A series of widely reported attacks on targets in Iran and Iranian ships that were attributed to Israel reached a peak with the explosion at the nuclear facility in Natanz. Iran’s response was not slow to come this time. Tehran announced that it had begun enriching uranium to a purity of 60 percent, triple its previous level and approaching the level needed to produce a nuclear bomb. That, at a time when U.S. President Joe Biden is putting great effort into indirect negotiations aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Top Turkish officials on Sunday lashed out at an open letter signed by more than 100 retired admirals warning about a possible threat to a treaty governing the use of Turkey’s key waterways.
Turkey’s approval last month of plans to develop a shipping canal in Istanbul comparable to the Panama or Suez canals has opened up debate about the 1936 Montreux Convention.
The naval attacks had not been reported before Thursday.
Germany has extended its ban on travellers arriving from the UK to 6 January, despite the EU telling countries to lift restrictions to allow essential journeys and minimise trade disruption.
– Truckers try to force their way past police guarding Port of Dover as hundreds leave cabs and walk along road
– Jeering and whistling with some shouting: ‚Open the border‘, ‚We just want to go home‘ and ‚F*** you, Boris!‘
– France announced travel ban on all traffic from UK on Sunday night after emergence of new Covid-19 strain
– Decision meant Port of Dover was dramatically closed to all freight vehicles leaving the UK for next 48 hours
– Deal now struck with France which means every driver must be tested for coronavirus using lateral flow tests
– Tensions also boiled over at Manston Airport, where truckers whose lorries are being held staged a protest
STRANDED truckers were ready to roll again last night after shamed French leader Emmanuel Macron was forced to reopen his country’s border with the UK.
He caved in after pressure from Britain and the EU to end a 48-hour blockade imposed amid fears over the new Covid strain.
In 2018, it was reported that Greece would lease seven Heron medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) UAVs as part of a three-year contract worth 35.5 million euros.
“About 80% to 90% of laptops are manufactured in China right now. But not all components are manufactured in China. For instance, some components are coming from Vietnam.”
Shipping components for laptop assembly from countries like Vietnam into China is a challenge, but getting laptops out of China to other countries like the U.S. is a bigger hurdle because of commercial flight restrictions, Ms. Kitagawa said.
Diplomats from the British Foreign Office had urged US officials to allow the ship to dock on American soil but were met with obstacles. Cuban officials instead accepted the request, stating that there must be “a shared effort to confront and stop the spread of the pandemic”. After all, these are still humans suffering, regardless of the passport they hold.
Cuba itself has only had five confirmed cases of Covid-19, and the ship docking could threaten to increase that number exponentially.
„Könnten alle meine Freunde ein Glas auf Kuba erheben und sich daran erinnern, dass Kuba vortrat, als niemand anderes uns von Bord lassen wollte? Am Mittwoch oder Donnerstag fliegen wir von Kuba aus nach Hause. Liebe Grüße an alle, die unser großes Abenteuer verfolgt haben“, schrieb Anthea auf ihrer Facebook-Pinnwand, als sie die Nachricht erfuhr.
Als sie daraufhin eine Lawine ermutigender Botschaften erhielt, sagte sie: „Ehrlich gesagt, bin ich voller Tränen angesichts Ihrer Freundlichkeit. Sie haben uns das Gefühl gegeben, nicht nur geduldet, sondern auch willkommen zu sein. Danke Kuba, dass es uns sein Herz eröffnet hat, wir werden nie vergessen, dass es uns geantwortet hat, als absolut niemand, und ich möchte sagen, dass NIEMAND SONST dies getan hätte.
„Yemen has seven internet gates, six of which are paused following the conflict. FALCON is the only active sea cable providing the service, but its cut has caused Yemen’s internet lose 80% of its capacity,“ Ali Nosari added.
The situation is not a war, and what is happening now should not be exaggerated, Suhail Al-Mazrouei said on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, an OPEC producer.
“We will not see a war,” he added. “This is definitely an escalation between the US, which is an ally, and Iran, which is a neighbor, and the last thing we want is more tension in the Middle East.”
„The ship’s 16 crew who are of Malaysian nationality were arrested,“ the Guards‘ naval commander for the region, Brigadier-General Ali Ozmayi, was quoted as saying.
Abu Musa is one of three islands in the southern Gulf that are under Iranian control but claimed by the United Arab Emirates.
The explosions have hit the vessel’s hull, causing heavy damages to the vessel’s two main tanks, which has resulted in an oil spill in the Red Sea. The spill is currently stopped, according to officials.
Technical experts are currently investigating the cause of the explosion. They believe it was a „terrorist attack“, unnamed sourced told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).
An oil tanker belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was hit and damaged by two missiles on Friday, Iranian state news IRNA reported.
The missiles were „possibly“ fired from Saudi soil, Saheb Sadeghi, head of the public relations of the National Iranian Tanker Company, told state-run Press TV.
His comments come one week after meeting with Erik Hanell, the chief of Swedish shipping firm Stena Bulk, which owns the seized vessel. Hanell asked Tehran to release the ship and its crew of 23.
Russia’s far east may just be the beginning. ROSATOM has said that it’s in talks with potential customers for the floating power unit, and sees “significant market potential” in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The Iranian supertanker Grace 1 is unlikely to sail from Gibraltar before Sunday, the Chronicle understands, with six crewmen including a new captain scheduled to arrive this weekend.
Logistical arrangements are currently being put in place by the vessel’s owners after it was released on Thursday following six weeks detained under Gibraltar’s sanctions legislation.
The Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported that the vessel was unlikely to sail before Sunday, citing an unnamed source who added that it was waiting for six new crew members including a captain to arrive that day.
A lawyer for the Grace 1’s current captain also told the newspaper that his client had asked to be replaced.
Authorities in Gibraltar were given permission by Gibraltar’s Supreme Court to detain the vessel until mid-August, with another hearing on the matter set for Thursday morning. The current detention order on the vessel expires on Saturday night.
After intense negotiations with Iranian authorities, CBS News was given rare access to Iranian-controlled waters in the Strait — one of the most volatile transit routes for the world’s oil supply.
About 14 tankers carry crude through the Strait every single day; a combined cargo value of $1.3 billion. It’s a lot of money, and there’s a lot of vested interest in ensuring the flow of tankers continues unimpeded.
(This item is being updated.)
State TV quoted by Reuters said the Revolutionary Guard Corps‘ naval forces had „seized a foreign tanker in the Persian Gulf that was smuggling fuel for some Arab countries“.
It said the tanker was carrying 700,000l of fuel, adding that seven sailors had been detained.
The reported incident comes amid high tension after the US tightened sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.
„Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and we will do all we can to defend it.
„The Department for Transport has therefore updated its advice to confirm that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage.”
The Syrian government has two big oil-producing friends, Iran and Russia. With the routes from the first apparently closed, it may have to turn to the second. This presents a new host of potential risks. Impounding an Iranian ship in the Strait of Gibraltar is one thing. Stopping a Russian ship in the Aegean Sea is quite another.
Apart from the 18 Indians aboard the Stena Impero, there are three Russians, a Latvian and a Filipino on the ship.
Jeremy Hunt has said the Royal Navy has been “run down too much” as he cited a skirmish between Britain and Iran in the Persian Gulf as proof that more warships are needed.
The Foreign Secretary said the “deeply troubling” events in the Middle East showed that the Navy must be “expanded to meet the threats we face”.
Early on Thursday, two American officials, who were speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, claimed that five boats believed to belong to the IRGC had approached the tanker British Heritage at the northern entrance of the Strait of Hormuz and ordered it to stop.
Three Iranian ships unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday, the UK government has confirmed.
Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday but backed off after a British warship approached, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.
„The Grace 1 was detained last week in Gibraltar when it freely navigated into British Gibraltar territorial waters to a point two miles off the Eastside of Gibraltar, having previously exited the international waters of the Straits of Gibraltar, on a pre-arranged call for provisions and spare parts,“ the Gibraltar Government spokesman said.
The ship was „well inside BGTW“ when it was boarded and remains detained in that area, the spokesman added.
To illustrate that point, the Gibraltar Government issued a screen grab from the Port of Gibraltar’s vessel traffic monitoring system taken on the night of detention.
Spain, which challenges the British ownership of Gibraltar, has said the seizure was prompted by a US request to Britain and appeared to have taken place in Spanish waters.
„We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,“ said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Washington has a new tactic in its ongoing campaign against Tehran: outsource the naval blockade of Iran and have allies seize oil tankers in international waterways – all in the name of “freedom of navigation,” of course.
A British registered tanker which began drifting off the coast of Iran caused a major scare this morning, with fears that Iranian forces had boarded the vessel.
The Pacific Voyager tanker was en-route from Singapore to Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, when it slowed down and stopped around 6am today.
Analysis: UK officials say the aim is to calm the situation and not make it more incendiary – as some in Washington appear to be intent on doing
Noting that the tanker was moving in the international waterways, he said that the UK has no right to exert its or EU’s unilateral sanctions against other countries extraterritorially.
„This is the same US bullying policy that European states have always protested to it,“ he
According to Spanish officials, the Grace 1, Panamanian-flagged tanker carrying Iranian oil, was seized by British patrol ships off Gibralter and was detained on the US orders.
Authorities said there was reason to believe the ship, called the Grace 1, was carrying crude oil to the Baniyas Refinery in Syria.
The refinery is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria, the chief minister of the government said.
The Hyundai Dubai rescued 23 sailors from the Norwegian tanker Front Altair, Thursday, after receiving a distress call, and then handed them over to Iranian authorities.
CBS News said the captain of the Hyundai Dubai „contacted his company’s management, which told him to refuse the Iranian request (to turn over the mariners),“ but handed them over as „he felt like he had no choice but to comply with Iranian demands,“ citing declassified U.S. intelligence reports Friday.
An official of the South Korean shipping firm said the company that the captain contacted could have been the ship owner headquartered in Germany, not Hyundai.
The Trump administration’s claims Iran attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were quickly debunked, with the ship’s crew saying it “was hit by a flying object.” But the US disrupted important Iranian diplomatic efforts at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
In the hours before the attack on the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, the Iranians spotted a US drone flying overhead and launched a surface-to-air missile at the unmanned aircraft, a US official told CNN.
The missile missed the drone and fell into the water, the official said.
„We received reports that something flew towards the ship,“ Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, said at a press conference Friday. „I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,“ he said, adding that a projectile landed above the waterline. (…)
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The UK Royal Navy-linked UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) safety group earlier issued a warning, urging „extreme caution“ in the area.
A spokesman for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain told the Associated Press that his command was „aware“ of the incident and was seeking further details. U.S. Naval ships are in the area and are „rendering assistance“ after forces in the region received two separate distress calls, the Fifth Fleet said.
“This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” said John C. Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division. The complaint was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday by the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
The civil action came as North Korea’s weapons tests over the past several days have threatened the disarmament discussions that President Trump opened.
Speech to Arctic Council delegates prompted frustration and surprise among experts and government officials
It’s seemingly inexplicable that one of the world’s top oil exporters and most masterful perception management practitioners wouldn’t gift its “ally” emergency fuel shipments as a humanitarian gesture or at least sell it what it needs under a deferred payment plan, especially when considering that it’s owned all of the country’s oil and gas infrastructure since last year and regularly ships large amounts of oil to the country in order to meet the huge demands of its fuel-hungry Aerospace Forces there. On top of that, Russia even sells gas to its American adversary in spite of the sanctions that its customer imposed on this industry,
Egypt turned back an Iranian tanker headed for Syria over U.S. Treasury warning