Latest News (Jan.23):
- Allied warships passing the strait of Hormuz. Aircraft carrier "Abraham Lincoln" accompanied by British, French and U.S. vessels has entered the Persian Gulf. No Iranian reaction so far [CNN and Al-Arabiya TV this morning].
- EU imposes oil embargo on Iran [international media].
Based on a report provided by the "Arabic News Network" on [Jan.] 17, a high-ranking official [on behalf of] the Iranian government underlined that Iran doesn't fear to the slightest degree any punishment originating from the United States, including those having a bearing on crude oil and finance. Iran and the nations of the [Persian] Gulf region are having excellent relationships with each other and are knowing to get support and help from Saudi Arabia.
[Source: People's Network, Bejing, January 18, 2012]
The following information on Iran's economy was taken from an official Chinese source. It gives an idea of Iran's economic development during the past years:
Last year [i.e. 2008], Iran's export of petrochemical products reached a volume of 7,1 Billion U.S.$.
According to a "Tehran Times" report dating back to April 7 , Iran's export of petrochemical products in 2008 reached an overall volume of 39 Million tons. Main products were methanole, polyethylene, ethylene and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The export value reached 7,1 Billion U.S.$.
In 2009, export of Iran's crude oil products reached an estimated value of 25 Billion U.S.$.
"Iranian News" reported on April 6  what Iran's vice-minister of commerce Ghazanfari recently said in an interview with Iranian media: Despite being lashed by the global financial crisis and a limited decrease of growth for this year's export [i.e. 2009] of crude oil products in comparison with the year before, the [value] of exported goods is still lying 20% above past year's value [i.e. 2008] and is reaching a volume of 25 Billion U.S.$.
For more information on Iran's economy refer to:
Economy of Iran
Israel's Need for Energy
The situation of Israel's energy supply, regarded to be a main feature behind the actual conflict between Israel and Iran, can be highlighted by relevant information extracted from Wikipedia (or any other related source). In addition, I remember Iran's president Ahmadi Nejad urging Arab nations not to allow their oil being "stolen" by the West and their allies.
"As of 2009, Israel relied on external imports for meeting most of its energy needs, spending an amount equivalent to over 5% of its GDP per year on imports of energy products. The transportation sector relies mainly on gasoline and diesel fuel, while the majority of electricity production is generated using imported coal. The country possesses negligible reserves of crude oil but does have abundant domestic natural gas resources which were discovered in large quantities starting in 2009, after many decades of previously unsuccessful exploration. A 33-billion-cubic-metre (BCM), or 1,200-billion-cubic-foot, natural-gas field is located offshore of Ashkelon; however, as of 2009 it is approximately two-thirds exhausted. In 2009, a significant gas find with proven reserves of 188 BCM or 6.6×1012 cu ft (259 BCM probable) was located in deep water approximately 90 km (60 mi) west of Haifa, as well as a smaller 15 BCM (530×109 cu ft) field situated nearer the coastline. Furthermore, results of 3D seismic surveys and test drilling conducted in 2010 confirmed that a 480 BCM (17.00×1012 cu ft) natural-gas deposit exists in a large underwater geological formation nearby the large gas field already discovered in 2009. (For comparison purposes, the United Kingdom's total proven gas reserves as of 2009 are 343 BCM while Germany's consist of 176 BCM.) The large gas discoveries have confirmed that the Levant basin of the Eastern Mediterranean contains significant quantities of natural gas and, potentially, crude oil. Consequently, additional exploration for oil and gas off Israel's coastline is continuing."
It should be noted that all significant gas reserves are located offshore and in international waters which makes their exploration not only more difficult but more vulnerable as well when seen in the frame of Israel's traditional conflicts with its Palestinian and Arab neighbours. Such conflicts are already surfacing in regular assaults on the natural gas pipeline between Egypt and Israel and are endangering one of Israel's most important lines of energy supply after the fall of Mubarak's regime in Egypt.
The CIA Factbook is offering additional information on Israel's economy and natural gas reserves:
Economy of Israel
Natural Gas - Proved Reserves