Coup d’état in the making?
NOVEMBER 17, 2010 – While President Ahmadinejad is out of town, this week the Iranian government continues to crackdown on lawyers who defend opposition voices for allegedly ‘endangering national security.’ German reporters are charged in Iran with spying. France has accused Iranian security services of committing “unacceptable acts of violence” on French diplomatic personnel in Tehran. Iran said that unidentified foreign planes violated its air space six times as the country kicked off its biggest ever air defense drill but that the intruders were intercepted and forced back by Iranian jets. A major North Sea gas field- a joint venture between the BP and Iranian Oil has been shut down because production could break European Union sanctions against Iran. Iranian veterans of the Iran-Iraq war have been arrested. Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warns against enemy plots to create a rift between the Iranian nation and officials, urging all to vigilance. Nigeria has today finally reported the discovery of an illegal arms shipment from Iran to the chairman of the UN Security Council. A one-time Iranian Air Force pilot seeking political asylum in France claims that dissidence in Iran’s military is widespread.
And it’s only Wednesday.
It doesn’t get any better.
Recently, several carmakers including Toyota and Kia either pulled out of Iran or stopped delivering vehicles to the Islamic country. United Arab Emirates-based oil and gas explorer Dragon Oil has not renewed an oil swap agreement with Iran. France’s Total has halted all its trade in oil products with Iran. ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s biggest steelmaker, has said it would not enter into new contracts with Iran and would terminate existing contracts in support of sanctions policies of Germany, the EU and the U.S. Turkish refiner Tupras has cancelled contracts to supply Iran with gasoline. BP has stopped supplying jet fuel to Iran Air at Germany’s Hamburg airport. Key shipping associations have created clauses in contracts enabling ship owners to refuse to deliver refined petroleum cargoes to Iran.
Lloyd’s of London no longer insures or reinsures petroleum shipments into Iran. South Korea’s GS Engineering & Construction has cancelled a $1.2 billion gas project in Iran. Spain’s Repsol has pulled out of a contract it won with Royal Dutch Shell to develop part of South Pars gas field in Iran. Malaysia’s Petronas has stopped supplying gasoline to Iran. Luxury carmaker Daimler announced plans some months ago to sell its 30 percent stake in an Iranian engine maker and freeze the planned export to Iran of cars and trucks. The announcement followed similar action by German insurers Munich Re and Allianz. India’s largest private refiner, Reliance Industries, would not renew a contract to import crude oil from Iran for financial year 2010. Oil trading firms Trafigura and Vitol have stopped gasoline sales to Iran.
Ingersoll-Rand Plc, a maker of air compressors and cooling systems for buildings and transport, said it will no longer allow subsidiaries to sell parts or products to Tehran. Caterpillar, the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, has tightened its policy on not doing business with Iran to prevent foreign subsidiaries from selling equipment to independent dealers who resell it to Tehran. German engineering conglomerate Siemens no longer accepts orders from Iran. And accounting giants KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young declared themselves free of any business ties to Iran.
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary has claimed “A rift has opened between Iran’s president and the Supreme Leader since the imposition of UN sanctions designed to force the country to abandon its nuclear programme.. . . political infighting has intensified in recent weeks with the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei being forced to shore up his position during a high profile trip to the holy city of Qom. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come under renewed criticism.”
Coup d’état anyone?
(Photo credit: fanpix.net)
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