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Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 29, 2019, 01:06:10 AM »
?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcom-usnews-beam-media - Show Posts - balong
The purported wreckage of a U.S. military drone is seen displayed by the Islamic
Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran. Tasnim News Agency/Handout

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 08:55:00 PM »
1f8b57e929b20e13750f6a706700d470 - Show Posts - balong
In this Jan. 19, 2012 file photo, a plane flies over the mountains in south of the
Strait of Hormuz as the trading dhows and ships are docked on the Persian Gulf
waters near the town of Khasab, in Oman.  (The Associated Press)

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 08:52:24 PM »
Some Middle Eastern countries that travel through it on a daily basis such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — frustrated by the limitations — have reportedly attempted to find alternative routes. But the narrow passageway still controls the oil market.

There are several alternative oil pipeline routes to bypass the Strait of Hormuz, but not enough to make up for the amount of oil that transits the Strait.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are three pipelines that could transport oil from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that bypass the Strait: the East-West Pipeline, Abqaiq-Yanbu Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline from Saudi Arabia and the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline from the United Arab Emirates.

The pipelines are also limited. The East-West Pipeline allows only 1.0 million bpd, while the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline could take approximately 2.9 million bpd — a small fraction of the bpd that travel through the Strait of Hormuz on a regular basis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 08:51:53 PM »
The Strait of Hormuz is a tiny strip of water located between the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran. It is the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.

What's it used for?
It is in the territorial waters of Iran and Oman, which at its narrowest point is just 21 miles wide — with shipping lanes about 2 miles wide in either direction. It flows into the Gulf of Oman, where ships can then travel to the rest of the world.

Why is it so important?
It's essentially the gatekeeper to the world's biggest oil players.

Roughly one-fifth of the world’s crude oil is supplied by Gulf countries, which depend on unrestricted travel through the narrow strait, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Persian Gulf oil exporters include Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Those countries transported almost 22 million bpd (barrels per day) of oil through the Strait within the first half of 2018, Reuters reports. Dozens of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers exit the Persian Gulf through the Strait each day with most of the crude oil and natural gas going to Asian countries. If there is any disruption of oil through the Strait of Hormuz it could drastically affect the global oil price.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 08:49:29 PM »
ContentBroker_contentid-354d808ba0564e42a3cd74203ffc479b - Show Posts - balong
This map provided by the Department of Defense, Thursday, June 20, 2019, shows
the site where they say a U.S. Navy RQ-4 drone was shot down.  (Department of Defense via AP)

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 08:48:32 PM »
The tension between the U.S. and Iran has reached a new height resulting in the downing of a U.S. drone by Iran and a possible airstrike that was called off by President Trump at the last minute. Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Iran shot down a U.S. drone over international waters, though Iran claims the U.S. violated their airspace.

Iranian state television released images of what it claimed was a U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone it shot down with a surface-to-air missile.

With the U.S. pulling out of the Iran Nuclear deal combined with crippling sanctions, Iran has made several threats to disrupt the transport of oil through the shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz, prompting Trump to order more military assets to the region.


Here's what you need to know about the Strait of Hormuz and its major influence on the oil industry.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 12:04:41 AM »
Mnuchin confirmed he had not coordinated these sanctions with American allies – an unusual approach for a decision as momentous as targeting the leader of a country that, for now, remains locked into the 2015 nuclear agreement with the U.K., China, Russia and other key European allies.

Russia decried the sanctions as "illegal."

Trump has faced criticism for an unclear approach to Iran marked by unspecific demands – warning against its developing a nuclear weapon or killing Americans in the region – and reports of infighting among his closest advisers.

Mnuchin said Monday of Iran, "If they want to come back to the negotiating table, we're ready."

"We look forward to a time in releasing sanctions, if they're willing to negotiate," the secretary said.

Iran has indicated it will never negotiate with the U.S. while sanctions remain in place.

"We consider these sanctions as hostile and in line with economic terrorism," Seyed Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, said Monday before Mnuchin announced the sanctions.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 12:03:47 AM »
Mnuchin said he will announce sanctions later this week against Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, one of Iran's most public figures who served an instrumental role in crafting the 2015 nuclear agreement brokered by the Obama administration.

The White House decision follows Iran's lashing out at existing, punishing sanctions – including against Qassem Soleimani, the shadowy head of Iran's elite Quds Force – that have crippled the Iranian economy and choked off its ability to sell oil.

It also comes at a time of perceived military escalation between Iran and American assets in the region.

"There's no question that locking up the money worked last time. And locking up the money works now," Mnuchin said from the White House briefing room, shortly after meeting with Trump in the Oval Office.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 12:03:05 AM »
THE TRUMP administration escalated its "maximum pressure" campaign against the Iranian regime on Monday by taking the unusual step of sanctioning Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran's head of state and spiritual leader of its revolutionary government.

The new sanctions that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced will also target the assets of the senior military leaders responsible for threatening the shutter of the Strait of Hormuz and the commander of Iran's air force, who Mnuchin said was responsible for shooting down an American drone in international waters on Thursday. The secretary's assessment seemed to overturn Trump's assertion last week downplaying Iran's recent behavior, specifically saying that its shooting down a U.S. drone was "a very big mistake" carried out by a "loose and stupid" lower ranking official.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 26, 2019, 12:01:25 AM »
?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcom-usnews-beam-media - Show Posts - balong
The Trump administration announced it would impose sanctions against
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran's head of state and
spiritual leader, on Monday. HANDOUT/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 25, 2019, 11:58:15 PM »
694940094001_6049154828001_6049153943001-vs - Show Posts - balong

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 25, 2019, 11:53:39 PM »
Such rants will have no effect on President Trump because he knows his approach to Iran is working – he has no need to offer Tehran concessions. Trump remains open to talks with Iran to find a diplomatic solution that addresses the full range of threats posed by Iran. If Iran wants to negotiate an end to U.S. sanctions, it will need to agree to significant concessions. The ball is in Iran’s court.

The U.S. presidency is often described as the most difficult job on earth because of the enormous responsibility as the leader of the free world and the requirement of having to make difficult decisions with no easy answers that sometimes may result in the loss of human lives. President Trump has demonstrated with his careful and prudent handling of the threat from Iran how he has excelled at meeting the heavy demands of being America’s commander in chief.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 25, 2019, 11:52:58 PM »
In addition, Israel produced clear evidence last year of Iranian cheating and lying on its JCPOA commitments when it revealed the “Iran nuclear archive” – a treasure-trove of documents stolen by Israeli intelligence on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

At the same time, while President Trump promised during the presidential campaign and as president to end wars and not start new ones, he has made clear on numerous occasions, including in Syria and Afghanistan, that he is prepared to use military force when necessary to defend U.S. interests and those of our allies.

Iran dodged a bullet last week when Trump decided to call off airstrikes minutes before they were launched. Contrary to claims by his critics, this was not a sign of indecisiveness by the president – it reflected his decision that airstrikes that could kill 100-200 people were a disproportional and unjustified response to Iran’s shoot-down of an unarmed U.S. drone. Iranian leaders should conclude from this incident that the next time the president orders a military strike, they will not be so lucky.

The increased tensions with Iran are a result of Iran’s leaders attempting to use violence and terrorism to force President Trump to drop his maximum pressure policy. Obviously giving into these threats would be a sign of American weakness and amount giving into blackmail. The United States also should not remain in an agreement because the other party threatens to attack us if we withdraw.

Iranian leaders reacted angrily to the new sanctions imposed by President Trump Monday, calling them “outrageous and idiotic” and claimed they permanently closed the path to diplomacy.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 25, 2019, 11:52:09 PM »
Iranian leaders believed that mining oil tankers in the Gulf of Hormuz and shooting down a U.S. drone would force President Trump to drop his tough “maximum pressure” policy against Iran by reversing the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal (the JCPOA) and dropping increased U.S. sanctions. This was a reasonable assumption after eight years of President Barack Obama’s incompetent foreign policies including his “leading from behind” Middle East strategy and his “strategic patience” approach to North Korea.

Iran's leaders were wrong. President Trump is not about to back away from his Iran strategy which has been highly successful in denying Tehran revenue to spend on its nuclear and missile programs, terrorism, and meddling in regional disputes. Instead, President Trump, Monday doubled down on his Iran policy by approving new sanctions.

The president also knows he made the right call in withdrawing from the deeply flawed nuclear deal which lets Iran continue nuclear weapons-related activities like uranium enrichment and does not cover Iran’s missile programs and other threats it poses to the region.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 24, 2019, 11:30:47 PM »
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin warned the U.S.  Thursday not to take military action against Iran following the recent downing of an American drone and attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

Speaking on a televised call-in show, Putin said U.S. military action against Iran – which Washington blames for both events -- would be a “catastrophe for the region as a minimum" and trigger an escalation of hostilities with unpredictable results.

The comments came just days after the Trump administration announced that 1,000 additional American troops would be deployed to the Middle East.

The Pentagon has said that deployment includes security forces and troops for additional surveillance and intelligence gathering in the region.

The downing of the drone by a surface-to-air missile earlier Thursday was the most recent Iranian provocation in the region, coming on the heels of a disputed attack on a pair of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week -- which the U.S. has blamed on Iran.

Iran claimed the U.S. drone on Thursday was over Iranian airspace when it was shot down.
A ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying that Iran cannot condone the "illegal trespassing and invading of the country's skies by any kind of foreign flying object."

But American officials stated unequivocally the incident occurred in international airspace.

Tensions also have been running high recently between the U.S. and Russia, stimulated by the near-collision between a Russian destroyer and an American warship occurring in the Philippine Sea earlier this month.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 24, 2019, 11:28:40 PM »
putin - Show Posts - balong
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures answers a journalist's question after his
annual call-in show in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday. (AP)

Inspiration & Hope / Re: Ecclesiastes
« on: June 24, 2019, 10:59:46 PM »
da3095d1-4a4d-40b1-85c5-b2575945aa5d - Show Posts - balong
Attempting to understand everything is futile. Your perspective is always limited,
and there are things that will remain a mystery for you.

Inspiration & Hope / Re: Ecclesiastes
« on: June 24, 2019, 10:57:26 PM »
28b6d0d5-7aa2-4bb6-97c8-a31bc29f4a6f - Show Posts - balong
Be attuned to the rhythm of life and of the world. Do things at the appropriate
time, and remember that nothing lasts forever.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 24, 2019, 10:28:57 PM »
On Saturday, Trump praised Bolton, saying he had confidence in his appointee despite some disagreements on some Mideast issues, Politico reported.

Bolton added Sunday that no one had granted Iran “a hunting license in the Middle East,” as he spoke alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his Mideast visit.

Late last month, Bolton had charged that Iran was responsible for attacks against oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates – and warned that the U.S. would strike back if attacked.

Bolton said Iran was “almost certainly” responsible for the tanker attacks.

Rhetoric between the U.S. and Iran has been sharpening in recent weeks as Iran feels the effects of sanctions imposed by the U.S. following Trump’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear agreement that Iran had negotiated with the U.S. and other world powers during the Obama administration.

Trump had repeatedly criticized the deal as not going far enough to ensure that Iran was not pursuing nuclear weapons.'s Rene BALONG Econg contributed to this report.

Talk of the Town / Re: WW3 US vs Iran
« on: June 24, 2019, 10:24:01 PM »
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton had a message for Iran on Sunday during his visit to Israel: He advised the leaders of the Islamic nation not to “mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness.”

Bolton’s comment followed Friday’s confirmation by President Trump that he had called off a planned retaliatory attack against Iran following that country’s downing of a U.S. military drone Thursday in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.

Trump said he reconsidered action after deciding that the potential loss of life in a military action was not “proportionate” after Iran had attacked an unmanned aircraft.

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