10242014Fri

Turkish police destroy smuggler's oil pipeline with Iran

By Seyhmus Cakan

DIYARBAKIR (Reuters) - Turkish authorities have shut down a small pipeline built by smugglers to carry illegal oil from Iran, officials said on Monday, a new twist as Western sanctions against Tehran bite.

Along with the 3-km (1.9-mile) pipeline, Turkish security forces dismantled a rudimentary, hillside refinery with storage capacity of 25,000 liters of crude near the town of Semdinli in Hakkari province, the governor's office said in a statement.

On Friday, the United States extended 180-day waivers on sanctions aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program to Turkey, China, India and other countries in exchange for their reducing purchases of Iranian oil.

Before U.S. and European Union sanctions, Turkey imported more than half of its crude from Iran. It slashed Iranian oil purchases by 20 percent in June, though imports have fluctuated in the months since.

Security forces fighting Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas, which have waged a 28-year armed campaign in the region, stumbled upon the makeshift smugglers' operation on Saturday, the governor's office said.

"A 3,000 meter pipe was installed to the facility from Iranian territory," it said. "Rooms with generators behind the storage facility were discovered."

Fuel from Iran and Iraq has been smuggled into Turkey since at least the first Gulf War in 1991, much of it sneaked past customs officials by road or in containers strapped to the backs of donkeys through difficult mountainous terrain.

Running contraband across Turkey's eastern frontier is a treacherous business. The military killed 35 smugglers in December 2011 in an air raid after mistaking them for members of the PKK, considered a terrorist group by Ankara, the European Union and the United States.

It was not immediately clear who had built the link and refinery and no arrests had been made, police said.

(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Dubai, writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; editing by Nick Tattersall and James Jukwey)

Search

Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE