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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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.