Saturday, August 27, 2022

MoA - No. Russia's Iran Relations Do Not Change With The Nuclear Deal. (Q - Who controls American foreign policy? - CL)

 Indirect negotiations between the U.S. and Iran about the re-entry of the U.S. into the nuclear deal are progressing slowly and may not come to fruition any time soon.

Israel' government, with is in the mid of another election campaign, is still trying to derail any new deal:

Israel’s defence minister Benny Gantz will travel to the US later this week for a series of meetings with officials to discuss the latest developments.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday urged Biden and Western powers to call off the deal with Iran, saying that negotiators are letting Tehran manipulate the talks.

“The countries of the West draw a red line, the Iranians ignore it, and the red line moves,” Lapid told reporters at a press conference in Jerusalem.

Israel has come up with many arguments against the deal. Most of those have been refuted long ago. A new hook is therefore needed to come up with something that may prevent a renewed agreement.

The current anti-Russian propaganda atmosphere allows to spin the alleged threats from Iran and Russia into a new narrative. (That Russia has recently taken a strong position against Israel may also have something to do with this.)

We thus get fantasy pieces like this from

Russia eyes Iran as sanctions-busting backdoor for oil sales
A nuclear deal with Tehran would give Putin a perfectly timed Plan B to get oil out to global markets.

Russia plans to use Iran as a backdoor to circumvent international sanctions over Ukraine if Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers comes back into force, Western diplomats say.

Moscow dispatched teams of trade and finance officials as well as executives from Gazprom and other companies to Tehran in July following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with the Iranian leadership to lay the groundwork for closer cooperation between the two countries.

In recent weeks, Iran also sent two official delegations to Moscow focused on energy and finance. Among the senior officials in attendance were Iranian central bank chief Ali Saleh Abadi, Deputy Economy Minister Ali Fekri, and the head of the Iranian legislature's economy committee, Mohammad Reza Pour Ebrahimi. The Iranians spent several days meeting with their counterparts and private sector executives, according to the diplomats.

The principal attraction of Iran is that it provides a backup route to sell sanctioned Russian crude oil — the Kremlin's chief source of hard currency.
This get-out-of-jail-free card depends on whether the atomic deal, under which Iran would limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief, is renewed.

Informed commentators were not impressed with the story:

Gregg Carlstrom @glcarlstrom - 13:18 UTC · Aug 24, 2022

This very striking headline is built atop a dumpster fire of unsubstantiated claims, embellishments and omissions
Link to

The facts are:

  • Yes, Russia and Iran have agreed on new energy development projects in Iran.
  • Yes, Russia and Iran have agreed to renew an old oil swap deal. As part of the larger deal Russian crude will flow through the Caspian Sea to Iran's north while Iran will sell oil from its fields in the south to pay for it.
  • No, Russia has no need to sell oil through Iran.
  • No, all the above has nothing to do with the nuclear deal.

Despite Europe's lunatic sanctions on Russian energy it oil exports are in fact doing very well:

Russia’s oil exports rose back above $20 billion in June despite lower shipments abroad because of a rally in energy prices, according to the International Energy Agency.

That was an increase by $700 million from a month earlier, even as Russia’s daily exports of crude-oil and products fell by 250,000 barrels to 7.4 million barrels, the lowest since August, the IEA estimated in its monthly report published on Wednesday.

$20 billion in June adds up to $60 billion in a quarter year. For comparison:

Oil Exports in Russia increased to 32300 USD Million in the fourth quarter of 2021 from 29100 USD Million in the third quarter of 2021. source: Central Bank of Russia

Russia currently makes more money through oil sales than ever before.

The rest of the Politico piece is just as much garbage as the opening claims:

A further area of cooperation is finance. During Putin’s meeting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei in July, the two men discussed ways to break the dollar’s hold on global trade. Both countries’ banks have been banned from SWIFT, a U.S.-dominated system used to facilitate international trade, and their economies face extreme difficulty undertaking cross-border transactions.

While ending the dollar’s dominance has been a largely quixotic effort so far, Iran is eager to help Russia find ways to hasten “de-dollarization,” the Western diplomats said.

Russia has already de-dollarized. Its deals with China, India, Iran and others are all made in bilateral or other non dollar currencies.

The 'western diplomats', most likely Israeli, are just making stuff up to create another argument against the nuclear deal. As usual they are actively trying to spread the theme.

It was therefore not astonishing to find a repeat of the same stupid claims a day later on the pages of the Washington Post where David Ignatius hyped the narrative:

Beware the emerging alliance between Russia and Iran

Beware the emerging Tehran-Moscow alliance: Russia has begun using Iranian-made drones in the Ukraine war and Iran has offered to share its financial networks to help Russia evade sanctions, according to Western intelligence officials.

For Russia, struggling to maintain momentum in Ukraine after six months of brutal conflict, the new Iranian assistance could be a game changer, the intelligence officials warn. “This is not just a tactical alliance,” explained one official. With China and India refusing to sell weapons to Russia, Iran could become an essential pipeline for weapons and money.
Iranian financial aid for Russia would be even easier if sanctions against Tehran are lifted as part of a renewal of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the intelligence officials warned.

No Iranian-made drones have been seen in the Ukraine theater and while they may come one day or another it is unlikely to be anytime soon. Russia is selling weapons to India and to China and has no need to buy any from them.

Russia is certainly not in need of financial aid from Iran. It is a rich country and there are many other states, foremost NATO member Turkey, which are willing to handle transfers with Russia. There are in fact only 37 states who have sanctioned Russia and even those, including the U.S., are still making deals with it.

That Ignatius is using 'western intelligence officials' to describe his sources is revealing. If those were from the U.S. itself he would likely have used the term 'U.S. intelligence officials'. It is another hint that Israel is behind the story.

The whole narrative makes little sense. It also has absolutely nothing to do with an eventual return of the U.S. to the nuclear deal with Iran. That this nonsense argument is made now reveals that some Israeli officials are panicking.