Friday, 6 July 2012

The Latest from Iran (6 July): Tehran Puts Out Positive Nuclear Messages

0445 GMT: After the chest-thumping of this week's military exercises and statements of Iran's ability to vanquish its enemies, there has been a marked change in the Tehran line in the last 24 hours. State media are putting out the messages --- albeit from Chinese and Russian diplomats and the Associated Press, rather than the Islamic Republic's leaders --- "Progress Made in Iran-P5+1 Talks", "Iran-P5+1 Talks in Constructive Phase", and "Diplomats: Iran-P5+1 Negotiations Positives for Both Sides".

The shift was not just one of rhetoric. Iranian officials handed out copies of their proposals in the nuclear discussions to a dozen media outlets, one of whom --- Barbara Slavin of Al-Monitor --- summarised the document (see separate entry). The intended effect was to show that Tehran is genuine in its search for a settlement on uranium enrichment, as it seeks the removal of unjust sanctions.

Why the more conciliatory line from Iran? One possibility is that those sanctions are biting or about to do so. It is not just the imposition of the European Union's cut-off of imports of Iranian oil from this past Sunday --- recent days have brought equally significant news of South Korean and Japanese suspensions and a major problem with shipments to China.

There was one piece of good news on the oil front for Tehran on Thursday --- according to three well-placed sources, "India is using euros to clear most of its purchases of Iranian oil through a Turkish bank because of hurdles in making rupee payments....The euro payments are continuing even as the U.S. and the European Union seek to limit oil revenue in Iran, which they say is developing nuclear weapons. The payments also mean Iran won’t be handicapped by difficulties in converting rupees, the worst performer among Asian currencies over the past 12 months."

Yet even this has a downside: India's Deputy Oil Minister made clear in May that Delhi is cutting its imports of Iranian oil by at least 10% this year.


from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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