Communist China’s ravenous energy appetite has fueled its growing political and economic ties with Iran’s revolutionary government. On July 21, Iran’s Pars Oil & Gas Company and China’s CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corp.) finalized contracts to exploit Iran’s North Pars gas field.
Thomas Schweich, recently retired principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and coordinator for counternarcotics and justice reform in Afghanistan, alleges that the Afghan regime is shielding its country’s illicit drug trade.
U.S. troops in Afghanistan may soon find themselves squeezed in a new political power play in Kabul. Gulbadin Hekmatyar, leader of the radical Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), is being invited by President Hamid Karzai (almost certainly under U.S. State Department pressure) to end his long insurgency and join the Afghan government.
Chinese officials announced on May 26 that owing to the massive devastation caused by the May 12 earthquake, the communist regime’s harsh family planning policy of only one child per family would allow exemptions for those parents whose only child was killed or severely injured by the quake.
On the last day of April, according to a CNN report, Iran’s government confirmed that it has begun selling its oil in euros and in yen, something it has long threatened to do. After a failed attempt during last year’s summit of OPEC leaders to persuade the cartel to begin selling its oil for currencies other than the dollar, at which Iranian President Ahmadinejad called the falling U.S. dollar a “worthless piece of paper,” Iran has begun unilaterally selling its oil for currencies that, of late, have been far stronger internationally than the dollar.
On April 18, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi — who is in Japan as an advance man for Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit in May — that the unrest in Tibet has become an international issue. The Beijing government maintains that the ongoing protests and suppression of freedom in Tibet are a domestic matter.