) sounding off belligerently against Iran whenever they were asked how they would respond as Presidents to the Iranian nuclear crisis also cramped the space for Obama’s diplomatic manoeuvres. it would have “catastrophic consequences” not just for his country or the region. that the war of nerves has been escalated. In other words. It is in that context. beamed around the world. Yet. it was “prematurely abandoned. Obama’s promise. the king urged the US to “cut off the head of the snake” (Read the rollicking WikiLeaks account here. It didn’t also help Obama that in June 2009. which he characterised as the “most dangerous” in West Asia. author of A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran.he bomb attack on the Israeli embassy vehicle in New Delhi on Monday has dragged India squarely into the crossfire of an ongoing war of nerves in West Asia between Israel and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme. Most important of these was pressure from Israel and its Conservative allies in the US Congress. Today. “but for all mankind”. the Iranian administration crackdown on an opposition uprising over electoral malpractice – which gave rise to some of the most horrific images of violence. not by “shoot first. talk later” habits of the neocons. from his first day in office. because fundamentally Israeli leaders did not trust Obama then – and barely trust him now. to adopt a policy of confronting Iran. That confrontation has been brewing for a long time: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had as far back as in 1996 warned that if the Iranian regime. to reach out to Iran’s leaders in the hope of talking them out of acquiring nuclear weapons. The shrill Republic primary debates of recent months. In one memorable conversation between Saudi King Abdullah and US General David Petraeus T in early 2008. that tension was accentuated. and an “evil force” that would drag the region to war. from the spies and spooks in the CIA who had been waging “dirty wars” in Iran – and even from Saudi Arabia and several other Arab allies. including Netanyahu. were to acquire nuclear weapons. his administration has been hustled reluctantly into talking the language of war. In recent weeks. . Obama was under pressure from all around – from Israel. argues that it wasn’t that Obama’s diplomacy failed. from hardline members of the US Congress who favoured confrontation with Iran. in early meetings with Obama— even before he took office—it dawned on Israeli leaders. From all accounts. Obama was driven by a John Lennon-esque pacifist vision for the world. Trita Parsi. On the other hand.

into the thick of the war. Watch Video . which has up until now been standing up to pressure to abide by the sanctions against Iran (out of its own self-interest).Monday’s bomb attack in New Delhi is just one small skirmish in the protracted war. But it has had the effect of dragging India.

the Israeli defense minister. Feb 14. Ehud Barak. 2012 Israel says Bangkok bomb . It’s unclear whether Tuesday’s Bangkok explosions were linked to the New Delhi attack Venky Vembu.is Iran terror attempt After the trio of blasts on Tuesday in Bangkok. has accused Iran of being behind the attack.

but Thai authorities said Thailand appeared to have been a staging ground but not the target of any attack. And Barak’s comments made clear that Israel considers the attacks connected and sponsored by the Iranian government.” Pansiri said. who hurled a grenade to defend himself. “He tried to wave down a taxi. “But somehow it bounced back” and blew off his legs. the Israeli defense minister has accused Iran of being behind the attack. A dark satchel nearby was investigated by a bomb disposal unit. it came a day after Israel blamed Iran for attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia. Authorities say it’s unclear whether Tuesday’s Bangkok explosions were linked to the New Delhi attack. Israel said the Bangkok blast that blew the legs off an Iranian man carrying grenades was an attempted terrorist attack sponsored by Tehran.angkok: After the trio of blasts on Tuesday in Bangkok. a Lebanese-Swedish man with alleged links to pro-Iranian Hezbollah militants was detained by Thai police. He lay in front of a Thai primary and secondary school. Pansiri said.” Thai security forces found more explosives in a house where the Iranian man was staying in Bangkok. but it was not known what targets they might have been meant for. Tuesday’s violence began in the afternoon when a stash of explosives apparently detonated by accident in Moradi’s house. However. but Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. blowing off part of the roof. Pansiri said police found Iranian currency. Pansiri said that “so far.800 pounds (4.” . US dollars and Thai money in the bag. Three Thai men and one Thai woman were brought to Kluaynamthai Hospital for treatment of injuries. “we can’t rule out any possibility. said police commander Winai Thongsong. No students were reported wounded. Pansiri said a passport found at the scene of one of the blasts in Bangkok indicated the assailant was Saeid Moradi from Iran. Police said two foreigners quickly left the residence. Last month. He then threw an explosive at the taxi and began running. and the driver refused to take him. but he was covered in blood. a doctor there. Defense Minister Ehud Barak stopped short of saying the man was trying to target Israelis. said Suwinai Busarakamwong. Authorities were interrogating the man.000 kilograms) of urea fertilizer and several gallons of liquid ammonium nitrate. He led authorities to a warehouse filled with more than 8. but it was not yet known whether he was involved in Tuesday’s blasts. Police who had been called to the area then tried to apprehend Moradi. followed by a wounded Moradi. Another Iranian was detained on Tuesday night at Bangkok’s international airport as he attempted to leave for neighbouring Malaysia. Police Gen Pansiri Prapawat said. Authorities in Tehran could not immediately be reached for comment. Israel and the United States at the time warned their citizens to be alert in the capital. we haven’t found any links between these two cases. Photos of the wounded Iranian showed him B covered in dark soot on a sidewalk strewn with broken glass.

000 kg) of urea fertiliser and several gallons of liquid ammonium nitrate. but Thai authorities said Thailand appeared to have been a staging ground but not the target of any attack. although a domestic Muslim insurgency in the country’s south has involved bombings of civilian targets. Last month. Watch Video . He landed at the southern Thai resort town of Phuket.Immigration police are trying to trace Moradi’s movements. Thailand has rarely been a target for foreign terrorists. Israel and the United States warned their citizens to be alert in the capital. for several nights. but initial reports indicated he flew into Thailand from Seoul. Local media said traffic had been halted while authorities investigated. a couple hours drive southeast of Bangkok. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said there was not yet any sign that any targets in Bangkok were Israeli or Jewish. South Korea on Feb. then stayed in a hotel in Chonburi. a foreign suspect with alleged links to Hezbollah militants led Thai police to a warehouse filled with more than 8. In Jerusalem. 8. Pansiri said.800 pounds (4.

Israel point fingers at Iran for attacks in India. 2012 . Reuters. Feb 14. Georgia Israel has had a standing alert for tourists visiting India since a 2008 attack on a Jewish centre in Mumbai.

Israeli officials said an attempt to bomb an embassy car in the Georgian capital Tbilisi had failed and the device was defused. Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz. Gupta. J “Any terrorist attack is condemned (by Iran) and we strongly reject the untrue comments by an Israeli official. Tehran denied involvement in the strike.” said Gupta. Imad Moughniyeh — an attack blamed on the Jewish state. 2008 assassination in Syria of the military mastermind of Hezbollah. yet patient. Israel had put its foreign missions on high alert ahead of the anniversary of the February 12. She needed surgery to remove shrapnel but her life was not in danger. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to blame both Iran and Hezbollah. whose nuclear program has been beset by sabotage. The Iranian scientist killed in Tehran last month died in a similar such attack. including the unclaimed killings of several Iranian nuclear scientists.” Israeli officials have long made veiled threats to retaliate in Lebanon for any Hezbollah attack on their interests abroad. the powerful Shi’ite Muslim movement in neighboring Lebanon. where two Israeli doctors are treating her. the car blew up and it caught fire. accused Hezbollah of trying to carry out proxy attacks while avoiding direct confrontation. like previous times. Israel named the injured woman as Talya Yehoshua Koren. In a January 24 speech. which had diplomatic plates. Police in the Indian capital New Delhi said a bomb wrecked a car carrying the wife of the Israeli Defence attache as she was going to pick up her children from school. the New Delhi police commissioner. arguing that as the militia sits in the government in Beirut. declined comment. Hezbollah. “She was able to drag herself from the car and is now at the American hospital (in New Delhi).” said a Defence ministry spokesman. most recently in January. “These accusations are untrue and sheer lies.” said Netanyahu. Israel is also believed to be locked in a wider covert war with Iran. wounding four people. As soon as the motorcycle moved away a good distance from the car. Also last month. authorities in Azerbaijan arrested two people suspected of plotting to attack Israel’s ambassador and a local rabbi.” Mehdi Nabizadeh was quoted as saying by IRNA. action against the international terrorism that originates in Iran. Israel’s military chief of staff. its actions reflect national policy. No one has claimed responsibility for this. said an eyewitness had seen a motorcyclist stick a device to the back of the car. Thailand said last month its police had arrested a Lebanese man linked to Hezbollah and he later led them to a warehouse stocked with bomb-making materials. which has amplified tensions between two countries at loggerheads over Iran’s contested nuclear program. “Iran and its proxy Hezbollah are behind each of these attacks. officials said. Three others suffered lesser injuries in the same blast. B. Israel and .K. “The eyewitness … says it (was) some kind of magnetic device. MOTORCYCLE ATTACK The New Delhi blast took place some 500 meters from the official residence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “We will continue to take strong and systematic.” Iran’s ambassador to India denied that his government had anything to do with the attack on the New Delhi embassy.erusalem: Israel accused arch-enemies Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of being behind twin bomb attacks that targeted embassy staff in India and Georgia on Monday. accusing them of responsibility for a string of recent attempted attacks in countries as far apart as Thailand and Azerbaijan.

“I suggest that no one test our resolve.” Gantz said. when our enemies in the north avoid carrying out attacks. “During this period of time.” .Hezbollah fought an inconclusive and costly war in 2006. fearing a harsh response. we are witnesses to the ongoing attempts by Hezbollah and other hostile entities to execute vicious terror attacks at locations far away from the state of Israel.

Feb 14. PTI.Israel may not strike back too hard: analysts Israel is unlikely to respond harshly. as they were low-level hits that do not warrant strong retaliation. analysts here said. 2012 .

Indeed. and. but experts here do not see the attacks leading to tough response for varied reasons. and that is something Iran doesn’t seem to want right now. Israel is unlikely to respond harshly. he added. and despite Nasrallah’s repeated . These analysts feel that the planners of the attacks deliberately chose to inflict modest damage while they were capable of wreaking greater harm. Tal Yehoshua. which according to international media. Hizbullah’s interest in distancing itself from Iran. Monday’s attacks were still limited enough. he noted. government officials presumably knew that revenge attacks were likely and took that possibility into account. two embassy cars neither of which was on mission grounds at the time. as is widely believed. One reason for this is that if.espite some tough rhetoric against Iran and Hizbullah following attacks on Israeli targets in New Delhi and Tblisi. to assassinate an Israeli consul in Turkey. and did not violate the “rules of the game”. at least verbally. The previous attacks. They backed the contention by arguing that Israel has repeatedly warned that a mass-casualty Hizbullah attack on Israeli targets overseas would spark a massive Israeli assault on Lebanon. Tuesday is the seventh anniversary of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination. Israel is behind a recent series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists in Tehran. were both relatively “low-level” targets located at the outer perimeter of the security envelope Israel provides its overseas embassies and consulates. “It could be that Nasrallah already knew of the plans for Monday’s attacks and was trying to portray them as independent Hizbullah initiatives.” an expert said in his opinion piece. some feel that the attacks may be the first in a series of such attacks to follow. most recently. have been thwarted by close cooperation between Israeli intelligence and local security services. concluding that hence a direct Israeli military strike on either Hizbullah or Iran seems unlikely. Nevertheless. the modus operandi of the New Delhi bombing exactly mimicked that used to kill several of the Iranian scientists. included attempts to bomb the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan. said his country “would not overlook” the attacks. stems in part from the organisation’s difficult domestic situation.” he stressed. he inferred. “This may indicate that Hizbollah and Iran are having trouble reaching more “prestigious targets”. 2008. as they were low-level hits that do not warrant strong retaliation. It said though an innocent diplomat’s wife cannot be compared to a scientist directly involved in Iran’s nuclear programme. Netanyahu also referred to some of these at- D tacks yesterday in his reaction. Moreover. Some experts also saw the attacks in the light of surprising comments made last week by Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in a speech in Beirut in which he stressed that his faction doesn’t take orders from Iran. Monday’s targets. to bomb popular tourist sites frequented by Israelis in Thailand. is the first casualty in a long line of failed attacks. an analyst said. analysts here said. an opinion piece in daily Ha’aretz said. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “continue to act forcefully. Avigdor Lieberman. the Israeli diplomat’s wife. while both attacks attest to careful observation and planning and precise execution. systematically and patiently” against ‘Iranian terror’ and his foreign minister. the results were “meager enough that neither Tehran nor Beirut is likely to be rejoicing. The other explanation put forward in this regard in the local media is that while Iran and Hizbullah have been trying to take revenge for Imad Mughniyeh’s assassination ever since it occurred on February 12.

along with much of the international community. many Lebanese. think that Hizbullah was behind that killing. the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.denials. The Syrian opposition no longer bothers to hide its loathing for Hizbullah and Iran. . so a new Syrian government would likely be bad news for the Lebanese organisation. may not survive. Adding to Hizbullah’s domestic woes is the fact that one of its key allies.

US: A tight rope walk .

Europe look at fast but risky penalty on Iran The United States and Europe are weighing unprecedented punishment against Iran that could cripple the country’s financial lifeline but result in higher oil prices for the US and its allies. PTI. Feb 14.US. 2012 .

It lets users exchange financial information securely and reliably. Iran on Wednesday cut oil exports to the Netherlands. In a brief statement posted on its website. and losing access to that flow of international funds could badly damage the Islamic republic’s economy. an independent financial clearinghouse that is crucial to the country’s overseas oil sales. Short of total expulsion. Iran began loading domestically made nuclear fuel rods into its Tehran research reactor. SWIFT said it is committed to fighting misuse of the financial system to finance terrorism and has cooperated with enforcement agencies in the US and Europe.S. It also perhaps would buy time for the US to persuade Israel not to launch a pre-emptive military strike on Iran this spring. But it’s an extreme option in the banking world that would come with its own costs — oil prices could soar. telling them to take up suspected wrongdoing directly with nations or corporations. Its managers generally brush off investigators and enforcement agencies. And in another defiant move. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. the essential but littleknown hub is overseen by major central banks. The Obama administration wants Iran evicted from SWIFT. Talks are focused now on having Europe make the first move. Established in 1973. It would also probably hurt average Iranians more than the welter of existing banking sanctions already in place since prices for household goods would rise while the value of Iranian currency would drop.000 financial institutions and corporations in 210 countries. While the US and Europe debate options. and blocking it from using the respected transfer system would be a black mark like no other. the United States can’t order SWIFT to kick Iran out. Greece and Portugal. The Senate Banking Committee passed a measure earlier this month directing the White House to press SWIFT to block Iranian entities. It operates on trust and neutrality — SWIFT accepts nearly all comers and does not judge the merits of the transactions passing through its secure message system. France.W ashington: The United States and Europe are weighing unprecedented punishment against Iran that could cripple the country’s financial lifeline but result in higher oil prices for the US and its allies. thereby lowering costs and reducing risk. even as many of the world’s economies are still frail. Underscoring the potential costs. . including the U. More than 40 Iranian banks and institutions use SWIFT to process financial transactions. That would leapfrog the current slow-pressure campaign of sanctions aimed at persuading Iran to drop what the US and its allies contend is a drive toward developing and building nuclear weapons. Underscoring that possibility. But it has leverage in that it can punish the Brussels-based organisation’s board of directors. The Obama administration is divided over whether the possible gain is worth the risk in trying to threaten SWIFT into kicking out a member country. in part because of concern that it would set back the global financial recovery. Iran remains a global financial player de- spite years of banking sanctions. Washington and representatives of several European nations are in talks over ways to restrict Iran’s use of the banking consortium to collect oil profits. Italy. SWIFT handles cross-border payments for more than 10. A tougher House bill would compel the administration to sanction SWIFT unless it stopped providing services to Iran. Spain. some American lawmakers are trying to increase pressure on SWIFT. In the financial world. Iran on Wednesday cut oil exports to six European countries.

rising tension make Iran top fear Time is running short for Iran to back down without a fight. 2012 .Dwindling time. Feb 9. AP.

which just approved a first-ever oil embargo.S. Time is running short for Iran to back down without a fight. Time is also running short for either the United States or Israel to mount a preemptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear sites. Iran claims its nuclear program is not aimed at building a bomb. He said Israel has not made a decision about whether to launch its own strike.W ashington: The prospect of conflict with Iran has eclipsed Afghanistan as the key national security issue with a head-spinning speed. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said there is a growing global understanding that military action may be necessary. a UN body. While Obama has until late June to make a final decision on how to implement even stronger financial sanctions. an Iran exert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. blunter words are notable. the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a scathing assessment of the Iranian nuclear program. and for the US represents the last worst option to stop an Iranian bomb. “We are prepared to exercise these options should they arise. a person advising the administration on the penalties said an announcement probably would come well ahead of that deadline. He said that while he believes the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program can still be resolved through diplomacy.” Obama said during an interview with NBC. Diplomacy and economic coercion are the main focus for the US and its allies. The IAEA. For Obama. a key to the regime’s oil profits. With the clock in mind. But the increasingly strong warnings from Obama and other leaders reflect a global consensus that Iran is closer than ever to joining the nuclear club. He has been very cautious. said it had “serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions” of a program Iran claims is not intended to guild a weapon. and the preferred option. “When a country that refers to you as a ‘cancerous tumor’ is inching. It is still unlikely. the threat that the United States might use military force must ring true to Iranian leaders while not sounding alarmist to Americans or jittery oil markets. The new oil-focused sanctions are intended to cut the revenue Iran’s rulers can collect from the country’s oil business without roiling oil markets. The United States has a “very good estimate” of when Iran could produce a weapon. In November. After years of bad blood and an international impasse over Iran’s disputed nuclear program. argue that they finally have Iran’s attention. which is why his recent. Last week. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu frequently draws parallels between modern-day Iran and Nazi Germany on the eve of the Holocaust. calling it disturbing and possibly dangerous. This week came a surprise announcement of new sanctions on Iran’s central bank. Previous rounds of penalties have not changed Iran’s course. and Europe. President Barack Obama said this week. the US has done extensive planning on a range of options. however slowly. something that seemed far-fetched until fairly recently.” said Karim Sadjadpour. Among the factors pushing up a decision: the possibility of a unilateral Israeli strike and the desire to avoid disrupting oil markets in the . the Obama administration is moving much faster than expected to apply the heaviest economic penalties yet on Iran and the oil trade it relies on. why does the threat of war seem so suddenly upon us? The short answer is that Iran has used the years of deadlock over whether it was pursuing a bomb to get within roughly 12 months of being able to build one. Close US ally Israel is driving much of the burst of international attention now focused on the likelihood of an Iranian bomb and what to do about it. it’s understandably difficult to relax and keep quiet. but the U. but it has refused to drop suspect elements of the program. The adviser spoke on condition of anonymity because the White House plan is not final. toward a nuclear weapons capability.

” Administration officials are in discussions with several countries. all main buyers of Iranian crude. White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor would not comment on whether the timetable is being moved up. U. Sri Lanka. Israeli officials who favor a strike do not want to wait for Iran to amass enough material to build a bomb. There is another reason that Israeli warnings are growing louder. He rejected the idea that the administration is under the gun. rather than simply responding to a congressional deadline.” Israel has less time to act than the U. don’t like sanctions but go along because opposing them may increase the likelihood of military action that would spike prices for the oil they buy. they disagree about how much time that leaves for diplomacy or a last-ditch military strike. With Republican presidential candidates questioning Obama’s toughness on Iran. when gasoline prices are usually already higher. “The game is over” when Iran amasses enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon. “If you wait until they screw together a nuclear bomb. the person advising the administration said. a major buyer of Iranian oil.S. including Japan.S. That is not bellicose and that is not new.summer. the White House also has a political interest in appearing to take a proactive approach to enforce the sanctions. beyond the range of Israeli missile and bomb attacks. . U. Matthew Kroenig. South Africa. They have argued there is 18 months or more of flexibility before Iran would pose an immediate nuclear threat.S. Any sanctions the U. if it chose to mount a strike alone. ultimately levies would probably target companies in countries that purchase oil from Iran. agrees that the window for an effective strike by either country is closing. “We said all options on are on the table. a nuclear expert at the Council on Foreign Relations who recently spent a year advising the Pentagon on Iran options. Although Israel and the United States generally agree on the technical questions surrounding an Iranian bomb. Sadjadpour said. and other officials said. Kroenig said. Pakistan and Malaysia. Iran exports about 3 percent of the world’s oil and increasingly has focused on selling to customers in Asia as Western markets have dried up. officials are concerned that the ability to make a bomb is not enough justification for a strike. by Israeli estimates.S. not central banks. to try to get commitments on how much they may be willing to reduce their imports from Iran. “What we’re trying to do is lead Iran to make a choice. After that. China and India. Talks are also under way with Turkey. The threat of military action is also used to strengthen the diplomacy. its leaders assess that a unilateral strike would be most effective before summer. Because Israel has less firepower. South Korea. a debatable moment that could be as little as six months away. Iran may have been able to move too much of its nuclear operation underground. the adviser said. it’s too late.” Vietor said. Countries like China.

we can assure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon is by getting them to understand it’s not in their interest. 2012 Ready with all W ashington: Pointing out that US has “pretty good bead” on Iran’s nuclear programme. And. Obama said the US has good estimate of the progress in Iranian nuclear weapons programme. is ready with all the other options if need be. should the need arise. President Barack Obama today said Washington is ready with all options. did not give details of the military preparations in this regard. however. we are prepared to exercise these options. “I will say this. But. including military. “I think we have a very good estimate of when they could potentially achieve breakout capacity. “My goal is to try to resolve this diplomatically. . Feb 9. Obama said the US. including military. “But we do have a pretty good bead on what’s happening with their nuclear program. against threats coming fromTehran but would prefer to have it resolved diplomatically. “I’m not going to discuss specific military programmes or go into details in terms of what our planning is.” he said.” Obama said.” he said.” Obama told the NBC news in an interview. AP. but aired today. “But do we know all the dynamics inside Iran? Absolutely not. what stage they’re at in terms of processing uranium. Knowing who is making decisions at any given time inside of Iran is tough.options on Iran: Obama Obama today said Washington is ready with all options. “I think one of the difficulties is that Iran itself is a lot more divided now than it was. over the long term. you know. that we have done extensive planning over the last several years about all our various options in the Gulf. In the interview taken yesterday. against threats coming from Tehran but would prefer to have it resolved diplomatically. mainly because the only way.

India: And the subcontinent .

Feb 14. But if there’s one thing missing from Iran’s strategic posturing. it’s the semblance of sanity. is Iran ‘exporting’ terror to India? It seems sheer lunacy to suggest that Iran would use India as a base from which to launch terror attacks on Israel. 2012 .After Pakistan. Venky Vembu.

anti-US tilt. “It seems that these suspicious incidents are designed by the Zionist regime and carried out with the aim of harming Iran’s reputation. it seems counter-intuitive. India will find it “increasingly difficult” to placate both Iran.” The skills of Indian strategists who seek to balance India’s role as a growing global power with its need to guard against the prospect of rising regional instability will be tested in coming months as the international confrontation with Iran intensifies. is bound to intensify the diplomatic heat on India to stop trading with Iran at a time when the US and Israel are tightening the sanctions squeeze on it. would have to seriously factor the costs of oil trade with Iran to its rapidly growing defence partnership with Israel. to project an “anti-American” view and influence Indian foreign policy to acquire a proIran. Iran has been drawing excessive attention to its nuclear program with to its over-the-top rhetoric directed against Israel and the US. even downright lunacy. and the US and Israel.M onday’s bomb attack on an Israeli embassy vehicle in New Delhi. But if there’s one thing missing in Iran’s strategic posturing over its avowed nuclear plans.” India. In effect. it could be harder to defend the possibility that Iran is perhaps ‘exporting’ terror to India. a strong pressure group in the US. for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation. The American Jewish Congress. Unlike Pakistan. Curtis added. which acquired its nuclear assets on the sly by flying beneath the radar of international attention. says Lisa Curtis. like previous times. So. Indian diplomats have in the past fretted that Iran was looking to influence opinion makers in India. After Monday’s bomb blast. diplomatic pressure is already piling on India. recently wrote to India’s ambassador in the US Nirupama Rao expressing “alarm” and “dismay”over india’s move to elevate commercial interests with Iran over “vital security concerns”. India has in recent days come under immense pressure from US officials and Jewish lobby groups in the US to sever its relationship with Iran. on the one hand. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee too had been extraordinarily blunt in conveying the same message to the US when he too was in the US last fortnight. who was on a visit to Washington. After all. knowing that it would intensify pressure on India to end its trade relationship with Iran. Senior Research Fellow . including journalists and policy thinktank officials. “Now that Israeli diplomats have been targeted in New Delhi. On the face of it.” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast went further to suggest that the blast was the work of Israel to defame Iran internationally. Even as recently as last week. it will be increasingly difficult for Indian officials to sweep under the carpet their growing trade relations with Tehran. on the other. for Iran to use Indian territory as the base for an extra-territorial attack on Israel. India is one of the last major economies that is resolutely holding out against abiding by the sanctions imposed on Iran – and has even told the US off bluntly. Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai. Even the self-preservation instinct isn’t kicking in strong enough among Iran’s leaders. even if it is directed at a third country. An Indian diplomat confided to US officials in Iran has rejected the Israeli accusation of Iranian involvement as “sheer lies”. Curtis noted. But whereas India could afford to go out on a diplomatic limb in trading with Iran despite the ongoing war of nerves between that regime and Israel. told US authorities that India would not sever its oil trade with Iran. it is the semblance of sanity.” he said. which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed on Iran and the Hezbollah. Iran’s ambassador to New Delhi Mehdi Nabizadeh dismissed Netanyahu’s charge as “untrue and sheer lies. it would be sheer idiocy for Iran – or the Shia army of Hezbollah over which Iran has control – to use India as the platform for an attack.

Even if India doesn’t wish to be caught up in the tug-of-war in West Asia over Israel’s opposition to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. . doling out large sums to stoke antiAmericanism. with a view to shaping the debate of India’s (nuclear energy) policy and the (Indo-US) nuclear deal.” But whereas such propaganda wars may be tolerable from an Indian perspective.” He also suggested that increasingly. That faraway battle is now coming closer home to India. any sugges- tion that Iran is now going beyond that to use the weak internal security situation in India as an opening to wage terror attacks on diplomats of third countries is fraught with grave consequences. it might prove increasingly difficult for India to avoid being dragged in. it appeared that Iran was “focussing squarely on influential elite audiences in Delhi. clerics and editors in Shia-populated areas of Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir.2007 that there was evidence that Iran “has been buying off journalists.

India: A friend of two enemies India is suddenly caught in the fight between Iran and Israel. The need of the hour is a clinically perfect diplomatic response from New Delhi. Feb 13. 2012 . Simantik Dowerah.

74 billion. I The blast in New Delhi today cannot be seen in isolation of the current geo-political crisis in the Middle East. “For 2010-11. New Delhi was already facing challenges while importing crude from Iran owing to payment related problems that surfaced due to sanctions by the Barack Obama administration on the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regime’s nuclear ambitions. India and Iran agreed upon a rupee mechanism on Monday to pay for the increasing oil imports by New Delhi. Iran which has till date not recognised Israel as a sovereign state. While India cannot afford to stop importing oil from Iran which is relatively cheaper. With the two foes now allegedly shifting their fight to a friend’s backyard. Adding to the complications.” a Times of India report said today. Israelis were victims in the 2008 terror attacks on a Jewish centre in Mumbai. that critically injured her. it cannot manage to antagonise Israel as well. Indian foreign ministry officials under the stewardship of External Affairs Minister SM Krishna are unexpectedly and unwillingly dragged to a new diplomatic tangle. However. India’s total trade with Iran was equal to $13. Missiles like Barack and Spike are also part of Indian military weaponry. then the Israel-Iran fight has just spilled over to a neutral country.92 billion and exports worth $2. India bought Thermal Imaging Stand Alone Systems and Long-Range Reconnaissance and Observation Systems for its armed forces. Israel has a very close relationship with New Delhi in terms of defence cooperation. in that attack by Pakistani terrorists the Iranian angle was not there. They have to make sure that their diplomatic response does not escalate the supposed fight on the Indian soil and must also ensure that ties with the two strategically important nations are not hampered. While Iran is a massive supplier of crude oil to India.67 billion. The blast might have far-reaching ramifications for India’s energy and defence needs. has serious differences with Jerusalem on its nuclear programme. The India-Israel defence trade that runs into billions of dollars also include Harop UAVs and naval cooperations besides training of personnel. which included imports worth $10. Starting from AWACS. India needs Israeli weapons and military expertise both for external and internal security.ndia seems to be in a delicate situation. Following the attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu squarely blamed Tehran for the terror attack on a woman Israeli diplomat on Monday afternoon. This enmity is old but the problem for India is that if Israel’s current allegations are true. following the alleged Iranian hand behind the attack on the Israeli diplomat vehicle in the heart of New Delhi. caught between two friends. . Lately there have been several news reports that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and that it was responsible for the elimination of a key nuclear scientist of the alienated Islamic regime. Ironically.

Feb 15. 2012 .in its own interest. it must bring the perpetrators to justice .It’s in India’s interest to crack Israeli embassy car bomb case Even if India declines US offers to assist in the investigation of the Delhi car bomb blast targeting Israel. Uttara Choudhury.

India has a very robust defence relationship with Israel which it does not want to see disturbed. ”I will be quite surprised if India does because there is a real sense of pride and also a certain amount of sensitivity about allowing the US to come in and sort of poke around.00.” which Israel has blamed on Iran and its ally. who holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University in Bloomington. Instead. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated the United States was ready to assist with the investigation of “these cowardly acts. they believe. Reports suggest the wife of the Israeli defence attaché in India. especially from the United States and Israel. which targeted Tal Yehoshua Koren. the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.000 barrels per day (bpd) and is Iran’s second-biggest oil client after China. Israeli analysts say it is unlikely that the New Delhi attack was actually carried out by the Hezbollah or by Iran’s special forces. “Israel launched attacks against its own embassies in New Delhi and Tbilisi in order to tarnish Iran’s friendly ties with the host countries. “India will put some very able people to work on this case because the last thing it wants is for the world to think India’s national capital is unsafe for foreign diplomats. who was injured in the bombing. may have managed to get out of the car after she saw the terrorist attach the “sticky bomb. Israel has denied it was responsible. Israel perpetrated the terror actions to launch psychological warfare against Iran.” he said. there is great pressure: you would expect that in the case of a foreign diplomat being harmed on Indian soil.” Monday’s bombing. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Iran and the Shia militant group Hezbollah for the attack in New Delhi and for N another attempted bombing in the Georgian capital that was averted. India has rejected US pressure to join a ban of oil imports from Iran and made it as plain as daylight that it will continue to trade with Tehran. “If there is indeed a link to Iran. quite apart from Israeli or US concerns.” Ganguly cautioned against “jumping to conclusions” about complicity in the bomb attack.000-4.50. “Chances are that India will not accept the American offer of assistance. the wife of the Israeli defence attaché in and Israel’s reflexive indictment of Iran for the incident threaten to put India right in the middle of escalating tensions over US and Israeli efforts to shut down Iran’s nuclear program. “Of course. and India – without much fanfare – will probably work quietly with . The Israelis are particularly sensitive to questions of terror. While condemning the car bombing in New Delhi which left four Israelis injured. It is in India’s selfinterest to ensure there is a thorough. to investigate the terrorist attack on Israeli diplomatic targets in New Delhi and bring the perpetrators to justice. Mugniyah was killed when an explosive was planted in the headrest of the driver’s seat of his jeep and the Hezbollah vowed revenge against Israel. which Iran has blamed on the Israeli secret service Mossad. India relies on Iran for about 12 percent of its oil imports or 3. swift and forthright investigation to reassure members of the diplomatic community in Delhi who have hitherto had a pleasant existence and not been subject to car bombs.ew York: India is under tremendous pressure.” added Ganguly.” said South Asia expert Sumit Ganguly. It may have taken the bike-borne assailants only a few seconds to attach it to the diplomat’s car. Iran has denied the charge and Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.” said Ganguly. locals belonging to a collaborator network may have set off the “sticky car bomb” which has a magnetic base. The incidents in India and Georgia came a day after the anniversary of the assassination of Hezbollah military chief Imad Mughniyeh in 2008.” Israel will probably send intelligence agents to work with the Indians. this would mean that India is not only faced with Sunni terror but also Shia terror and that would be downright unfortunate – quite apart from the diplomatic potential fallout with Iran that could ensue.

The Delhi Police is treating the explosion as a terrorist attack.the Israelis to crack open the case. Israeli officials appear confident about finding the terrorists. India must nail the terrorists to signal that it can provide security to foreign diplomats and their spouses who are soft targets.” said foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. With or without Israeli help. “We know how to identify exactly who is responsible for the attacks. although it hasn’t pointed a finger at anyone. let alone what the United States or Israel thinks about the matter. .” said Ganguly. “It is in India’s interest.

R Jagannathan. 2012 .If we’ve to choose between choose the former Israel and Iran. The Delhi terror attack on an Israeli embassy car and the Maldives semi-coup tells us that our wishy-washy assessment of national interest is flawed. Feb 15.

99 percent of the Maldives’ pre-Islamic artifacts from before the 12th century. supported by Islamic extremists. even in tiny Maldives. So why did India acquiesce in the replacement of Nasheed by his deputy? To give China a free run in the neighbourhood? Do we really know where our interests lie? Now. But this is simply not true. So. Thanks to India’s large Muslim population. senior defence officers told Nasheed he had to sign the China defence agreement. An Indian Express interview with deposed President Mohammed Nasheed quotes him as saying that his army was in favour of a defence pact with China. clearly. the car bomb base. In the Maldives.” he said. Pakistan and that autonomous force called Islamic fundamentalism. T Even worse was Waheed’s explanation for the vandalism. and they are reduced to powder. According to an ABC News report. quoting AP reports. . “I had the paper on my desk two weeks back to approve the agreement. notes that the Maldives’ national museum reopened on Tuesday minus all its pre-Islamic era exhibits. In the rioting that preceded the ouster of the country’s first democratically-elected president. Why does Maldives need a defence pact? And against whom? India? In fact. were destroyed.he sticker-bomb attack on an Israeli embassy car in Delhi and the soft coup in Maldives. Certainly not with China. “Some of the pieces can be put together but mostly they are made of sandstone. And big powers inimical to India are fishing in the Maldives. coral and limestone. rightly refrained from falling for this. Waheed said the attackers did not understand that the museum exhibits were not promoting other religions in this Muslim country. we need to ask ourselves one thing: how has our kowtowing to the Islamic world benefited us? We can say cheap oil – but neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia is in the business of selling us cheap oil.” According to museum director Ali Waheed.000 people. our foreign policy has been skewed towards appeasing domestic Muslim sentiment by seeming to be friendly with all the murderous regimes of West Asia instead of creating long-term alliances that are truly in our interest. India’s policy responses have been inadequate since they flow from non-strategic thinking. guess what the rioters targeted: a museum with Indian artifacts. But even while profiting from selling us their oil. when most inhabitants were Buddhists or Hindus. they follow policies driven by Islamism that are against our interests in Kashmir and in the rest of India. recent developments have been largely anti-India in content. extremism is alive and well. an island country with barely 400.” said Nasheed. Israel has accused Iran of being behind the attack. and a vain belief that our neighbours will see the benefit of peaceful cooperation and progress. so far. They sent it again saying that I have to sign it. The MNDF (Maldivian National Defence Force) had sent it three months ago also but I refused to sign it. show how sadly out of touch India’s foreign policy establishment is about the challenges facing the country from Islamic extremism and global powerplays. Two simple illustrations will help illustrate this point. We have. but no matter what turns out to be the truth. “About 35 exhibits — mostly images of the Buddha and Hindu gods — were destroyed. The Washington Post. In the car-bomb case. Mohammed Nasheed.

they should be thankful for the same. Bhutan and Maldives. Clearly. Tamil Nadu’s on-and-off efforts to stoke trouble among the Tamils of northern Sri Lanka make it easier for that country to seek Chinese help as an insurance policy. India’s policy needs three elements: a guarantee that Tamil politicians will not start meddling in that country’s ethnic issues. We now need to formalise an arrangement with Bangladesh by giving more work permits to its citizens. and China an ever-present military threat and half-enemy. Nepal. There is nothing we can do to reduce the Bangladeshi influx – just as the US cannot do anything about Hispanic immigration. even while being helpful in reducing the Islamic fringe’s anti-India activities. The Nepali Communists have used both the population’s innate envy of India and China’s willingness to invest there to put India on notice. Demography is destiny. An eastern Free Trade Area comprising West Bengal. we have to rebuild trust with Nepal. Burma. She has tried to reduce the overt Islamism of the regime. Bangladesh. Bangladesh: We have squandered an opportunity to rebuild our relationship during Sheikh Hasina’s regime. Many Bangladeshis have even entered voter lists. and so is Pakistan (or Pakistan-based Islamic groups). Sri Lanka. on the assumption that since they Sri Lanka: With our southern neighbour. are a Hindu country and we allow all Nepalese to enter India freely to work and to prosper. our relationship has been much better after the end of the LTTE. but without voting or citizenship rights. This does not mean all the others are our enemies. For now. Between Pakistan. . China’s bid for a defence pact in the Maldives — which can have no target but India — shows what’s going on. Here’s a bird’s eye view of all our neighbours and what we need to do with each one of them: Nepal: We have traditionally presumed Nepali friendship. Myanmar: We seem to have got the broader policy of engagement and slow march towards democracy largely right in Myanmar. Perhaps. while Israel has. Bangladesh. apart from the larger geopolitical alignments. it should be obvious to anyone that India’s strategic interests are most tied to Israel. and it is not difficult to see how both China and Islamic groups may be involved. more Indian investment to counter the Chinese. even while quietly leaning on them to protect our interests. We should now open up border trade. If we assume that Pakistan is always going to be an enemy. and a free trade agreement that is tilted towards Sri Lanka. which faces the same kind of hostile neighbourhood that India does – though it bears repeating that we have done nothing to deserve anyone’s enmity. Add the Islamic thrust of the Maldivian rebels. Wrong. It is happening clandestinely. it figures that we have to get the rest of our policies right. China is making its moves everywhere. we will focus on our hostile neighbourhood. and taken the country towards secularism. But China is already spending huge amounts to woo Sri Lanka – and that country is happy to use this opportunity. only Bhutan really counts as a friendly neighbour – and it almost does not count.In this case. both to benefit them and our eastern states. we need to have an arrangement like Nepal for free movement of people here for work. we need to deliver more to Bangladesh in terms of trading benefits. but it does mean we need to have a separate policy for each one of them. Clearly. India’s friendship may even help Israel follow a less brutally repressive regime in Palestine – but that is another story.

which foments hardline Wahabi doctrines. China: With China. The first three are important as a counterweight to China. This won’t work. and the last one is important in our anti-terror stance. Iran is the fountainhead of the Shia world. and the discovery of shale oil and gas. but we have to be clear that the relationship must be based on quid pro quo. If we had to choose between Iran and Israel. Currently. is also heading towards less dependence on oil. and due to unfair pricing. we should stop mentioning Tibet as a part of China till China reciprocates our goodwill. And India? We now import 80 percent of our oil requirements. our gas output is also falling – even though we have lots of it in the Krishna-Godavari basin. and so our relationship should be based on mutual respect and balance. With Israel we have no conflicts of interest. Israel. increasing our dependence on Saudi and Iranian oil. We are actually subsidising Saudi Arabia and Iran — not our poor. with the world’s third largest reserves of shale. In the Muslim world. It’s not impossible. Thanks to high oil prices. But Iran is a fundamentalist regime in its own way. We have to move out of the Nehruvian mould on foreign policy driven by generosity and righteousness. Pakistan can always count on China to back it against India as long as the Islamists – who work on their own agendas – prove too difficult for the Chinese themselves to deal with. defence. India’s natural partners are the US. A higher price for oil means alternative sources of hydrocarbon and renewable energy will become more economic. While this does not mean we should be drawn into Israel’s larger West Asian conflicts. China takes our goodwill for granted. only a hard line will work. If Iran is going to keep backing the Kashmir cause. Russia. This brings us to the larger geopolitical alignments we need to make to counter Pakistan. but we will always have to stay vigilant on terrorism and other kinds of mischief. We are busy increasing our dependence on West Asian oil. While we don’t have to go the other way and talk about Tibetan independence. Our foolish subsidisation of oil — diesel. we need to make it clear that it comes at a cost. and we have to stop saying that Tibet is a part of China. security and geopolitical relationship to the limit. China and the Islamic powers that back Pakistan for their own and fundamentalist reasons. and hence a natural rival to Saudi Arabia. We need to beef up our defences. who should we then choose? The answer is obvious. Turkey and Saudi Arabia. America’s dependence on West Asian oil is down to just 16 percent of imports. and circumscribing our foreign policy options in the process. So the best thing we can do is to keep improving trade. both in the north-east and in Ladakh. India needs good relationships with Iran. kerosene and cooking gas — makes our people use oil inefficiently. there is no reason why we should not expand our economic. We cannot do this without first reducing our dependence on Iranian and Saudi oil. Ditto for Saudi Arabia – where we have to oppose their funding of conservative ulema and Wahabi mosque building. and Israel. says a report in The Wall Street Journal. but the change has to start by pricing our oil at realistic levels. Japan. Pakistan: Our western neighbour will always remain an enemy till its army and the mullahs realise that Islamism is not the answer. and our north-eastern states will lift millions out of poverty in less than one or two decades. but gives nothing in return. . which too are down from 60 percent of US needs to just around 46 percent.Burma. both the army and airforce.

2012 . Feb 14. PTI.Ahmadinejad to visit China next month: Report Analysts say that the trip will aim to secure oil exports to China amid a fresh wave of sanctions.

He will also visit Japan. the Times reported. After the EU announced the oil embargo. its central bank and all Iranian financial institutions. Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi is reportedly making a trip to China from Sunday to Thursday. a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry. US President Barack Obama last week ordered a freeze on property and assets belonging to the Iranian government. at the invitation of the Chinese leadership. director at the Centre of Western Asian and African Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. “Ahmadinejad is eager to visit Beijing and to have direct talks with Chinese leaders. Ma said that China is willing to maintain close communication with related parties to promote the early resumption of talks between six representative nations. Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. told the Times that through Ahmadinejad’s trip. a move threatening to cut Iran’s economic pillar. “Iran hopes China can play a more important role in the global political arena. Li Weijian. Ahmadinejad’s trip to China would come after visits to Beijing by Western leaders. France. Ma also asked Iran to enhance cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Analysts say that the trip will aim to secure oil exports to China amid a fresh wave of sanctions. told Times that China’s mediation is crucial in solving the Iranian nuclear issue as Western countries and Iran are reluctant to engage with each other. with the Iranian side replying that it is willing to resume talks with the six nations at an early date and continue to strengthen cooperation with the IAEA. The EU reached an agreement last month to ban Iranian oil imports starting from July and freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank on its territory. it is crucial for Ahmadinejad to ensure China and other major Asian oil importers do not follow suit. Russia. In response to Western sanctions. the US and Germany and Iran. was quoted by the state-run Global Times as saying that Ahmadinejad would visit China along with a high-level delegation. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu flew to Tehran on Sunday for a twoday visit to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue. and it could only be deemed as a global power if it plays a bigger role in international politics.” Kermani said. India and Russia. Mohammad Kermani. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Ahmadinejad would visit China before the end of the Iranian calendar year on 19 March. China. Meanwhile. Iran seeks to deepen strategic and political cooperation with China. a professor with Iran’s Institute for Political and International Studies.” Li said. including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.B eijing: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit China next month amid a fresh wave of Western sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme. China has a full-fledged economy. who sought to persuade China to join in sanctions against Iran. Ramin Mehmanparast. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is also currently on a visit to the US. . Britain. According to China’s foreign ministry.

Feb 16. Uttara Choudhury.Pain at the pump: Oil prices spike after Iran’s sabre-rattling Fear of supply disruptions drive oil prices to their highest level in months after Iran’s dramatic announcement of advances in its nuclear technology. 2012 .

including a planned oil embargo by Europe. Spain.ew York: Prices for Brent crude oil rose on Wedesday to their highest level since April 2011 as fears mounted about supply disruptions from Iran. . developments in the investigation of a botched bombing in Bangkok raised fears among some security analysts that a series of suspected assassination attempts involving Israel and Iran could spread to other parts of the world. Significantly. the Netherlands.00. “The type of explosive device is similar to the incident in India. India relies on Iran for about 12 percent of N its oil imports or 3. Tbilisi and Bangkok. Still. have refused to fall in line with the US-led sanctions but there is intense pressure on India to cut its dependence on Iranian oil. It ended the day up 0. which depends on imports for 70 percent of its fuel needs. which are the biggest buyers of Iranian crude. There have been three incidents in two days. but everything could turn on the evidence that emerges in the car bomb terror case.000-4. “If there is an Iran link to the Israeli embassy car bomb attack in Delhi we suspect it will be hard for India go back to business as usual with Iran. The men “were not targeting a place. rising oil prices and a falling rupee spelt double trouble for the Indian economy. France. Harangued by international sanctions over its nuclear programme. told Firstpost.8 percent on Wednesday to $119. Although India has rejected US pressure to join a ban of oil imports from Iran and made it as plain as daylight that it will continue to trade with Tehran the “sticky car bomb” attack in Delhi on Israeli targets can change everything. The price of oil has been steadily rising over the past several weeks as investors fret about America and Europe imposing sanctions to restrict Iran’s ability to sell oil. Brent crude which is the benchmark for prices in Europe spiked more than 1. Iran warned six European buyers on Wednesday that it might strike first by immediately cutting them off from Iranian oil.” The incidents in India.50.53 per barrel before retreating somewhat by late morning. in New Delhi. he said the devices used were similar to bombs targeting Israelis in India and Georgia this week. Greece and Portugal were summoned on Wednesday and told that Iran had no problem replacing customers. Officials said an earlier report by Press TV. In 2011. Delhi is turning out to be Iran’s last best friend. an implied threat that Iran would carry out plans to cut European countries off immediately to preempt sanctions set to go into effect in July.” Priewphan told reporters in Bangkok.9 percent at $118. that Iran had already banned oil exports to the six countries in retaliation for sanctions was inaccurate. oil prices rocketed as the global markets were on edge. Iran’s state-financed satellite broadcaster. According to Thailand’s police chief Priewphan Damaphong.” an analyst at Strategic Energy & Economic Research.41 a barrel. the Iranians arrested after the blasts on a Bangkok street aimed to attack Israeli diplomats. India caught between a rock and a hard place India and China. Georgia and Thailand have stoked huge tensions and belligerent Israeli leaders haven’t ruled out a military strike. which has indicated it might halt shipments of oil to Europe. Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the ambassadors of Italy.000 barrels per day (bpd) and is Iran’s second-biggest oil client after China. Connecting the dots Meanwhile.

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