Yikes! It’s real!
Published on 28 Feb 2017
Published on 28 Feb 2017
Where I live, Victoria, BC, Canada, the average price for a room, a room, not a bachelor, is $700 per month. This is insane.
If you make minimum wage, you can’t afford to live on your own in virtually any Canadian city, a new study says.
According to a report released Thursday by a leading research institute, the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives (CCPA), if you’re looking for a two-bedroom, you’d be shut out of 97 percent of the 795 neighbourhoods where rental information is publicly available. You’re shut out of 91 percent of cities if you’re looking for a one-bedroom.
Given that one-third or 4.7 million households across the country, rent rather than own, the “affordability crisis” highlighted in the data is significant. According to the report’s author, renters are often low-income earners, millennials and Gen Z, or newcomers to the country.
“There’s a big group of people who don’t make a lot but are working full-time and they can’t afford to rent in big cities. The people who live in downtown Toronto are not just bankers. They’re also the people that staff lunch counters, people that drive in the food, clean those offices,” said CCPA senior economist David Macdonald. “They might be throwing up their hands because they’re being pushed out of the downtown on the real estate side and the rental side.”
The study honed in on “rental wage,” meaning the hourly wage a person needs to make in order to be able to rent a place using no more than 30 percent of their pre-tax income, which is the widely-used threshold for housing affordability. The national rental wage for an average-priced one-bedroom apartment is $20.20 per hour, which works out to $42,016 annually. That’s significantly higher than minimum wage anywhere in the country.
The rental wage climbs in the most expensive markets. It’s highest in Vancouver at $35.43, or $73,695 annually. Framed another way, that means someone making minimum wage of $13.85 an hour in Vancouver, would have to work 84 hours a week to afford the average-priced one-bedroom apartment, or in the case of a single-parent or single-earner household, 112 hours a week for a two-bedroom apartment.
Rental wages are also steepest in Toronto ($33.70 hourly or $70,096 annually), Calgary ($26.97 hourly or $56,098 annually) and Ottawa ($26.08 hourly or $54,247 annually). For context, it’s important to consider that 25 percent of workers earn within $3 of minimum wage.
This issue disproportionately affects young, low-income workers who can’t afford to buy into many Canadian housing markets, and are feeling the rental squeeze in most urban cities. The federal Liberals’ 10-year National Housing Strategy includes increasing the supply of rentals—boosting supply is expected to bring rental costs down. But based on the current trajectory, the majority of those rental units won’t open their doors until the late 2020s.
In the meantime, the details of a new rent supplement for low-income tenants are being worked out and they’ll average about $2,500 a year. Based on Macdonald’s calculations, that brings down rental wages by about $4 an hour. That initiative has a maximum budget of $750 million, which means it will only extend to about 12 percent of renters struggling with affordability—but many millennials aren’t likely to be eligible.
“The budget cap on this program is tight and it’s being negotiated right now with the provinces. What will likely happen is strict criteria will be put on who accesses it. In some cases, it will be based on who is very low income, who has children and seniors. And everybody else would be cut out,” said Macdonald.
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Damn you US puppet politicians! The Crimean population voted 94% to rejoin Russia. Stop spreading American lies Canada!
Earlier this month, Canada hosted the third Ukraine Reform Conference, a gathering of diplomats and officials from over 100 countries aimed at bringing Kiev even more directly under the geopolitical and economic domination of the western imperialist powers.
After meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the conference sidelines, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed “to stand with Ukraine against Russian interference and aggression,” and to support it in the struggle to end Russia’s “illegal annexation” of Crimea.
Trudeau’s portrayal of Russia as the aggressor in Ukraine and Eastern Europe turns reality on its head. It conceals the fact that Canada played a major supporting role in the US-orchestrated, fascist-spearheaded February 2014 coup that chased Ukraine’s elected president from power and brought a far-right, pro-western regime to power in Kiev; and that the 2014 coup was the continuation of a longstanding US-led, Canadian-backed drive to expand NATO to Russia’s borders and harness Ukraine to the West.
Moreover, Canadian imperialism has been playing a leading role in the subsequent US-NATO war drive against Russia. This includes supporting Washington’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia; taking command and providing the bulk of the troops for one of NATO’s four new “forward deployed” battalions in Poland and the three Baltic states; and deploying 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel to Ukraine since 2015 to help prepare its army and National Guard to, in Trudeau’s words, “liberate” Ukrainian territory.
But Canada’s intimate alliance with far-right Ukrainian nationalists did not begin in 2014, or even Dec. 1991, when Canada became the first western country to recognize Ukraine as a sovereign state. In the decades following World War II, Canada became a haven for far-right Ukrainian nationalists, many of whom had collaborated with the Nazis both in their drive to find “lebensraum” (living space) through the conquest of the Soviet Union and their genocidal “final solution to the Jewish problem.”
Under conditions of the postwar US-led military-strategic offensive against the Soviet Union—what euphemistically came to be known as the Cold War—these ultra-reactionary political forces came to be seen as useful allies due to their virulent anticommunism and hostility to anything and anyone associated with the Soviet Union.
In the immediate postwar period, Canada’s then Liberal government, working in close cahoots with US and British intelligence, opened Canada’s doors to Ukrainian Nazi collaborators. These included members of the infamous 14th Grenadier Division of the Waffen SS, also known as the Galicia Division.
Among the beneficiaries of this policy was Mikhail Chomiak, the grandfather of current Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Chomiak served as editor of a pro-Nazi Ukrainian nationalist newspaper during the war, Krakivs ’ ki Visti, which used publishing equipment commandeered by the Nazis from a Jewish newspaper they had shut down. Chomiak emigrated to northern Alberta after fleeing to Vienna in late 1944 in the face of the advancing Red Army (see: Canadian media denounces exposure of foreign minister’s grandfather as Nazi collaborator).
The scale of the influx of Nazi collaborators only became public knowledge in the 1980s. A comprehensive study carried out by Alti Rodal on behalf of the federal government-appointed Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in Canada uncovered records proving that US intelligence agents in Europe had funneled Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe through the Canadian immigration system using false papers. Rodal revealed that large numbers of identically typed applications were received by Canada’s immigration department from one address in West Germany. On closer inspection, this address turned out to be a US military base.
The Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney established the Deschênes Commission in 1985, in response to a mounting public outcry over exposures of Nazis and Nazi accomplices who had found a safe haven in Canada and tasked the inquiry with identifying Nazi war criminals residing in Canada.
Around the same time, the Simon Wiesenthal Center estimated that upwards of 2,000 Nazis and Nazi collaborators emigrated to Canada in the years after the war. A quarter-century later, in 2011, it would give Canada an “F minus” in its annual report ranking countries on their efforts to prosecute war criminals. This placed Canada on a par with Ukraine and the former Baltic republics, i.e. countries where the right-wing, nationalist regimes that have emerged since the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union openly venerate the ultranationalists who aligned with the Nazis when they invaded the USSR.
A significant number of those who made their way to Canada were members of the Nazi SS’s Galicia Division, which was made up of Ukrainian nationalist volunteers who fought on the side of the Wehrmacht against the Red Army during the Nazis’ war of annihilation against the Soviet Union. This preplanned onslaught—launched in June 1941 when a 3 million-strong force comprised of German troops, their Axis allies and fascist volunteers invaded the Soviet Union—led to the deaths of 27 million Soviet citizens and the Holocaust.
In waging war, suppressing the population, and pursuing the annihilation of the Jews, across Eastern Europe and above all in the USSR, Hitler’s Wehrmacht and SS shock troops relied on the loyal collaboration of ultraright-wing, anti-Semitic forces. Among the Ukrainian nationalists, in both occupied Poland and the USSR, the Nazis found eager collaborators. The Galicia Division was formed in 1943 out of a faction of the Stepan Bandera-led Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists Bandera (OUN-B) and fought with the Nazis against the Red Army throughout 1944.
Massacres perpetrated by the division against Polish and Jewish civilians have been well documented, including at Huta Pieniacka, Podkamien, and Palikrowy. At Podkamien, 100 Polish civilians were massacred in a hilltop monastery, and at least a further 500 in surrounding villages as the Red Army approached the German-occupied area in March 1944.
Members of the Galicia Division were initially prohibited from entering Canada due to their membership in the SS. But in 1950, Britain made an appeal to the Commonwealth for volunteers to accept a total of 9,000 division members who were at that time residing in the UK after being disarmed by British troops at the war’s end.
When Canada’s External Affairs Department, prompted by complaints from the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), raised concerns about the division’s ties to the Nazis and role in Nazi atrocities, the British government insisted that it had carried out background checks. “While in Italy these men were screened by Soviet and British missions and neither then nor subsequently has any evidence been brought to light which would suggest that any of them fought against the Western Allies or engaged in crimes against humanity,” claimed the British Foreign Office. “Their behaviour since they came to this country,” added London, “has been good and they have never indicated in any way that they are infected with any trace of Nazi ideology.”
With this letter serving as political cover, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and his cabinet declared that Galicia Division members would be permitted to immigrate to Canada unless it could be proved that they had personally committed atrocities against civilian populations based on “race, religion or national origins.” Simply having been a Galicia Division member would not be considered a valid reason to prevent entry, even though after the war all Waffen-SS members had been deemed complicit in war crimes.
The immigration of Nazi and Nazi-allied war criminals continued for more than a decade after the war and was a significant factor in Canada’s emergence during the Cold War as a political-ideological centre of far-right Ukrainian nationalism.
Speaking to a CBS “60 Minutes” programme in 1997, Canadian historian Irving Abella, who is currently Professor for Canadian Jewish history at York University, bluntly summed up the political climate of the time. “One way of getting into postwar Canada,” he said “was by showing the SS tattoo. This proved that you were an anti-Communist.”
Ottawa carried out this policy in close collaboration with US authorities, who similarly permitted ex-Nazis to settle in the US and recruited hundreds to act as spies against the Soviet Union and the Soviet-allied regimes in Eastern Europe. According to investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau, up to 1,000 former Nazis were made use of by the CIA in Europe, within the US itself, the Middle East, and in Latin America.
The open-door policy towards Nazi collaborators stood in stark contrast to the cold shoulder given by Canada to Jews desperately fleeing persecution. Abella coauthored a well-known book, None is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, which was published in 1983 just prior to the establishment of the Deschênes Commission. Abella and Harold Troper detailed how Canada accepted a mere 5,000 Jewish refugees between 1936 and 1945. Most infamously, Canada was among the countries to refuse to provide asylum to the 900 Jewish refugees on the ship the MS St Louis, which sailed from Hamburg for the Americas in April 1939. Canada’s refusal to accept any of the refugees forced the St. Louis to return to Europe, where over 200 of its passengers later died in the Holocaust.
Due to the continued high-level protection members of the Galicia Division enjoyed from the government and other establishment circles, the Deschênes commission granted the Brotherhood of Veterans of the First Division of the Ukrainian National Army (Galicia Division) special intervener status in its hearings. This meant it was able to cross-examine testimony from witnesses, as well as make use of the standard right to submit legal documents and provide its own testimony.
The Nazi War Criminals commission also refused Soviet offers to gather testimony in the USSR, on the purported grounds that Moscow had refused to allow Canadian officials to interrogate witnesses in accordance with Canadian rules of evidence.
Outrageously, the Deschênes commission exonerated the Galicia Division of any wrongdoing in its December 1986 final report. Its most important findings in this connection read: “The Galicia Division (14 Waffengrenadierdivision der SS [gal. Nr. 1]) should not be indicted as a group,” and “Charges of war crimes against members of the Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission.”
The commission also summarily dismissed the charge that hundreds, if not thousands, of Nazi and Nazi-allied war criminals had immigrated to Canada, declaring these figures to be “grossly exaggerated.”
Another Ukrainian nationalist outfit given special representation rights before the Deschênes commission was the Ukrainian Canadian Committee (UCC), which has since renamed itself the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. In 1950, the UCC had successfully campaigned for the lifting of the ban on Galicia Division veterans entering the country.
The UCC continues to uphold the legacy of the Galicia Division. On Remembrance Day in 2010, the organisation saluted Ukrainian veterans of the Waffen SS as fighters for “freedom of their ancestral Ukrainian homeland.” The press release came from Paul Grod, the current head of the UCC. Grod has accompanied both Trudeau and his predecessor, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on their trips to the Ukraine.
Nobody should believe that the Canadian ruling elite’s defence of pro-Nazi war criminals is a thing of the past.
In 2015, Vladimir Katriuk, a Ukrainian and member of the SS during World War II, died in Quebec at the age of 93. His personal fate exemplifies how the Canadian state actively connived to ensure Nazi war criminals escaped justice.
Katriuk, who came to Canada under a false name in 1951, was accused of war crimes, the most documented of which was his participation in a the Khatyn massacre, carried out in what is now Belarus, in early 1943. In the last years of Katriuk’s life, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre placed his name near the top of its list of the ten most-wanted war criminals.
Katriuk’s case first came to prominence in 1999, when a federal court ruled that he had gained Canadian citizenship on false pretenses, because he had neglected to inform Canadian immigration officials about his Nazi past. After a lengthy period of deliberation, the Conservative government decided in 2007 that it would not revoke Katriuk’s citizenship and claimed there was insufficient evidence for him to be charged with war crimes.
Katriuk, who later joined the SS, was identified by multiple sources as being a machine gunner at the Khatyn massacre, which occurred on 22 March 1943. A total of 149 villagers were either burnt alive or shot by members of Battalion 118, a volunteer auxiliary police battalion of which Katriuk was a member, with the support of a Waffen SS unit. Evidence of his participation in other lesser known crimes has also been documented, as mentioned in a 2012 article by Swedish academic Per Anders Rudling.
Even in the last weeks of his life, when a Russian extradition request was submitted for the Ukrainian-born Katriuk, a spokeswoman for the Conservative government justified Canada’s refusal to allow Katriuk’s extradition to face trial on the basis of the political situation in Russia and its alleged “aggression” against Ukraine. “While I cannot comment on any specific extradition request, to be clear, we will never accept or recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea or the illegal occupation of any sovereign Ukrainian territory,” a spokeswoman for then Justice Minister Peter McKay declared.
Nothing has changed under Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. Anxious to cover up the ultraright-wing character of the forces Ottawa and Washington have allied with in their drive to harness Ukraine to western imperialism and these forces’ ties to the Ukrainian nationalist collaborators with the Nazis, Foreign Minister Freeland has denounced the revelations of her grandfather’s ties to the Nazis as Russian-orchestrated “disinformation.”
When Trudeau visited Ukraine in 2016, he was accompanied by a strong UCC delegation and members of the Army SOS group, set up to procure military equipment for the pro-Kiev volunteer militias, which are drawn overwhelmingly from far-right, fascistic groups.
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The killing of three people at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California captured headlines across America, but the corporate media has sought to suppress or downplay its most important aspect: its politically motivated character.
Nineteen-year-old Santino William Legan opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle inside the festival late Sunday afternoon. He killed three people—a six-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl, and a 25-year-old man—and wounded at least 15 others before being shot to death by local police.
The three people he killed were Hispanic or African-American. This was apparently not an accident. Legan’s internet postings indicate he was motivated by racist and white-supremacist views. The most important indication was a piece of text urging, “Read Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard,” followed by a complaint about “hordes of mestizos” (mixed-race people) allegedly crowding into towns in the Gilroy area.
The book Legan praises is Might is Right or The Survival of the Fittest, a social Darwinist, white supremacist screed first published in 1890, inspired by, among others, the reactionary German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. One passage in the book denounces the Declaration of Independence for the “degrading, self-evident lie” that “all men are created equal.” This is followed by imprecations against blacks, Asians, Jews and the poor, as well as those who live in “noxious” urban centers like London, Liverpool, New York, Chicago and New Orleans—language whose modern equivalent is Donald Trump’s denunciations of “rat-infested,” crime-plagued Baltimore.
Despite this clear evidence of Legan’s political sympathies, local police and the national media claimed that the motive for his attack was a mystery and that it was just one more “senseless killing” of the type which has become commonplace in the United States over the past three decades.
Not a single prominent media pundit or newspaper columnist made the obvious connection between Legan’s mentality and the fascistic hatred of immigrants and minorities promoted by the president of the United States, using mass rallies, comments to the media and tweets directed to a Twitter audience of more than 50 million.
The media cover-up only gained a certain plausibility because the Gilroy attack was one of ten instances of mass shooting across the United States over the past weekend. The casualty toll showed 15 deaths and 52 wounded.
The slaughter continued after the beginning of the workweek. Tuesday morning at a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, a gunman shot two Walmart workers to death and wounded a policeman before he was himself shot and arrested.
The media response to these tragedies has been twofold: using them to disguise the specifically political aspects of the Gilroy, California attacks; and holding them up as proof of the need for stepped-up repressive measures, including not only the usual liberal calls to restrict gun ownership but stepped-up police powers as well.
Particularly noteworthy was an editorial in the Washington Post, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, which made no mention of the fascistic beliefs of the gunman and declared that the Gilroy shootings were “an indictment of our gun laws.” The editorial went on to note the heavy security presence of police during the Gilroy attack, and their quick response, shooting Legan to death one minute after he opened fire. The implication was clear: quicker and more massive police repression was in order.
In the two decades since the Columbine massacre made “mass shootings” a recognized category of events in the United States, the World Socialist Web Site has sought to develop a critical understanding of what is typically dismissed as “senseless violence” in America.
As we noted in a recent commentary, the two decades since Columbine coincide with the decomposition of American society under the impact of mounting social inequality and endless imperialist war:
It has also been two decades, more or less, since the declaration of the “war on terror” and the invasions of Afghanistan and later Iraq, two decades since the hijacking of a national election and the repudiation of any concern by the American bourgeoisie for democratic norms, two decades of mounting social inequality and two decades of unrelenting attacks on workers’ conditions of life…
American capitalist society is disintegrating. Mad, individual anti-social acts such as the one that occurred at Columbine will not be halted by the pious wishes, much less the indifference, of the powers that be.
There has been a change in the general category of “mass shootings,” which have increasingly acquired a political character.
Of course, the event that to a certain extent triggered the wave of mass killings, the Columbine murders, had an element of this. It was planned for Hitler’s birthday and the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings. Now, however, such politically-motivated massacres happen with regularity, including the attack by a fascist gunman against a synagogue in Poway, California in April of this year and the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh in October 2018.
And as the example of the Gilroy, California attack demonstrates, far from “pious wishes” about an end to such violence, the current American government is deliberately inciting such atrocities. President Trump is pursuing a definite political strategy, politically facilitated by the Democrats, of stoking violence and creating the conditions for ever more authoritarian measures.
The capitalist system as a whole is responsible. The bitter disappointment in Obama, the fascist incitement of Trump, in combination with the economic hardships and endless war, have encouraged or produced a new phenomenon, the openly righty-wing mass shooter.
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Fascist gunman attacks California synagogue
[29 April 2019]
Americans are the most over-entertained, uninformed citizens on planet earth — despite around 80% of US households having Internet access, making it easy to stay informed with minimal effort.
Manipulated by the power of state-sponsored and go-along establishment media propaganda, Americans are ignorant about geopolitical and other major issues affecting their lives and welfare.
It’s why both right wings of the US war party get away with ravaging one country after another — while the FBI and police nationwide operate with impunity as enforcers for powerful interests, grievously breaching the rights of ordinary people.
Reality is clear. The US already is a police state because of repressive laws overwhelmingly passed by Congress, supported by the executive and federal courts.
Based on events post-9/11 at home and abroad, things in the US are heading toward full-blown tyranny and ruin.
Perhaps it’s another major state-sponsored false flag away, wrongfully blamed on elements having nothing to do with it, followed by martial law and suspension of the Constitution on the phony pretext of sacrificing fundamental rights for greater security, losing both in the process.
Polls consistently show Americans are out-of-touch with reality.
Earlier polls showed most Americans favor war on North Korea if diplomacy fails. Other polls showed around half of Americans believe war on Iran is coming.
Both countries are viewed as threats to the US despite their nonbelligerent agendas. Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries.
Nor has North Korea throughout its entire post-WW II history — while the US wages forever wars against invented enemies, its ruling class hostile to world peace.
Annual Gallup polls since 1989 showed from 79 – 87% of Americans view Iran as “mostly (or) very unfavorabl(y).” Throughout this period, they viewed the Islamic Republic from 5 to 17% favorably.
North Korean nukes, ballistic missiles, and other weapons are solely for defense — to deter the legitimate threat of US aggression.
Iran’s nuclear program has no military component, repeatedly confirmed by nuclear watchdog IAEA monitors.
Since joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nearly half a century ago, Iran fully complied with its provisions.
According to Nukewatch co-director John LaForge,
“(t)he United States is perhaps the principle nuclear weapons proliferator in the world today, openly flouting binding provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).”
Nuclear armed and dangerous Israel never signed NPT, the world community doing nothing to challenge its menace to regional and world peace.
According to a new Fox News poll, around 60% of Americans view Iran and North Korea as threats to US security — a questionable source, but here are the results anyway.
Asked if North Korea “pose(s) a real national security threat to the US, 60% of respondents said “yes,” only 27% saying “no.”
Results to the same question on Iran are identical, pollster Daron Shaw saying:
“Despite changes in the partisanship of the White House and shifts in geopolitics, the percentage of Americans who see Iran and North Korea as threats has been quite consistent.”
Over half of respondents (53%) support military action to prevent Iran from developing nukes its leadership abhors, doesn’t seek, never did, and wants eliminated everywhere to remove the threat these WMDs pose to planet earth and all its life forms if detonated in enough numbers.
A higher percentage (57%) favor attacking North Korea militarily to prevent expansion of its nuclear weapons program.
Most respondents also disapprove of how Trump is dealing with both nations.
Beacon Research and Shaw & Company conducted the poll on July 21 – 23 “with 1,004 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones.”
Like other polls on major geopolitical and other issues, results show an ignorant electorate.
Lincoln reportedly said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time…”
Most Americans are easily fooled time and again — no matter how many times they were duped before, especially on issues of war and peace.
Notably, it’s true about nations threatening no one like Iran and North Korea.
Throughout the post-WW II era, no nations threatened US security.
All US post-WW II wars were and continue to be waged against nations threatening no one — threats invented to justify what’s illegal and unjustifiable.
Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
A senior Chinese official has called for Tehran and Beijing to join forces in confronting US pressures as he stressed that China’s resolve to develop relations with Iran was unwavering.
Iran has come under the most draconian sanctions after President Donald Trump withdraw the US from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, while China is embroiled in a trade war with the United States.
Head of the Communist Party’s International Department Song Tao lashed out at the unilateral sanctions and “American bullying” as he met senior Iranian officials in Tehran to discuss the most pressing issues facing the two countries.
“China’s resolve to develop relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and implement agreements between the two countries will not change,” he said, adding the two countries can share their experiences to counter US pressure.
Beijing is Tehran’s largest oil customer, with total imports last year averaging 585,400 barrels per day (bpd).
China has pushed back against the US after the Trump administration ended waivers which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers to continue importing limited volumes.
The Asian powerhouse says its cooperation with Iran is legitimate under international law and should be “respected”.
Chinese energy groups have invested in Iran’s oil projects, some of which are facing challenges as a result of the US sanctions, Song said.
“I hope that through negotiation, we can find appropriate methods to resolve problems and speed up the implementation of projects,” the senior Chinese diplomat said.
Companies such as Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) have invested billions of dollars in Iranian oil fields and recoup their money by sending oil from the fields to China.
One major project facing difficulties is China’s participation in phase 11 of South Pars.
Iran has rejected a request by CNPC to suspend operations in the project where the Chinese company has currently an 80-percent share of investment.
CNPC became the dominant investor in plans for expansion of South Pars, the world’s largest gas field, after France’s Total withdrew from the project under increasing pressure from the United States.
The state-owned Chinese company, however, has decided to continue investing in the North Azadegan and Masjid-i-Suleiman (MIS) oilfields.
Some of Chinese refineries are also configured to process Iranian grades which yield better margins than those supplied by other exporters such as Saudi Arabia, according to China’s refinery officials.
Last Tuesday, China strongly denounced US sanctions on energy company Zhuhai Zhenrong Co Ltd for allegedly violating unilateral American sanctions on Iran’s oil industry.
Zhuhai Zhenrong has strong links to Iran and accounts for more than 60% of China’s trade with the Islamic Republic, according to its website.
The company, which is already under US sanctions for supplying gasoline to Iran in 2012, has little overseas exposure.
Two and a half months after the White House banned the purchase of Iran’s oil, the nation’s crude is continuing to be sent to China where it’s being put into what’s known as “bonded storage”.
According to Bloomberg, tankers are offloading millions of barrels of Iranian oil into storage tanks at Chinese ports, creating a hoard of crude sitting on the doorstep of the world’s biggest buyer.
In his talks with Song on Monday, Iranian Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri called on China and other countries friendly with Iran to buy more Iranian oil.
“Even though we are aware that friendly countries such as China are facing some restrictions, we expect them to be more active in buying Iranian oil,” he said.
Jahangiri said Iran is also ready to pipe its gas to China through Pakistan which is sitting on a project to complete a pipeline designed for receiving Iranian natural gas.
While Iran has completed its part of the pipeline with a total investment of over $2 billion, Pakistan has fallen short on taking delivery of gas, initially scheduled for 2014.
“Gas is the most important future energy resource in the world, and Iran has the largest gas reserves in the world, and we are ready to export gas to China via Pakistan’s transmission line,” Jahangiri said.
Addressing the Chinese diplomat’s call for sharing experiences to confront US sanctions, Jahangiri touched on Iran’s “economy of resistance” which has helped to ensure “economic and social stability despite US sanctions”.
“The US thinks it can bring our oil sales down to zero through putting pressure on the countries buying oil from Iran and lead to the collapse of the Iranian economy. But fortunately, a year after the American oil sanctions, Iran’s economic situation remains reasonably stable,” he said.
Jahangiri said, “The overall policies of the resistance economy seek to rely on domestic capacities, develop relations with neighboring and friendly countries such as China, reduce reliance on oil revenues and develop a knowledge-based, popular economy.”
He said a delegation from Iran’s ministry of economic affairs and finance and the central bank will travel to China next week.
“I hope there will be constructive negotiations on a financial exchange mechanism between the two countries.”
Germany says it has rejected a proposal by the United States to set up a military coalition in the Persian Gulf to counter what it calls the “Iran threat” as tensions mount between Washington and Tehran.
“The US recently presented its concept of a naval observation mission in the Persian Gulf to a number of its allies, including Germany, and asked them to participate.
“The government took note of the proposal, but made no promises. Foreign Minister [Heiko] Maas has repeatedly stressed that, in our opinion, priority must be given to reducing tensions, and to diplomatic efforts. We are in close consultation with France and the UK. Participation in the US strategy of ‘maximum pressure’ is ruled out for us,” the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement received by Russia’s Sputnik news agency.
The statement came on the same day that German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said his country was working closely with France and Britain amid tensions in the Persian Gulf.
“The goal of all responsible politicians must be to observe the situation very soberly and carefully, and not to sleepwalk into an even bigger crisis,” Scholz said in an interview with the Funke group of newspapers.
“De-escalation is the order of the day,” he pointed out.
Earlier on Tuesday, the United States stepped up diplomatic pressure on Germany, and officially asked the Western European country to join its maritime mission in the Persian Gulf against what it alleged as “Iranian aggression.”
“We’ve formally asked Germany to join France and the UK to help secure the Strait of Hormuz and combat Iranian aggression,” Tamara Sternberg-Greller, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Berlin (shown in the picture below), said in a statement.
She added, “Members of the German government have been clear that freedom of navigation should be protected… Our question is, protected by whom?”
Many German politicians have reportedly expressed grave reservations about any naval mission, and fear that any such move – particularly one orchestrated and led by the United States – could increase the risk of a military aggression on Iran.
US President Donald Trump regularly criticizes Germany for what he considers its insufficient contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
US Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on July 9 that the US was proceeding with plans to assemble the coalition purportedly aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation in waters off Iran and Yemen.
The US military’s top general says Washington has engaged in talks with a number of countries to form an international military coalition to deter what it calls Iran’s threat to shipping in the Persian Gulf region.
“We’re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab,” Dunford said.
“And so I think probably over the next couple of weeks we’ll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we’ll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that’ll support that,” he added.
Washington has lately adopted a quasi-warlike posture against Tehran, and intensified its provocative military moves in the Middle East, among them the June 20 incursion of advanced US-made RQ-4 Global Hawk into Iranian airspace over territorial waters off the coastal province of Hormozgan.
The UK has also joined the US in fueling tensions with Iran by seizing an Iranian-owned supertanker in the Strait of Gibraltar on July 4 in an apparent act of “maritime piracy.”
Two weeks later, a British-flagged tanker failed to stop after hitting an Iranian fishing boat — as is required by international law — in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) impounded the ship after its unsafe maneuver.