An Iranian official said Russian energy-trade talks faced an uphill battle, amid global fears about possible implications for nuclear sanctions, Reuters reports.
“The negotiation is continuing” between Moscow and Tehran, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Ali Majedi said in Monday comments quoted by the wire agency. He added, though, that the discussion “is very difficult because both countries are producers and exporters of oil and gas.”
The official raised the concern as the sides discussed a range of trade options, including a potential pact under which Russia could swap nonmonetary assets for as much as 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil each day.
The Obama administration has said such an arrangement would run counter to language in a six-month deal it hopes will set the stage for longer-term limits on Iran’s weapon-usable nuclear operations. Washington and its allies are trying to maintain economic pressure against Tehran as they bargain over what nuclear restrictions the Persian Gulf power could accept in exchange for sanctions relief.
Majedi said, “Russia is a producer and exporter of oil … [and] there is no way that Iran will receive some of the oil from Russia. Maybe vice-versa, maybe. But not now.”
The deputy oil minister added that his country expects to hold its daily petroleum sales to other countries at roughly 1 million barrels into July, when the interim atomic accord is currently slated to lapse, Bloomberg reported. Iran’s production of unrefined oil now stands at approximately 2.7 million barrels each day, he said.
Western powers have set a 1 million-barrel limit on Iran’s average daily exports for the six-month pact’s full duration which, if exceeded, could trigger new sanctions. Sales reportedly have topped the anticipated cap since the deal took effect in January, but the Obama administration has said it expects Iran’s shipments ultimately to fall within agreed boundaries under the pact.
What We're Following See More »
Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.
"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."
"While Democrats nationwide have put the focus on President Trump, the Sanders wing of the party has engaged in an intramural fight to remake the party in a more populist, liberal mold." From Washington state to California to Florida, Sanders loyalists are making good on their promise to remake the party from the ground up. And just last week, a "group of former Sanders campaign aides launched a super PAC with the explicit goal of mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents."
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.