international energy agency

Oil crisis: We're dipping into the reserves due to Libya crisis
  • 60 million number of barrels of oil the International Energy Agency plans to release from the strategic reserves, at the behest of the U.S. and 27 allies
  • 2 million number of barrels that will see release each day for the first 30 days of the strategic release — the third release of its kind in 30 years source

» Blame the conflict in Libya: The supply of crude oil has struggled in the wake of the instability in Libya, which cut off a key supply of oil and has had a bit of a ripple effect on gas prices. Other oil-producing countries chose not to boost their output of oil amid prices above $100 a barrel, which led to the current decision to tap into the strategic reserves. As you might guess, the stock market isn’t digging this news at all, and oil futures dipped over 5 percent in reaction to the news — still over $100 a barrel, though.

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All 7 soviet/russian nuclear submarines sunk in accidents, the most of any nation that operates this type of vessels, left to right, top to bottom:

K-27: The only Project 645 submarine (a variant of the Project 627 November class with liquid metal cooled reactors), it was irreparably damaged by a reactor accident (control rod failure) on May 24, 1968. 9 were killed in the reactor accident. After shutting down the reactor and sealing the compartment, the Soviet Navy scuttled it in shallow water (108 ft (33 m)) in the Kara Sea on September 6, 1982, contrary to the recommendation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

K-8: A Project 627 November class submarine was lost on April 11, 1970 while being towed in rough seas following a fire on board. The submarine was initially evacuated, but 52 reembarked for the towing operation. All hands on board were lost (52), while 73 crewmen survived on the rescue vessel. Location: Bay of Biscay, 490 kilometres (260 nmi) northwest of Spain in the North Atlantic Ocean.

K-219: A Project 667A Yankee I class sub was damaged by a missile explosion on October 3, 1986, then sank suddenly while being towed after all surviving crewmen had transferred off. 6 crew members were killed. Location: 950 kilometres (510 nmi) east of Bermuda in the North Atlantic Ocean.

K-278 Komsomolets: The only Mike-class sub built sank due to a raging fire April 7, 1989. All but 5 crewmen evacuated prior to sinking. 42 died, many from smoke inhalation and exposure to the cold waters of the Barents Sea. A total of 27 crew members survived.

Soviet submarine K-429: Sank twice, first in 23 June 1983 after a series of mistakes led to a catastrophic dive that eventually killed 16 men, latter raised, she then sank again in her moorings on 13 September 1985, where she was raised again and decommissioned. 

K-141 Kursk: The Oscar II class sub sank in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000 after an explosion in the torpedo compartment. See Kursk submarine disaster. All 118 men on board were lost. All except the bow section was salvaged.

K-159: The hulk of the decommissioned Soviet-era November class submarine sank in the Barents Sea on August 28, 2003, when a storm ripped away the pontoons necessary to keep it afloat under tow. Nine men died in the accident.

Being a soviet/russian nuclear submariner has to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
Ten Things That Every American Should Be Concerned About In The Iran Deal
President Obama has resorted to a disgraceful campaign of fear to try to sell his flawed Iran deal to the American publi…
By Marco Rubio

By Marco Rubio

September 8, 2015

Ten Things That Every American Should Be Concerned About In The Iran Deal

President Obama has resorted to a disgraceful campaign of fear to try to sell his flawed Iran deal to the American public and skeptical members of Congress. His reliance on threats of “this deal or war” and his denigration of deal skeptics as “the crazies” indicate the weaknesses of the agreement itself. Last month, the Obama administration released an annotated version of the deal. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Kerry delivered a speech in Philadelphia once again outlining the deal’s parameters and claiming that no alternative existed other than an unraveling of the sanctions regime and potentially, war.

But far from offering comfort, an in-depth review of the text of the deal and the administration’s arguments only drive home the deal’s flaws. There are many things to be concerned about by Obama’s failed diplomacy with Iran. But here are the 10 things that should worry Americans the most.

1) Secret Side Deals (Article 14; Annex I)

Iran struck two secret deals with the IAEA, the international body responsible for overseeing compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. First, the White House refused to acknowledge them. Then, it said was aware of the contents. Finally, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz admitted that they hadn’t read them at all. If our chief diplomat and the administration’s top nuclear expert haven’t reviewed documents crucial to defining the inspections, what kind of confidence can we have in the deal? The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act specifically requires all associated agreements to be submitted for congressional review, something which has yet to occur despite leaks indicating that Iran may essentially be allowed to “self-inspect” a key former nuclear research site.

2) No Transparency on Past Nuclear Weapons Programs (Article 14; Annex I)

The secret IAEA agreements reportedly address two topics: inspections at the Parchin military base where Iran tested components of a bomb, and the degree to which Iran must reveal its past weaponization efforts. Without full information, including access to the individuals involved in Iran’s illicit activities, inspectors can’t truly know whether Iran is keeping its end of the bargain and whether, in fact, Iran has completely halted these activities. In fact, press reports have indicated that Iran will turn in its own samples from Parchin — like letting known steroid-using baseball players provide their own urine samples. Iran’s officials, including its nuclear negotiators, continue to falsely claim that Iran’s past nuclear activities were entirely peaceful. If Iran is not willing to be honest about its past activities, why should we believe their assurances about their activities in the future?

3) Shoddy Inspections (Article 15; Annex I)

What happens if inspectors suspect violations at an unmonitored location? They can request a visit, kicking off a 24-day process that can stretch even longer if Iran stonewalls and the issue is eventually referred to the UN Security Council. The Obama administration says this is enough time to catch a violation that involves nuclear material. But Iran can still conduct other activities, from computer modeling to explosives testing, that it could easily hide in that time period. And leading experts say that Iran could easily move a small plant of advanced centrifuges without a trace. Meanwhile, a series of senior Iranian officials have said that the agreement will not require to Iran to provide access to military facilities, directly contradicting the Obama administration’s assertions and the IAEA is struggling to get physical access to the suspected nuclear weapons research site at a military facility at Parchin, which does not bode well for access to other suspected sites in the future.

4) Sanctions Relief is Not Tied to Iranian Behavior (Articles 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; Annex II)

Instead of lifting sanctions based on regular, rigorous assessments of Iranian compliance, the agreement front-loads relief. After Iran implements its initial requirements, it will not only receive upwards of $100 billion but also will receive increased access to the global economy and renewed investment from abroad. That means Iran can pocket all of those gains, violate the deal, and use its newfound wealth to thwart any U.S. attempt to reimpose sanctions. In the words of Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, “Once the structure of sanctions collapses, it will be impossible to reconstruct it.”

5) “Snapback Sanctions” that will Never be Imposed (Articles 36)

The process for reimposing sanctions in the event of a violation by Iran is determined by a commission in which Washington relies on Europe to vote with it. If a European country sides with Iran, there will be no sanctions. What’s more, the deal allows Iran to break off the agreement in response to any new sanctions. A violation would have to be large and obvious for the P5+1 to risk blowing up the pact — and Iran has mastered the art of cheating on the margins. The administration claims that incremental violations will be punished but it is unclear how the United States and its partners will do so without provoking an Iranian withdrawal from the agreement. Indeed, Iran’s lead negotiator told the Iranian parliament that “sanctions can be re-imposed on Iran only in case of serious violation of its obligations and not in the case of small-scale violations” and foreshadowing how delicate the deal’s understandings are, within weeks of the agreement being concluded, Iran accused the United States of being in “material breach” of the agreement due to comments made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

6) The Grandfather Clause and Non-Nuclear Sanctions (Articles 26 and 37)

If Washington somehow detected a violation and snapback sanctions were eventually invoked, it is unclear what the economic impact would be. That’s because under the deal, the text appears to imply that all existing contracts signed by Iran with foreign companies are grandfathered in and would not be subject to new sanctions. That could shield billions of dollars from sanctions. The Obama administration claims that there is no grandfather clause but Secretary Kerry has written yet to be publicly released letters to his European and Chinese counterparts reassuring them about how their national companies will be affected by any reimposition of U.S. sanctions. When asked in private meetings for their interpretations of the so-called grandfather clause, European officials have expressed conflicting interpretations to Senators. The agreement also states that the United States will “refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions” and notes that Iran states that reimposition of sanctions on entities or individuals removed as part of the agreement would lead to an end to the agreement. This severely limits the ability of the United States to target Iranian entities and individuals involved in terrorism or human rights abuses, as many of the financial institutions and some of the individuals currently set to receive relief continue to be involved in other illicit activities. The Obama administration claims that Article 26 does not preclude reimposition of sanctions for other purposes. Yet administration officials have been unwilling to commit to extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires at the end of 2016, highlighting the sensitivity of this issue for Iran.

7) Iran Keeps its Nuclear Facilities and U.S. Helps Defend Them (Articles 5 and 6; Annex III)

The Islamic Republic will keep and operate multiple nuclear facilities for a theoretical civilian nuclear energy program, which experts agree it has no need for. This dangerous precedent for the global nonproliferation regime will eventually allow an international-endorsed industrial size enrichment program in one of the world’s most stable region. Iran will be allowed to continue to operate facilities that were developed in secret for military purposes, including Fordow — a fortified nuclear facility constructed in a mountain. That, and much more: the agreement doesn’t require Iran to shutter a single installation. Alongside new research and development permitted by the deal, this surviving infrastructure will, in just over a decade, allow Iran to enrich enough uranium for a bomb in mere days. Meanwhile, the United States and the P5+1 have pledged to “strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage,” undermining one of the most effective tools that has been used to slow Iran’s nuclear program over the last decade.

8) Arming Iran and Assisting its Ballistic Missile Program (Annex II)

In five years, the deal will allow Iran to buy advanced Chinese and Russian arms — arms that will likely make their way to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran’s other terrorist proxies and be used to threaten Israel and American personnel in the region. The deal does nothing to halt Iran’s ballistic missile program and three years after the arms embargo expires, restrictions on international assistance to Iran’s ballistic missile program will also end. In five years, Iran can menace the region with new arms; in eight years, it can get international help for its efforts to make missiles built for only one purpose — delivering a nuclear weapon — that will eventually be able to strike America.

9) With Billions in Sanctions Relief, Iran Will Boost Terror and Threaten the Middle East

Flush with cash and arms, Iran will have even more opportunity to expand its influence across the Middle East and threaten its neighbors. As the Arab world deals with the aftermath of the Arab Spring, an empowered and enriched Iran will have an easy path to expanding its ambition and deepening the discord tearing the region apart — discord that directly threatens our interests. Even since the deal has been signed, Iranian-backed terror cells have been discovered in several Gulf countries and weapons have continued to flow to Hezbollah. This deal will result in the deaths of more Americans and Israelis and greater instability. President Obama has tried to threaten that the only alternative to this deal is war. The reality is that this deal makes conflict in an already unstable region, more, not less likely and makes any eventual military conflict to prevent a nuclear Iran more difficult.

10) Deal Sunset Guarantees a Nuclear Iran and a Polynuclear Middle East (Preamble and General Provisions)

Although certain elements of this deal last longer than fifteen years, the key restrictions on Iran’s centrifuge research and development will begin to be lifted after year eight of the agreement, allowing Iran to ramp up its enrichment capacity by year fifteen, when the remaining restrictions on enrichment disappear. This ensures that Iran will have an industrial-size enrichment capability after the deal concludes, putting Iran on the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability. By paving a path to Iranian nuclearization, the Obama administration has also paved a path for a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world. Saudi officials, for example, have already warned that they will try to match the capabilities we have permitted Iran, and other countries may follow — putting unstable adversaries a hair trigger away from a bomb and creating an uneasy standoff between multiple nuclear armed power, something the world has never had to deal with since the dawn of the nuclear age.

These are just ten problems with this fundamentally flawed deal. There are many more. This deal will provide the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism with upwards of $100 billion to use at it sees fit just as Iran is expanding its support for terror and instability throughout the Middle East. This deal endorses an eventual industrial-scale enrichment program that Iran has no peaceful use for and will likely lead to a cascade of proliferation in the Middle East. It establishes a shaky verification regime that does not require Iran to fully come clean regarding its past illicit activities. Iran’s leaders will be allowed to continue to lie to their people and to the world about their past activities. It abandons Americans who have been unjustly detained by the Iranian regime. It does nothing to alleviate the clerical regime’s repression of the Iranian people. The only people who benefit from this agreement are those radicals in the Iranian regime who wish Americans and our allies such as Israel harm. If Iran successfully exploits this deal over the next fifteen years, our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences as they face a nuclear-armed foe dedicated to the destruction of America and Israel.

These are the facts that Obama administration officials continue to obfuscate and respond to with the offensive assertion that the agreement’s critics are making common cause with Iranian “hardliners” who have American blood on their hands. This deal empowers one of America’s most dangerous enemies and fundamentally weakens our security. If President Obama proceeds without congressional support and I am elected President, I will reimpose sanctions on Iran on day one and ensure that this deal is discarded on the ash heap of history where it belongs.

Climate justice activists call for renewed strategy to address stalled political action
  • Climate justice activists call for renewed strategy to address stalled political action
  • Tadzio Muller

As United Nations climate talks continue this week in Germany, the International Energy Agency released a new report showing that the planet is on track to see a temperature rise between 3.6 and 5.3 °C. That increase could be more than double the 2 degree threshold previously set as a way to limit the impacts of climate change. Speaking in London, the IEA’s Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said that climate change has “slipped to the back burner of policy priorities” and urged world leaders to take more significant actions. CO2 emissions increased worldwide last year by 1.4 percent, according to the Agency, reaching a record high of more than 31 billion tons. But it’s not just elected officials who aren’t doing enough to stop global warming. Some environmentalists say the activist community should also be doing more. Pacifica Radio’s Ernesto Aguilar spoke to climate justice activist Tadzio Muller at last weekend’s Left Forum in New York.