Iran offers to replace Iraqi oil to bail out US!


DEPUTY Oil Minister for International and Trade Affairs Ali Majedi has voiced Iran’s readiness to speedily replace Iraq oil in the world market if Baghdad was forced to stop its exports due to its security crisis.

Making this attempt to curry favour with the USA he told IRNA on Saturday that Iran could replace Iraq oil in the world market in a short time.

He said there are certainly no doubts about Iran’s capabilities to do so. Majedi noted that under present conditions Iran is capable of increasing its oil output to four million barrels per day in a time span of six months to meet the market demands.

He said Iran is after getting its due share of the world energy market. The world is now realising that Iran is certainly the most secure and stable country in the region to feed the market with its needed amount of energy.

In recent weeks, the terrorist Da’ish (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS)) group backed by certain regional countries has got the rule over extensive areas in west and northwest of Iraq, he noted.

The member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Kazem Jalali, has also stressed that Iran is ‘serious’ about the ongoing nuclear talks with the six world powers.

Jalali said: ‘The system, the leadership, as well as the Iranian nation have showed support for the negotiations. The government has also taken significant steps in this regard.’

‘Iran’s nuclear programme can be summarised in two points. First, Iran should preserve all its nuclear rights. Second, there is no such thing as building an atomic bomb in Iran’s security doctrine,’ he said.

Saying that Iran is not seeking ‘to build an atomic bomb’, Jalali added: ‘Iran is pursuing its nuclear rights based on an international framework.’

‘The West should identify sensitive aspects of the talks and seize the opportunity created by this atmosphere.’

The head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, has said that the number of centrifuges required by Iran depends on SWU (separative working unit) production capacity.

‘The number of centrifuges depends on the capacity of SWU,’ Salehi said on the sidelines of the funeral of an Iranian cleric Ayatollah Gilani. If we use centrifuges that produce 10 SWU, we would need 19,000 centrifuges, while if we exploit centrifuges with 24 SWU production capacity, we would need 8,000 centrifuges,’ he added.

The AEOI added that Iran carries out its enrichment activities in compliance with the Joint Action Plan signed in Geneva in November 2013.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will not be joining his Western counterparts from the P5+1 group for talks with Iran in Vienna today because he does not want to take part in US-orchestrated ‘collective pressure on the Iranians’, heavyweight liberal Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on 12 July, citing ‘sources in the Russian diplomatic circles’.

It noted that in recent days Western sources have indicated that work on a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme, which is expected to be reached by 20 July, has come against some problems and the Western foreign ministers of the P5+1 group have decided ‘to intervene in the negotiation process’ and hold a meeting with Iran in Vienna.

The paper said that the ‘Russian delegation at the talks will officially be headed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. However, de facto, at the ministerial meeting Moscow will be represented by Russia’s permanent envoy to the international organisations in Vienna Vladimir Voronkov.’

Citing its sources in the Russian diplomatic circles, Kommersant said that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s ‘decision not to come to the meeting had to do with his reluctance “to participate in collective pressure on the Iranians”, initiated by the USA, and attempts to force them to agree to maximum concessions on issues that are key for Washington.

‘We do not want to blindly sign under the US approach,’ the paper quoted one of its sources as saying. The source added that Russia from the very start had been saying that there was no point in holding a ministerial meeting so early.

For his part, pundit Andrey Baklitskiy told Kommersant that the urgent ministerial meeting in Vienna looked ‘a bit artificial’, as it would be more natural for the ministers to join the process when there was clear progress in the talks.

At the same time, he said that the talks on the Iranian nuclear issue ‘should not be considered destined to fail’ and the sides are likely to ‘continue bargaining’ after 20 July too.

‘Iran and the P5+1 group will do everything possible, albeit with the original deadline broken, to reach a historic agreement at least by early September,’ the paper concluded, quoting the pundit.

At the time of the Vienna meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be accompanying President Vladimir Putin on his tour of Latin American countries.

l Iranian senior negotiator Seyyed Abbas Araqchi has said that he is uncertain Iran and the P5+1 can resolve all their differences, but he underscored there has been definite progress in drafting the text.

‘The extent of the positive process has not been sufficient to make us certain that we can reach an agreement. As I have said, we are not at the point where we can make a judgement on whether it is possible to reach an agreement or not.

‘Disagreements are still deep. It does not seem to be easy to fill the gap; it does not even appear to be possible,’ the Iranian state news channel IRINN showed Araqchi saying in an interview recorded in Vienna.

The Iranian official said that the success of the talks depends on several foreign ministers from P5+1 member states, who are scheduled to arrive over the weekend. ‘There is a hope that the ministers’ visit can serve as a breakthrough.

‘If a breakthrough occurs, we can be optimistic about speeding up the talks during the next week and finalising the deal. However, even if there is no breakthrough, that will not mean a declared defeat of the talks. No. There still is a chance to continue talks, so there may still be a possibility to reach an agreement. The ministers’ arrival is very important. It can provide a breakthrough.

However, the lack of a breakthrough will not mean the defeat of talks,’ Araqchi said. Meanwhile, the Iranian representation at the United Nations has held an extraordinary meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to condemn Israeli air strikes on Gaza.

The meeting, chaired by the Iranian envoy to the United Nations, Gholamhoseyn Dehqani, and attended by about 20 envoys from the NAM, issued a statement, condemning Israel’s actions and calling on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take an urgent action for ending the Israeli assault, ISNA said.

In his speech, Dehqani, the representative of Iran, which currently chairs the NAM, ‘described the Zionist regime’s explicit crimes’ and urged the UNSC to pay heed to its ‘responsibility’ and put an end to the assault and the ‘crimes’ perpetrated against Palestinians.

The meeting was attended by the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, and he asked the NAM members to support the draft prepared by the Arab League on the issue.