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Comentary: The Micah Report

Middle Eastern Analyst Micah Halpern

Iran Finds Oil in Caspian

By Micah Halpern

Tuesday May 22, 2012

Iran just discovered a very large oil deposit in the Caspian Sea. It is the first new oil to be discovered in the Caspian in over 100 years. Estimates place the find at 10-15 billion barrels.

The Iranians were drilling deep. They went 1.5 miles down in very windy areas that had until now discouraged drilling. They were actually looking for natural gas and they found crude oil.

This will amount to 7-10% of Iran’s reserves and it will give them a huge boost at a time where they really need it.

The oil deposit is located in an area in the North far away from the Gulf and from the areas patrolled and monitored by the international community. The Caspian Sea provides a great set of outlets for the oil that will allow for the smuggling of natural resources right under the watchful eyes of international observers.All in all, this is great news – for Iran.

Israel & China
By Micah Halpern

Monday May 21, 2012

I’m Predicting:

Yesterday, Benny Gantz, Israel’s Military Chief of Staff, took off on a spontaneous visit to China.

Gantz and had accepted an invite from China’s Vice President Xi Jinping. According to almost everyone, within the next few months Xi Jinping will become the next premier of China.

Gantz and Israel have important contacts that need cementing in China.

There will certainly be talk about Iran. No doubt Gantz and Xi Jinping will also speak about oil and of course, nuclear proliferation.

China wants to know if Israel intends to strike Iran. If yes, when?
Israel wants to know how much control China can exert on Iran. They want to know how effective that control can be and whether China can, with certainty, say that Iran is not interested in nuclear weapons -not in selling them and not in launching them.

I await the reports from this very important visit.

Iran’s Budget
By Micah Halpern

Sunday May 20, 2012

I’ve Been Thinking:

Iran passed their 2013 budget. It is equivalent to a whopping $462 billion.

This new budget is a reduction of 9% from the 2012 allocation. Iran is tightening its belt. Next year will be more difficult for them, especially if the cost of oil drops and the Iranians know that full well.

If, however, the cost of oil stays at $100/ barrel Iran will more than likely have more than enough to cover the budget.

That is what happened in the last quarter of 2011. The sanctions began to work and more and more countries began applying pressure on Iran. Just as the Western world began to believe that there was a chance that serious pressure could be brought upon the Iranians – the price of oil increased and so did Iran’s profits.

Just this week Iraq overtook Iran as the second largest oil exporter in the region. And the price of oil per barrel has continued to drop and remains below $100.

These are signs that we must monitor closely.

Amadinejad to the Olympics
By Micah Halpern

Saturday May 19, 2012

I’m Predicting:

The President of Iran has announced that he wants to attend this year’s summer Olympics hosted in London.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he wants to accompany his young athletes and show them support. The statement was covered in great detail by the Iranian news media, explaining just how much pride the Iranian team brings to the Islamic Republic.

Great Britain, however, is not very pleased with the Iranian leaders desire to attend. It is not yet clear if an official request has been submitted by the Iranians.

Given the nature of the Olympics and the important message of the Games which is that the Olympics is above politics and symbolizes the ability of nations to compete in the sports arena and not fight battles that threaten and endanger human lives – it would be highly unlikely for England to deny this request.

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