Pressure on Iran continues, and ray of hope in confrontation is not visible. The U.S. persuades the major importers of Iranian oil to minimize the volume of purchases and buy it from other producers, and continues to introduce new sanctions to restrict international trade with that country (insurance of Iranian oil shipping, visa, financial, on-line business, and others).
Iran, in turn, takes countermeasures, putting forward its own terms for the continuation of oil supplies to Europe, fixing the official exchange rate of the dollar, receiving payment in rupees, yen and yuan for the sold oil and announces positive results achieved last year in the economy, despite the pressure. According to Iranian mass media outlets, with reference to official Iranian sources, Iran increased its exports of petrochemical products, expanding the geography of markets in Asia and Latin America, and sold from the beginning of the year 16 million tons worth $12 billion (a 28-per cent increase compared to last year). Iran's non-oil exports increased, reaching for the ten months $39 billion. Oil production has not decreased in February compared to January, reaching 3.5 million barrels per day. Exports of major petroleum products in the past 11 months increased significantly: gasoline - by 47 per cent, kerosene - 100 per cent, gasoil 363 per cent. Steel production for the 11 months amounted to 12.9 million tonnes (a 11-per cent increase against last year), gold-currency reserves increased by 30 billion, reaching $110 billion in 2011. These are only a few examples.
Nevertheless, pressure on Iran is growing every day, and in such circumstances, it is important for Iran to have normal relations, first of all, with neighboring countries, which it tries to do. Recently, Iran and Armenia signed a new agreement under which Iran will supply to the neighboring country gasoline, diesel, kerosene and jet fuel. The parties also agreed to build an oil terminal on the border between the countries. Also recently Iran has signed with Georgia economic cooperation agreement, which will cover tourism, agriculture, transport, trade of food and medicines. Since Iran and Azerbaijan have recently spat out, but visit the Foreign Minister of Iran to Azerbaijan to discuss and resolve issues is expected the other day.
The pressure increases not only on Iran itself, but also on its neighbors to the east and west - Pakistan and Syria.
As for Pakistan it is a project to build a major gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan with a capacity of 21.5 million cubic meters to a maximum of 110 million cubic meters of gas per day. Recently at a meeting in Islamabad, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated his commitment to the Iranian president to implement the project, and a few days ago, Iran agreed to provide $250 million Pakistan to finance the construction of the pipeline. In response, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that if the project moves from words to deeds, the U.S. will take tough measures. "We believe that the start of construction of this pipeline, no matter Iranian or a joint project, would mean a violation of the law on sanctions against Iran. So we all know, what the implications of such a step are, which can be particularly damaging to Pakistan, given its so very fragile economy," the Secretary of State warned. Perhaps now the main goal is not to prevent the construction of the pipeline itself, which will be ready in the best case in 2014 (apparently, nobody is going to delay the Iranian nuclear issue before this time), but to achieve in the short term cooling of the Pakistan-Iran relations in case Islamabad abandons or procrastinates decision.
Given the close relationship between Iran and Syria, all hidden and explicit ties between Tehran and Damascus, it can be said that the current Syrian regime is the kind of the first layer of defense for Iran, taking away attention, time and effort from the forces of anti-Iranian coalition, and if it falls, pressure on Iran will be amplified. However, the flywheel has already been spun, and it is clear that the Assad government is doomed, if suddenly intervention of the third force doesn't appear. Perhaps the last hope for Assad is really tough, inappropriate position of the new Russian president in support of the regime.
Iran has still time. Military intervention will not take place until such time when the U.S. and its allies continue to have doubt that at least one shell could fall into the Israeli territory. Second, what can be said with confidence is that none of the neighboring country of Iran desires a military solution to this crisis.Azer Ahmedbeyli