Iran helping Syria avoid oil sanctions

Iran threatens other neighbors

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Posted on: 
20 Jan 2012
Iran helping Syria avoid oil sanctions

Syria’s Oil Minister Sufian Allaw admitted during a press conference on Thursday that the Assad regime has lost more than $2 billion in revenues since September 1 as a result of European and US bans on importing Syrian oil, adding that "yhe oil embargo has caused a drop in production of 150,000 barrels, or $15 million, a day." The admission came even as reports surfaced that Iran is assisting the Assad regime in evading the sanctions, by taking Syrian crude to Iran and mixing it in with Iranian shipments, then funneling the profits back to Damascus after taking a small cut. The reports, which first appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, have been confirmed by the US Treasury department. The US and EU have also accused Iran of violating a UN weapons embargo by sending armaments and ammunition to Assad in order to assist his brutal crackdown on protests against his regime.

In related news, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao lashed out at critics of his country’s energy trade with Iran on Thursday. "China has normal trading relations with Iran, but will not bargain away its principles,” he told reporters in Qatar, where he is on an official state visit. “We support the UN resolutions related to the Iranian nuclear issue. I believe that China is not the only country to buy oil from Iran... Legitimate trade has to be protected if global economic chaos is to be avoided. China firmly opposes the development and possession of nuclear weapons by Iran, and calls for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East."

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters in Turkey on Thursday that “we want peace and tranquility in the region. But some of the countries in our region, they want to direct other countries 12,000 miles away from this region. I am calling to all countries in the region, please don’t let yourselves be dragged into a dangerous position.”

He added, in reference to recent proposals by the Obama Administration for negotiations with his country that “Mr Obama sent a letter to Iranian officials, but America has to make clear that it has good intentions and should express that it’s ready for talks without conditions. Out in the open they show their muscles but behind the curtains they plead to us to sit down and talk. America has to pursue a safe and honest strategy so we can get the notion that America this time is serious and ready.”

Western officials have often said that Iran wants to use a demand for talks “without conditions” as a stalling tactic while refusing to address its renegade nuclear program.


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