The Middle East Channel

The European Union agreed on an Iranian oil embargo

The European Union agrees on Iranian oil embargo The European Union has agreed to a ban on Iranian oil imports as part of increased sanctions over its nuclear development program. EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said, “I want the pressure of these sanctions to result in negotiations.” The foreign ministers agreed on a ban ...

The European Union agrees on Iranian oil embargo

The European Union has agreed to a ban on Iranian oil imports as part of increased sanctions over its nuclear development program. EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said, “I want the pressure of these sanctions to result in negotiations.” The foreign ministers agreed on a ban on any new contracts for Iranian crude oil or petroleum products, and for all existing contrast to end by July 1. The timeline was decided so the member countries with the most fragile economies, particularly Greece, Italy, and Spain, can find alternative sources of oil. The European Union is the second largest importer of Iranian oil after China, purchasing about 20 percent of its exports. Senior Iranian politician, Ali Fallahian, responded that Iran should end exports prior to the July 1 deadline, “so that the price of oil soars and the Europeans…have trouble.” The European measures are expected to also include sanctions on Iran’s central bank, falling in line with recent U.S. sanctions imposed on New Year’s Eve. According to a European diplomat, “We want them to think ‘This is really getting very, very serious now.'” Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway through which 20 percent of the world’s oil passes.

Headlines  

  • Yemen’s outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh left Yemen for medical treatment in the United States a day after the parliament passed a law granting his immunity.
  • Syria rejected an Arab League proposal calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down and advanced elections to form a “national unity government.”
  • Egypt’s lower house of parliament held its inaugural session with the Muslim Brotherhood holding 235 seats, and the Salafists with 121.
  • Libya’s National Transitional Council deputy head, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, resigned after an attack by an angry mob of protesters criticizing the NTC for not delivering on promises.
  • France will vote on a bill Monday declaring it illegal to deny the Armenian genocide after a senate committee recommendation suggested the law would be unconstitutional.

Daily Snapshot

 

CAIRO, EGYPT – A general view for the first Egyptian parliament session after the revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, January 23, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. The session, chaired by Mahmoud el-Saqqahm, comes as the trial of the former President continues with prosecutors seeking a death penalty. The session is due to elect a speaker and two deputies (Asmma Waguih – Pool/Getty Images). 

Arguments & Analysis

Saudi women break a barrier — the right to sell lingerie (Thomas W. Lippman, New York Times)

“Over the coming generation, this is likely to be the farthest-reaching transformation in Saudi society. While women are still constrained by law, religion and custom, more and more are likely to enter the work force. They will be better educated than their predecessors, will marry later and will have fewer children. The range of jobs and professions open to them will expand. The Ministry of Labor is already compiling a list of jobs women will be permitted to hold. It won’t include all jobs — no female miners or construction workers here — but it will be a much longer list than in the past, including some positions in law enforcement.”

‘Egyptian women: performing in the margin, revolting in the center’ (Zainab Magdy, Open Democracy)

“But when revolting is over, do we go back to performing in the margins, trying to shift our positions for a breath? Where do we go in those intervals when the majority of the nation prefers to live in the comfort of the lie that is SCAF’s honesty? Now that we’ve taken a break from the performative act, I feel that there is no going back. There is fluidity in defining the performer and those watching. There is also an awareness of the difference between both states so that the performer becomes aware of the politics of such a performance and so becomes more powerful.”

‘The Arab League to Syria’s President: It’s time for you to go’ (Rania Abouzeid, Time)

“But instead of diplomatic politesse, proceedings were thrown into disarray after Saudi Arabia, stepped out of the background role it has played so far in the Syria crisis, to forcefully push for an end to the Syrian government’s ferocious crackdown against its opponents. For months, Qatar has taken the lead on Syria. In a move that likely persuaded other countries, especially Gulf states, to take a stronger line against Damascus, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told his counterparts that his country would withdraw its observers from the much-criticized League monitoring mission in Syria due to the continued shedding of “blood that is dear to us all.”” 

     Twitter: @casey_mary
    A decade of Global Thinkers

    A decade of Global Thinkers

    The past year's 100 most influential thinkers and doers Read Now

    Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

    By Taboola

    More from Foreign Policy

    By Taboola