Iran appears poised for a fifth month to sell more oil than the average it is permitted to export under a short-term nuclear deal, Reuters reports.
An industry observer said Iran has sent out oil at an overall pace of 1.3 million barrels a day this month, the news agency said on Wednesday. However, the nation agreed not to average more than 1 million barrels in sales each day for the six-month duration of the atomic accord that took effect on Jan. 20.
The limits are intended to help pressure Tehran to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, which Washington and other Western capitals consider a potential vehicle for achieving a nuclear-weapons capability.
Obama administration officials expect Iran to cut its petroleum sales in coming months to bring its average exports down to the cap it accepted in November, according to Reuters.
Still, advocates of stringent economic penalties said Iran’s burgeoning oil sales show that the interim accord has loosened financial restrictions on the country more than negotiators intended. Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, but agreed to limit the atomic effort in return for sanctions curbs under the agreement with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Iran will have to reduce exports by over 40 percent over the next three months in order not to exceed the average of last year,” said Tim Wilson, an analyst with the pro-sanctions Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Tehran sold an average of 1.1 million barrels of oil each day in 2013.
Meanwhile, a high-level Iranian government insider said his nation intends to boost its purchases of gasoline within the next 12 months, Reuters reported in a different article. U.S. economic penalties have separately targeted Iran’s ability to obtain gas from abroad.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."