DEBKAfile Exclusive Report July 3, 2012, 4:26 PM (GMT+02:00)
The US is piling up military strength in the Persian Gulf against potential Iranian attempts to block the Gulf of Hormuz, or otherwise retaliate for the European oil embargo in force since July 1. As the Revolutionary Guards staged a missile exercise against “enemy air bases,” more than 40,000 US troops were massed on two strategic islands facing Iran. The drums of war came with curtains on nuclear diplomacy. Iran and six world powers met for the last time in Istanbul Tuesday. Oil topped $100 for the first time in three weeks.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 1, 2012, 9:58 AM (GMT+02:00)
The European oil embargo taking effect Sunday, July 1 blocks the sale to EU members of one-third of Iran’s daily output of 3.3 million barrels a day. From now on, EU insurance firms withhold cover from governments and firms operating tankers delivering Iranian oil. The embargo was clamped down after diplomatic efforts failed to halt Iran’s nuclear weapon program. Gulf armies led by Saudi Arabia are on alert for reprisals. Two oil pipelines have been activated to bypass the Strait of Hormuz if it is blocked.
DEBKAfile Special Report May 23, 2012, 6:23 PM (GMT+02:00)
A senior official in Tokyo announced Wednesday, May 23, that the Japanese government will seek parliamentary approval for a bill allowing Japanese firms to insure tankers carrying Iranian oil to Asia if European insurers refused to do so. The nuclear talks between the six powers and Iran in Baghdad Wednesday, instead of taking place under the shadow of tougher sanctions as Israel expected, saw the toughest one, the oil embargo, falling apart. Russian and British officials began raising the prospect of an Iran-Israel war.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report April 22, 2012, 10:56 PM (GMT+02:00)
Beijing has distanced itself from the Assad regime, according to a secret exchange of messages with the Obama administration, revealed here exclusively by debkafile. China will no longer be a problem for America in dealing with Assad. That leaves only Russia, said the last message. Washington counts this change as a return on its nuclear appeasement of Tehran. The Chinese decided to accommodate US policy on Syria now that the loosening of the embargo on Iranian oil is in sight. Assad has started selling off gold reserves in Dubai.
DEBKAfile Special Report April 21, 2012, 1:53 PM (GMT+02:00)
After the “achievements” gained for its nuclear program from diplomacy with the West, Iran now wants sanctions lifted. European sources expect the Obama administration to soon start ending sanctions in stages. Israel’s drive against a nuclear Iran is assuming personal overtones: Three Israeli researchers question the evidence of a 2005 fatwa supposedly issued by Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prohibiting Muslims from building a nuclear weapon. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has held it up as “an entryway into negotiations.”
DEBKAfile Special Report February 15, 2012, 5:17 PM (GMT+02:00)
Shrugging off Western sanctions and Israeli recriminations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played a starring role in a widely televised spectacle by inserting his country’s first domestically-made fuel rod into the Tehran Research Reactor Wednesday, Feb. 15. The scene came after the announced cutoff of Iranian oil exports to six European countries - Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal. Two hours later, the Iranian oil ministry challenged the announcement, spoiling the show by showing up differences in high regime ranks.
DEBKAfile Special Report January 26, 2012, 10:50 PM (GMT+02:00)
Military tensions in the Persian Gulf shot up again Thursday, Jan. 26, after Dubai police commander Gen. Dhahi Khalfan said an imminent Gulf war cannot be ruled out and first signs are already apparent. "The world will not let Iran block Hormuz, but Tehran can narrow the strait to the maximum," he said. Saudi Arabia and Dubai doubt the US Navy and Gulf forces can keep Hormuz open at all times. A war of attrition is therefore expected to unfold from February to July.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 21, 2012, 3:07 PM (GMT+02:00)
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu advised visiting Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey Friday, Jan. 20 that the time for action against Iran was now - for two reasons: First, Iran has passed the point of no return for developing a nuclear weapon; second, the US-led embargo on Iranian oil is not catching on. debkafile: China, Japan, South Korea, India, Turkey and the European Union members which buy 85 percent of Iran's exported crude are dilly-dallying over a ban.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 20, 2012, 12:18 AM (GMT+02:00)
China took advantage of the US oil embargo on Iran to bid for Saudi oil instead. Riyadh agreed to provide oil in return for Chinese assistance in building a Saudi nuclear weapon program. Beijing no longer calls Iran its only strategic partner in the Middle East; Riyadh shares that privileged status with Tehran.