Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the choke-point for Persian Gulf oil shipments, reveals how deeply the latest Western sanctions -- and the threat of even tougher measures -- have spooked the clerical regime.
The Iranian officers who knocked out Saeid Pourheydar’s four front teeth also enlightened the opposition journalist. Held in Evin Prison for weeks following his arrest early last year for protesting, he says, he learned that he was not only fighting the regime, but also companies that armed Tehran with technology to monitor dissidents like him.
The Obama administration and European governments are seeking help from Arab and Asian allies to reduce Iran’s oil revenue in the dispute over its nuclear program, while trying to avoid causing a surge in prices that may threaten the global economic recovery.
Negotiators headed to Baghdad for a second round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program won’t be giving Iran the relief it is seeking from oil and financial sanctions hobbling its economy, according to Obama administration officials and Western diplomats.
The European Central Bank said no payments that contravene European Union sanctions on Iran are cleared via its payments system, Target2, as U.S. lawmakers consider pushing for tougher controls on euro-based transfers to the country.
Just after 3 p.m. on Nov. 29, about 200 demonstrators ransacked the British Embassy in Tehran, chanting “Death to England,” setting fire to the Union Jack, carting off a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, and detaining staff as Iranian security officers stood by. It bore all the marks of a state-orchestrated provocation.