Russia’s Energy Minister and the EU Energy Commissioner have signed a memorandum establishing an early warning mechanism to anticipate potential gas cuts and allow time to find solutions to problems before deliveries are physically affected. But the memorandum may be useless, suggests one analyst, as the decision to cut supplies lies with Gazprom, which has already criticized the European Union for not doing enough to head off another gas crisis this winter. Russia may participate in the reconstruction of Ukraine’s pipeline network, but Yulia Tymoshenko insists that the system will not be privatized. Iran is not pleased with ‘dishonest‘ Russia, after the latter said that ‘technical reasons‘ were behind its announcement that the Bushehr nuclear plant would not be ready by the end of the year as planned. The IAEA is continuing to press Iran on the history and purpose of its Qom plant but reports from the UK Times suggest that Iran has been in ‘secret negotiations‘ with the UN, aimed at retaining the majority of its nuclear operations. Russian stocks are looking healthy this week thanks to oil topping $78 a barrel, says Bloomberg. Rosneft’s brand new Kozmino port has tendered its first tanker of crude as part of a broader plan to ‘conquer Asian markets‘. Vladimir Putin’s post-Slovak-agreement press release, marking the launch of a joint venture to distribute natural gas, says that the success of trade depends on ‘decrease[d] dependence on external conditions‘…presumably those external conditions include natural gas reserves?