The United States has announced sanctions against 14 companies in Iran, China, and the United Arab Emirates for violating sanctions against Iran’s oil and petrochemical industries. The US Treasury Department has added a number of individuals and companies to its sanctions list as part of its “Maximum Pressure” policy.
The United States is considering imposing sanctions on seven Belarusian officials believed to be responsible for electoral fraud and violence against peaceful protesters, a senior US State Department official revealed on September 1. The move by Washington could create friction with Moscow.
Turkey has issued a new notification to captains of Mediterranean vessels, via the NAVTEX international automated notification system. Sunday, as reported by NTV, NAVTEX is an international automated direct-printing service for promulgation of Maritime Safety Information (MSI), navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts and other urgent safety-related messages to ships.
The US has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on the grounds that she is “undermining the autonomy” of Hong Kong. The US Treasury Department made an announcement on Friday to the effect that any assets belonging to Lam, as well as ten other officials, would henceforth be frozen.
On Monday, the government of the United Kingdom announced new sanctions against 25 Russian citizens who say they participated in the mistreatment and murder of lawyer Sergey Magnitsky, and 20 Saudis believed to be involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Donald Trump’s administration has instructed prosecutors to file a lawsuit to seize four Iranian tankers carrying gasoline to Venezuela, according to Reuters. The lawsuit aims to seize Iranian tankers, prevent future deliveries of gasoline to Venezuela, and increase sanctions and economic pressure on both.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, addressing representatives of countries participating in a virtual session of the UN Security Council, said that countries from Israel to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, all “unanimously” want to extend and expand Iran’s arms embargo.
China announced its strategy to focus on the third world countries digitalization via the use of Crypto-Yuan. Crypto-Yuan (BSN) on April 25 in Beijing. China. China Mobile is heavily involved in the Crypto-Yuan payment system and is also involved in a Facebook underwater cable initiative around Africa.
On Monday May 4, Reuters published leaked information pertaining to a classified report compiled by the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, China’s top intelligence body and key intelligence structure of the PRC. The report was told to Reuters by sources familiar with the contents of the document.
China continues to suppress vital information and critical data pertaining to the origin of coronavirus in Wuhan. The Chinese scientists that published the genome sequence disappeared and their lab was immediately shut down. According to a French virologist and Nobel Prize winner the coronavirus is indeed a man made virus from a Chinese lab. It is in line with the findings of an Indian Lab, but they were pressured to abandon their findings back in February of this year.
In order to complete Nord Stream 2, Russia decided to have the Gazprom vessels accompanied by Russian warships. The route is from the Indian ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Nord stream 2 is a new export gas pipeline from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea. The combined capacity of each of the two Nord streams lines is expected to be 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Thus, the total design capacity of Nord stream and Nord stream-2 is 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
The United States imposes sanctions on 13 foreign entities and individuals in Russia, China, Iraq, and Turkey under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA). The announcement was confirmed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on @twitter.
The Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act authorizes the United States to impose sanctions against foreign individuals, private entities, and governments that engage in proliferation activities.
The US Senate approved additional anti-Russian sanctions. The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) back in February 2019. US President Donald Trump is forced to put restrictions on Russian Sovereign debt but it is only applicable to newly issued bonds. It is possible Trump will veto the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act.
The European Union (EU) announced the beginning of the development of a Human Rights sanctions regime that would be similar to the Magnitsky Act in the US. The announcement came after a meeting with 28 nation representatives in Brussels. The proposal originally came from the European Stability Initative, and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee at the end of 2018.
Iran’s first Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri Kouhshahi attended an annual meeting organized by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). An 18th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the SCO was held Saturday in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The SCO, or Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance, the creation of which was announced on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai. Iran is not an official member of the SCO but very interested in joining. He was observed having great interest in reciprocal agreements with Uzbekistan.
It is now even more evident that the push by the US to have Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro vacate office is still actively on. In the most recent move to frustrate Maduro’s administration, US President Donald Trump has imposed a total blockade on the state assets of the Venezuela government in the US. The move by Trump is most likely aimed at imposing a future total embargo on Venezuela. Before Venezuela’s inclusion on the list, the blockade of state assets in the US was only effective on; Cuba, Syria, Iran, and North Korea.
After a relatively quiet couple of weeks, Iran upped the ante again this weekend. State media reported that the Revolutionary Guard seized an Iraqi oil tanker, which it accused of smuggling fuel. It is the third such vessel captured since July 13. The move comes as tensions continue to escalate between the quarantined Islamic Republic and the western powers, particularly the United States. A spokesman for the U.S. Navy, however, said they had no information to confirm the seizure.
The US government warned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro that he has a “short term” to leave power if he does not want to face international justice and new US measures. US officials expressed confidence that the Lima Group will send the same message soon to Chavismo.
Monday was another bad day for Chinese tech giant Huawei. The Washington Post dropped a major bombshell on the company regarding alleged (highly-illegal) dealings in North Korea, and Czech Radio added another involving activities in their own country. The news adds fresh and serious doubts about the company’s potential western footprint, and bolster’s Washington’s case that the giant is a threat to American national security and users’ privacy. President Trump met tech CEOs in the White House Monday, partially to discuss what to do about it.
A month ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned American drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Later that week, President Trump called off a retaliatory military attack on Iran at the last minute. He explained the next day that he did not believe the loss of Iranian lives to be proportionate to the loss of a machine. On Thursday, the United States appeared to level the score. US Marines jammed an unmanned Iranian drone in the Strait, downing the aircraft and destroying it. The incident reignited tensions between the two countries, which seem to be stumbling toward war.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations, Ali Reza Mir Yusuf, said Tehran’s ballistic missile program is not negotiable. His remarks came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke of the Iranians’ readiness to discuss their missile program.
US President Donald Trump also said progress has been made in an effort to reduce tensions with Iran. Relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically after Trump withdrew last year from the nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. In response, Iran began to breach some of the terms of the agreement.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said an Iranian oil tanker being held by the British Royal Navy in the Straits of Gibraltar could be released if the United Kingdom will be guaranteed by Iran that the oil tanker would not go to Syria to deliver its cargo. The minister added that he had a “constructive” telephone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who informed him of Tehran’s desire to resolve the issue, and not to escalate the situation.
- Huawei executive arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant in Canada because Huawei is suspected of trying to evade American sanctions on Iran. U.S. prosecutors have been investigating since 2016 whether Huawei violated U.S. export and sanctions laws by shipping U.S.-origin products to Iran.
- China is interested in expanding its strategic and long-term relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Chinese government and various political and economic institutions, emphasized the need for expansion of the banking and financial relations between the two countries.
- Iran and China have found a way for China to continue buying Iranian crude and pay for it without risking a U.S. sanction breach. China had a special bank dedicated to handling payments for Iranian oil during the international sanctions against Tehran earlier this decade, so finding ways around sanctions is hardly new.
- “I am a Tariff Man,” Trump announced to signal his devotion to import taxes–a remark that served to downplay the likelihood of ending his trade war with China. Fear that an escalation in tariffs would choke off economic growth and possibly send a global slowdown into a recession.
- That massive data breach that hit hotel group: Marriott believes the hackers were working for a Chinese government intelligence gathering operation. Marriott said that a hack that began four years ago had exposed the records of up to 500 million customers in its Starwood hotels reservation system.
- Trump claimed a “BIG leap forward,” But scant details and few public commitments by China on what its commitments would be under the verbal agreement between Trump and Xi erased some market exuberance over what was brokered between the world’s two largest trading partners.
- Previous: How the China Trade “Pause” Effects Stocks
- The Trump administration reinstated sanctions on Iran’s energy, banking and shipping industries. Washington granted temporary waivers to eight countries, including China and India, the biggest purchasers of Iran’s oil.
- The exemptions have been granted for 180 days, and will be reviewed toward the end of the period. China Waiver: 360,000 b/d. Purchases before sanctions: 658,000 b/d in Jan.-Sept. 2018
- Saudi Arabia has enough spare capacity to cover for any shortfall related to Iran, although any further unexpected outages – from, say, Venezuela, Libya or Nigeria – would test the cartel’s abilities. Saudis indicated a price level of approx. $80 per barrel is comfortable, and would target this price level.
- Venezuela’s crude production was in “free-fall” and could soon fall below 1 million barrels per day.
- The EIA expects U.S. crude oil production will average 10.9 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, up from 9.4 million b/d in 2017.
- Previously: American Shale Oil: Real Long Term Growth or Does History Repeat Itself with Boom then Bust?