Gulf in the News – November 12, 2013

Rashed expects Assembly will be dissolved shortly

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

MP Ali Al-Rashed reiterated yesterday his expectations that the National Assembly is likely to be dissolved very soon, even before the highly anticipated ruling of the constitutional court. Rashed, the speaker of the previous Assembly which was scrapped by the constitutional court in June, said, “I still expect the Assembly to be scrapped and could even be dissolved (by the Amir) before the constitutional court ruling” on Dec 23. The lawmaker’s comments came after a veiled criticism by head of the constitutional court Youssef Al-Mutawa to similar statements made by him on Sunday in which he said he expected the court to scrap the July parliamentary elections because of flawed procedures.

Deal struck on wider UN inspections of Iran sites

Source: Saudi Gazette (Read full story)

Iran agreed on Monday to allow expanded UN monitoring at the country’s nuclear sites, including at a new reactor, state TV reported, in a deal that could boost wider negotiations over Tehran’s atomic program. The deal was struck during talks in Tehran with the UN nuclear chief as part of a parallel initiative to the broader efforts underway to ease Western concerns that Iran could one day develop nuclear weapons — an assertion Iran denies. The promise to grant wider access to UN nuclear inspectors could help push forward talks between Iran and world powers, which failed to reach a deal over the weekend but are scheduled to resume next week in Geneva.

Qatar pitches for green energy

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

A right balance has to be found between development and environment to meet the growing energy demand from increasing population in the GCC region and elsewhere, said HE the Minister of Energy and Industry Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada. The GCC population is expected to reach 53.5mn by 2020.  This is a 30% increase over 2000. In the same period, the real GDP of the six-member countries was expected to grow by 56%, al-Sada said in his keynote address at the 2nd Doha Carbon and Energy Forum at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) yesterday. “Such intense growth will place unprecedented pressures on energy sources, as well as on energy-intensive water desalination.  Effectively, adding more energy and greenhouse gas challenges.

Total ready to resume business with Iran: CEO

Source: Tehran Times (Read full story)

Total SA, Europe’s biggest oil refiner, will resume business with Iran if diplomatic talks lead to the removal of sanctions, Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said at a conference in Abu Dhabi. The return of Iran to the international community would be beneficial for its neighboring countries including the Persian Gulf Arab states, the top international oil executive has said. Speaking at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (Adipec), Christophe de Margerie, Chief Executive Officer of French energy company Total, said that while his comments may not be welcomed by some in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) region, it was important to understand the advantages of sanctions against Iran being removed.

Saudi King discusses a number mutual issues with Lebanese president

Source: Kuwait News Agency (Read full story)

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud met Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on Monday and discussed a number of issues of mutual concern. According to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the two sides also discussed the latest developments on the regional and international arenas and the two countries’ stances towards them. The Saudi King and Lebanese President discussed aspects of cooperation between the two countries and ways to enhance them in the interest of the two peoples and countries in all fields. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques welcomed the Lebanese president and his accompanying delegation, wishing them a good stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For his part, the Lebanese President thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the warm reception.

Russia’s Iran policy in transition

Source: Al Monitor (Read full story)

At the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program in Geneva, progress was made. Although the first round ended without a deal, unusually optimistic forecasts are being heard about the second round, on Nov. 20. It seems that Iran and the United States, the main participants in the process, really want to change the atmosphere of their relationship, which has been hopelessly confrontational since the late 1970s. The current stage differs from all previous efforts in that the participants are trying to get out of the rut that these discussions have always been in, and not just on the Iranian issue. Specifically, sanctions are never removed. Once imposed, they can only be increased, up to the use of force. Moscow is following the events with great interest (basically, this is the model that Russia has always advocated), but also with caution.