Today Cyber attackers targeted the Iranian oil platform and the Russian oil industry announced that they will supply 1 million Tons of tax free oil products per year to Tajikistan.
This all started after the EU sanctioned the Iranian oil. The EU is afraid of an attack by Israel and that’s the reason why they chose for more sanctions instead of the Israeli alternative.
The current economic sanctions hitting Iran may not be enough to force Tehran to dismiss its controversial nuclear programme. A loud debate about new sanctions has taken place over recent weeks. American lawmakers are planning new penalties on foreign banks that handle any significant transactions with the central bank of Iran, Reuters has reported.
But the United States is focused on the presidential campaign and Congress is out of session until after the November 6 election. Therefore, it may be the European Union that steps up to the plate, adopting new sanctions and increasing pressure on Tehran. European foreign ministers have repeatedly shown this will to move forward - especially Germany's Guido Westerwelle, England's William Hague, France's Laurent Fabius, and Italy's Giulio Terzi. Even though the United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said last Friday that international sanctions are hurting not only Iran's government but also its people. Iran's currency has decreased by half in value September since 2011, while inflation has soared. European foreign ministers could agree on new measures against Tehran at the next Foreign Affairs Council meeting, scheduled for October 15 in Brussels.
Tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran's alleged attempts to build weapons of mass destruction by way of its nuclear programme have been boiling away for months, reaching a new high point at the last UN General Assembly at the end of September. In New York, the Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu urged the UN to draw "a clear red line" to stop Iran's progress towards WMDs, theatrically holding up a cartoon drawing of a bomb. So the adoption of harsher sanctions may be the only way to curb Israeli military strikes against Iranian nuclear sites.
Although new sanctions on Iran were put together by the EU as recently as January 23. The most impressive among them - the oil embargo - effectively started on July 1. The embargo equates to around 600.000 barrels per day and the amount of Iranian oil bought by EU nations in 2011 was about a quarter of Iran's total oil exports. The most affected countries were the ones already in the middle of an economic recession: Greece, Spain, and Italy. Each nation bought more than 10 per cent of its imported oil from Iran.
But sanctions are not limited to oil. Other measures include the halt to trade in gold, precious metals, diamonds and petrochemical products, and limitations of transactions with Iran's central bank. In fact, while the oil industry had around six months to differentiate its sources, mostly replacing Iran with Saudi Arabia, small and medium size enterprises did not have such a generous notice period.
Companies of financially troubled southern European countries, once again, are suffering the most. Italy, for instance, is the second European exporter to Iran after Germany and saw a decrease of exports to Iran in 2012 of about 20 per cent. "About 1,500 Italian SMEs are in trouble with financial restrictions," says Pierluigi D'Agata, general director of Assafrica e Mediterraneo, a division of Confindustria, the country's leading employers'organisation. "Many of them have 50 per cent of their turnover in Iran, so the occupational risk is real. An extension of the sanctions or, even worse, a hardening would be extremely negative, especially in this economic crisis period".
But the Italian government is determined this is the best path for the stability of the region. "Italy applies sanctions in a coherent way, notwithstanding the costs that this can cause us," explains Italian Undersecretary of State, Marta Dassù. And Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said last week: "Sanctions are showing all their efficiency, as confirmed by the Iranian currency rial's collapse. The military attack instead would be a leap in the unknown, susceptible to increase instability in the whole area." It remains to be seen which side will move next and how.