Iran

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Proxy War Escalates: Russia Lifts Ban On Selling Anti-Aircraft Missiles To Iran





UPDATE: *RUSSIA WILL SUPPLY S-300 TO IRAN QUICKLY: INTERFAX

We showed yesterday the web of interconnected rifts and relationships among The Middle East's local and proxy war members and it seems this morning tensions are escalating once again. As Bloomberg reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday lifting a ban on the delivery of S-300 anti-missile rocket systems to Iran. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 under pressure from the West following UN sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.

 
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China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar Surge





If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v

 
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How NSA Surveillance Was Birthed From The Pre 9/11 Drug War





The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA’s intelligence arm, was the government’s first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched...

 
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No Longer Quiet On The Eastern Front (Part 3)





The Middle East’s ongoing descent into chaos and China’s impending ascendancy to the status of global superpower are just two of the many threats that the US, European Union and Russia all share.  Each of these issues should certainly occupy a higher position on their respective agendas than the breakup of Ukraine or the insolvency of Greece.  Leaders of all three governments would be well-advised to set aside their differences, or at least to prevent those differences from obstructing cooperation on more important issues.  Unlike its predecessor, the Second Cold War will not be bilateral.  Today’s world is far more chaotic, kinetic and dangerous than it was fifty years ago.

 
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Two Iran Officers Captured In Yemen





In a move that, if confirmed, is certain to escalate the Yemen conflict which as a reminder is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, overnight local media first, and Reuters subsequently, reported that local militiamen in the southern Yemeni city of Aden said they captured two Iranian military officers advising Houthi rebels, during fighting on Friday evening.

 
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How Much Longer Can OPEC Hold Out?





OPEC has been in the line of fire from the western world in light of its stance of not reducing the production levels of its member nations (excluding Iran). Most view this as a strategy to squeeze the American shale production and other non OPEC nations. How much longer can it hold out?

 
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Iran Unveils "Suicide Drones" Amid Nuclear Deal Talks





While the deal to discuss the deal that may or may not become a deal in June is still lingering in the news cycle, it seems Iran (fresh from its demands for complete sanctions lifting) is comfortable with some sabre-rattling. As the Washington Times reports, citing U.S. Army analysis, Iran’s army is creating military explosive-mounted killer drones, increasing the risk for Israeli and U.S. ships in the Gulf. So while all eyes are firmly focused on the threat of nukes, the US military reports states that "no aspect of Iran’s overt military program has seen as much development over the past decade as Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles.. promises to make American operations in both the Persian Gulf and Gulf Aden [at the Red Sea] more complicated."

 
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Asia Superbubble Unstoppable: Hong Kong Up 10% In Past Week; Soaring Dollar Pushes Euro Back Under 1.06





Overnight market news was once again driven by the Asian superbubble, where as expected, the Hang Seng (+1.22%) soared once more and is now up 9.5% for the week, following news the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEx) expects it will "substantially increase" quotas for the stock connect program between Hong Kong and Shanghai, HKEx Chief Executive Charles Li said on Friday. The exchange could boost the current quotas, which cap how much mainland investors can buy Hong Kong stocks and vice versa under the trading link, by more than 20 or 30 percent, Li said at a media briefing in Hong Kong. Li did not give a precise date for when the quotas would be raised, but one thing is clear: everyone in China, and Hong Kong, must be all in stocks if the Chinese housing bubble can not be reflated. The Shanghai Comp closed higher by almost 2.0% following better than expected Chinese inflation data, while HK stocks continued their recent rally to closer higher by 9.5% for the week.

 
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"Saudi Arabia Is Going For it" - Why The Saudis Just Boosted Oil Production To A Record High





Instead of leaving its own production flat in an attempt to stabilize oil prices and hit its "optimistic" outlook sooner rather than never, Saudi Arabia would boost production quite sharply to claw back market share. Specifically al-Naimi, revealed that the kingdom’s oil production in March was 10.3-million barrels a day – a record high. .. Why is Saudi Arabia opening the spigot? There is no doubt that country’s own domestic demand is rising, thanks to heavy investment in new refineries, requiring more production. But it also appears that Saudi Arabia is making renewed push for market share for fear that a gusher of Iranian oil will soon hit the export markets as the Iranian embargo is ratcheted back

 
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America's Intervention Legacy: "Iraq Is Finished"





As the international community struggles to understand how the interplay between a series of US foreign policy failures and geopolitical wrangling over what are viewed as “strategic” Middle Eastern states has somehow managed to produce multiple bloody proxy wars, there are many who still ask: “Who is ISIS?” A new piece from The Atlantic seeks answers from Iraqis with first-hand experience.

 
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Despite Constant Saudi Bombing, Yemen Rebels Advance, Seize Key Town; Ayatollah Trolls US, Saudis on Twitter





It appears that when the US inadvertantly "misplaced" $500 million of weapons in Yemen, the bulk of which fell right in Houthi rebel hands, it created a very credible adversary... for the US and its Saudi-backed coalition allies. Because despite the bombing campaign by the Saudi-headed coalition, AP reports that the rebels seized a key provincial capital in a heavily Sunni tribal area on Thursday as their patron Iran called the two-week air campaign a "crime" and appealed for peace talks. According to media reports the Houthius overran Ataq, capital of the oil-rich southeastern Shabwa province, after days of airstrikes and clashes with local Sunni tribes. The capture marked the rebels' first significant gain since the Saudi-led bombing began.

 
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Iran Dictates "Deal" Conditions To Obama, Demands All Sanctions Lifted On "Same Day"





If there was any confusion whether Iran thought it had gotten the best of John Kerry and the Obama administration as a result of the non-deal April 2 "framework" announcement for some future possible deal, it can be swept away following a Reuters report that Iran will only sign a final nuclear accord with six world powers if all sanctions imposed over its disputed atomic work are lifted on the same day, President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Thursday.

 
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Frontrunning: April 9





  • Greece pleads cash running out, told to hasten reforms (Reuters)
  • ECB Cash Said Likely to Fall Short of Greek Request This Week (BBG)
  • Chinese Stock Buying Frenzy Sweeps Into Hong  (WSJ)
  • Shell’s $70 Billion BG Deal Meets Shareholder Skepticism (BBG)
  • Yemen's Houthis seize provincial capital despite Saudi-led raids (Reuters)
  • Iran Nuclear Deal Gives Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Reason to Worry (WSJ)
  • Slow apps, low battery life limit appeal of Apple Watch (Reuters)
  • Gilead’s $1,000 Pill Is Hard for States to Swallow (WSJ)
  • The Oil Industry's $26 Billion Life Raft (BBG)
 
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US Dollar Surge Returns, Pushes Equity Futures Lower





As noted several hours ago, the main story overnight is not that Greece once again narrowly averted a Grexit when it was reported it would make its scheduled payment to the IMF today (adding that next month is a "different story") a development that was met with yet another ultimatum by its "partner", the Eurozone, but the dot com bubble deja vu-esque move in Hong Kong stocks, where the Chinese, seemingly tired of pushing up their local market into the stratosphere have turned their attention southward and are desperate to buy up every single Hong Kong stock.

 
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Iran Enters Hornets Nest: Parks Two Warships Off Yemen Coast Immediately Next To Two US Aircraft Carriers





The 34th fleet of the Iranian Navy has left for the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab Strait in line with the country’s policy of safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region. The flotilla, which comprises the Bushehr logistic vessel and Alborz destroyer, left Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas on Wednesday, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on the sidelines of a ceremony to deploy the fleet.  And now the punchline: the two Iran warships will now be located in the immediate vicinity of not only two US aircraft carriers, CVN-71 Teddy Roosevelt and CVN-70 Vinson, but well as the big-deck amphibious warship Iwo Jima which as reported before is providing marine support should the situation demand it.

 
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