An Iranian Qader (Ghader) ground-to-sea missile is launched on the last day of navy war games near the Strait of Hormuz in early January. On Jan. 23, 2012, the European Union enacted tough sanctions against Iran; earlier, Tehran had threatened to close down the waterway in retaliation against an oil embargo. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM — After years of pleading with Europe, Israel today welcomed the decision by the European Union’s 27 foreign ministers to embargo Iranian crude oil and freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank.
The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and its battle group have been on patrol in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has threatened to close the Strait in response to EU sanctions on the import of Iranian oil. (U.S. Navy/AFP/Getty Images)
Is the Iran oil embargo another staggering step towards war?
The EU's Iran oil embargo had been expected but that doesn't mean it won't significantly up the temperature.
Julian Borger at The Guardian has a lengthy essay on what this means and how the EU action might lead Iran to indulge in " ... harassment of the oil trade that would drive the price of crude up and keep it up, very much to Iran's benefit, but fall short of a casus belli for war. However, exercising such options requires subtlety and fine judgment on all sides and that is by no means a given. "
Managing Director of the Institute of International Finance Charles Dallara (L) and senior advisor to France's BNP Paribas Jean Lemierre leave the Greek Prime minister's office after talks in Athens last Friday (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Today was supposed to be the day Greece and its private bondholders reached a deal on how big a write down, or "haircut," the creditors would take.
But talks broke-up over the weekend and the outcome is not clear, as Greek newspaper eKathimerini reports.
Iranian Navy boats take part in maneuvers during navy exercises in the Strait of Hormuz this month. Today, the U.S. navy rescued 13 Iranian sailors from pirates. (EBRAHIM NOROOZI/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM — Despite a lack of concrete developments since last week’s mysterious assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran, Iran and its nuclear ambitions continue to dominate diplomatic discourse here.
Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, came closer Wednesday than any other Israeli figure to an official denial of any plans to overtly attack Iranian nuclear installations, saying that Israel is “very far from” any such decision.
“Death to America!” “Death to Israel” the crowd shouted as they left their weekly prayers at Tehran University, where the dead scientist was a hailed a martyr in the tradition of Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite Muslim, Reuters reported.