Insider news & Analysis in Iran

Gulf News reported that Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has promised that Iran will begin supplying Oman with 20 million cubic centimeters of natural gas per day sometime in the near future. He was no more specific than this, and there is currently no pipeline that could facilitate such a transfer. A project to build one would cost an estimated one billion dollars, but Iran remains cash-strapped with sanctions still in place and foreign investment still uncertain.

The Washington Post - If things weren’t already tense enough in the Middle East, a U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat got into an altercation Tuesday with an Iranian sailboat in the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon announced.

U.S. military officials said the trouble started when the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy, which regularly patrols international waters in the Gulf, approached an Iranian dhow, a traditional sailing vessel used by fisherman and traders. According to the U.S. account, the cutter dispatched a smaller boat with some folks on board, apparently to try to get closer to the dhow and possibly climb aboard.

The dhow was less than friendly, however; its crew pointed a machine gun at the visiting party. In response, the Monomoy fired a warning shot, which apparently had its desired effect. The dhow sailed off, the cutter retrieved its personnel from the small boat and went its own way.

“I know there was one shot fired. Nobody hurt. Both the cutter and the dhow parted ways and there wasn’t more to it than that,” Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters in a brief summary of the incident.

Coast Guard patrol boats have performed maritime security operations in the Gulf since 2003 and can board suspicious vessels. The 110-foot cutters complement larger U.S. Navy ships in the region.

The Coasties are there to enforce international maritime law, but sometimes they lend a hand. Indeed, the Monomoy generated a spate of headlines in January 2012 when it rescued six Iranian fishermen whose dhow had flooded.

AP - BERLIN –  German authorities say they've charged a German-Iranian man with supplying Iran with components for use in its missile program.

By Iran News Update Staff 

Although the Iranian position in the nuclear talks has made the prospects of an agreement very doubtful, the ideal outcome for Iran is certainly one in which the talks are successful despite the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to compromise on key points. Doing so would allow Iran to get out from under Western sanctions that have had a highly significant effect on the nation’s economy. That is not to say, however, that the ideal outcome is the only one that Iran considers favorable. The regime has experience using international partnerships to defy Western sanctions, and it will likely do this to greater effect now that it has already gained access to billions of additional dollars of capital, simply by virtue of keeping the nuclear talks going.

Wed Aug 6, 2014 

By Jonathan Saul and Alex Lawler

LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Iran's oil exports slipped for a second month in July, yet sales remained above the limit set by the West under an interim deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear programme, according to sources who track tanker shipments.

By Iran News Update Staff 

Ben Smith of the Weekly Standard accused the Obama administration of being “incapable of understanding the nature of the regime in Tehran.” The considerable sanctions relief that has been offered as an incentive for nuclear talks is a symptom of that incapability, in the minds of Obama’s opponents. At hearings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, American lawmakers emphasized concerns that recently released Iranian funds may be used to directly fund terrorism. And administration officials were unable to say that this could not be the case.

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