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April 18 2015
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Ten Thousand Miles in Persia: Or, Eight Years in Iran


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Worsening Conditions for Women in Iran Begin to Draw Attention

- Almost two years after his 2013 election, President Hassan Rouhani and his Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, spoke up against discrimination against women this week, in the face of steadily deteriorating conditions for women in Iran. - 4/17/15

IMF forecasts Iranian economy to grow 0.6 percent in 2015

- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast the Iranian economy to grow in the years to come. In its World Economic Outlook 2015, the international creditor noted, "Growth in the Islamic Republic of Iran is projected to be 0.6 percent in 2015 and 1.3 percent in 2016, a downward revision from the October 2014 WEO." - 4/17/15

Teachers' silent protests held across Iran on Thursday

- Thousands of Iranian teachers gathered in silence in dozens of cities across the country in front of the ministry of education and governor's buildings on Thursday April 15. - 4/17/15

Aerospace companies keen on establishing Iran footing: Official

- The head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) says many aircraft manufacturers have visited the country in the past year, even before the recent Tehran-P5+1 statement in Switzerland on the Iranian nuclear program, which laid the ground for further negotiations toward a comprehensive nuclear deal. - 4/17/15

Economics Will Decide the Fate of the Iran Deal

- Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a terrible record in predicting the future of Iran's nuclear programme, but it's hard to argue with his suggestion that last week's accord between Iran and the P5+1 countries will "bolster Iran's economy". -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, LobeLog - 4/16/15

Iran wins 'pistachio war' with US

- Iran ousted the US as the leading producer of pistachio nuts last year and reclaimed the position which it has long held to its credit, an official has said. Production of the nut surpassed 235,000 tonnes thanks to satisfactory precipitations and Iran's implementation of development measures for better yield, an official with the agriculture ministry, Ali Mohseni said. - 4/16/15

Russia's No. 2 oil firm reopens Iran office

- Russian oil company Lukoil has reopened its offices in Iran in anticipation of the removal of economic sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. Lukoil Deputy Vice President Ravil Maganov said the company was back in Iran, UPI reported Wednesday. - 4/16/15

Iran's annual inflation rate hits 14.8%: Official

- The inflation rate for the past Iranian calendar year (which ended on March 20) hit 14.8 percent, the Tasnim News Agency quoted Iran's Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, as saying on Tuesday. - 4/15/15

Iran's says oil output to reach pre-sanctions levels "very fast"

- Iran said on Tuesday it can increase its oil production to pre-sanctions levels "very fast". Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters the country has already carried out necessary tests to increase production from its producing fields. - 4/14/15

Russia says started strategic barter trade with Iran

- Russia says it has started a strategic "oil for goods" barter trade with Iran, stressing that the due proceedings are already "working well". Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the country is currently providing a "considerable" volume of goods to Iran in exchange for the Iranian crude oil without providing any specific figures. - 4/14/15

U.S. Tech Companies And Investors Look to Gain From Iran Deal

- The possibility of an Iran free of the economic sanctions that have weighed on it for years could be a boon to Western businesses, which already are considering ways to take advantage of potentially easier access to Iran's economy and consumers. -Kaveh Waddell, National Journal - 4/14/15

US investors eyeing Iran's stock market

- Iran says US companies are interested in making investments in its stock market. Officials in Tehran say they have been approached by US companies for investments in the Iranian stock market. - 4/13/15

Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement

- This report is the fourth in a series of papers published by The Iran Project that provides a basis for better understanding the standoff between the United States and Iran. It analyses relations between Iran and its neighbors and offers policy recommendations for the United States in the region after a nuclear agreement with Iran is concluded. -The Iran Project - 4/13/15

Iran-China Alliance Not Considered Threat to Nuclear Talks

- The U.S. State Department says it does not believe Iran's alliance with a new multi-billion-dollar, China-led development bank will destabilize the ongoing Iran nuclear talks. Iran is one of about 35 countries that have been accepted as founding members of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB. -Pamela Dockins - 4/11/15

Shell mulling Iran return after sanctions: Reports

- The multinational oil and gas giant, Royal Dutch Shell plc is reportedly seeking to return to Iran once sanctions against the country over its nuclear program are lifted. Iranian media reports said Wednesday that the Anglo-Dutch energy company was mulling over investment opportunities in Iran again. - 4/9/15

China Says Iran Accepted As New Bank Founding Member

- Chinese media says Iran has been accepted as a founding member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). State news agency Xinhua said on April 7 the bank's existing 26 members -- including China, Britain, France, Germany, India, Switzerland, and Italy -- also agreed to include the United Arab Emirates as a founding member. - 4/8/15

Despite Odds, Turkey to Expand Trade With Iran

- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make a state visit Tuesday to Tehran. The Turkish president has indicated expanding trade relations will be a priority of his visit, with the prospect that international sanctions against Iran could soon be eased. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 4/7/15

United States Says Iran Sanctions Would Be Phased Out

- The United States says economic sanctions on Iran would be gradually phased out if a final nuclear agreement is reached between Tehran and six world powers before the June 30 deadline. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on April 6 that Washington was clear with Iranian officials in its demand that sanctions on Tehran would be lifted in different phases under a final deal. - 4/7/15

Iran expects US ships in ports once sanctions lifted

- Iran says it is expecting American shipping lines to visit its ports once the economic sanctions against it are lifted in light of the emerging comprehensive final agreement over the Iranian nuclear energy program. - 4/5/15

Iranian FM Zarif: Sanctions resolutions will be annulled once UN endorses comprehensive plan of action

- TEHRAN - Under the mutual understanding reached between Tehran and the 5+1 group of world powers Iran will keep its peaceful nuclear program without shutting down any facilities, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said upon his return to Tehran following the talks in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday. - 4/4/15

'Nuclear deal to unleash Iran's economic power': Report

- According to the CNN report, the checklist of attributes Iran possesses is impressive. The country has the second largest population in the Middle East with roughly 80 million, 9% of proven oil reserves, 18% of proven gas reserves and an abundance of strategic minerals. - 4/2/15

Economics Likely to Trump Politics in Turkey-Iran Rift

- Turkey and Iran have accused each other of trying to dominate the Middle East as they back opposing sides in the crisis in Yemen, but the war of words is unlikely to permanently damage a relationship driven by deepening economic ties. -Reuters - 4/2/15

iBRIDGE Berlin Conference - High Tech Entrepreneurship in Iran: Opportunities and Challenges

- iBRIDGE Berlin is a three-day event to be held on June 4-6, 2015 in Berlin, Germany that is organized by iBRIDGES. It will bring together European and American entrepreneurs and their counterparts in Iran to explore the role that a high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem can play in Iran's economic development and diversification. The event will be comprised of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops, as well as visits to local incubators in Berlin. - 3/30/15

Dollar continues to lose against Rial as hopes for nuclear deal grow stronger

- Iran's exchange markets on Saturday saw a fresh drop in the rates of the US Dollar against the Rial in what many believe is the result of a growing business optimism toward the results of Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne. - 3/28/15

Cost of Living Increased by 20-50 Percent In The Last Iranian Year

- According to government statistics, the rate of inflation dropped in the Persian calendar year that is ending on March 21th. But a look at media news agency reports along with the pronouncements made by authorities, cost of living continued to rise in the last twelve month period. In fact, a new wave of price hikes is expected to hit the pockets of ordinary Iranians in the coming year that begins on March 21st. -Nazanin Kamdar - 3/24/15

Iran's South Pars revenues to hit $127bn in a couple of years: Official

- The head of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) says annual energy revenues from the South Pars supergiant in the Persian Gulf will reach USD127 billion within a couple of years. - 3/24/15

Iran on course to regain OPEC position

- Industry observers say Iran is able to reclaim its position as the second largest oil producer in OPEC once US-led sanctions are lifted. Iran has said it could add a million barrels to daily oil production shortly after a deal to lift sanctions. - 3/23/15

Iran, US fight it out in a nutty war

- Iran dominates the world market for exports of split-shelled pistachios but it is facing a stubborn competition from the Americans. Raw, roasted, salted and savory, the Iranian nibble has no rivals for quality but the US has ousted the Middle Eastern country as the largest producer of pistachio nuts. - 3/23/15

South Pars biggest phase to up Iran's GDP 3%

- The biggest phase of Iran's South Pars gas field, namely the phase 12, was officially inaugurated on Tuesday by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Rouhani said the government puts great emphasis on the policies of resistance economy, the Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday. - 3/18/15

U.S. Oil companies taking position against GOP letter will be rewarded: Iranian Official

- Head of Iranian Ministry of Petroleum's Oil Contracts Revision Committee says the U.S. oil companies taking position against Republican senators who recently wrote a letter warning Iran against a nuclear deal with the U.S. will be rewarded. - 3/18/15

Iran to hike oil exports by 1mn bpd after sanctions lifted

- Iran says it is ready to increase its oil exports by one million barrels per day a few months after the sanctions against the country are lifted. "The increase in Iran's crude export will not decrease oil prices," Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zangeneh was quoted as saying by IRNA. - 3/17/15

Iranians selling US assets as nuclear deal nears - Report

- "Iranians living here [in America] can seize the opportunity to park their money in Iran while it [the Iranian rial] is strong today. Markets inside Iran have started reacting positively to the good news for the Iranians of a prospective deal by next week," an unnamed Iranian national has told the Breitbart News in an exclusive interview. - 3/16/15

Iran witnesses surprise fall in US dollar rates against rial

- Iran's exchange market on Sunday witnessed an unprecedented appreciation of the Iranian rial against the US dollar in what many see is the result of an overwhelming positive speculation by the country's businesses toward the outcomes of nuclear talks now underway in Lausanne, Switzerland. - 3/15/15

Iran's pistachio exports rise 71% in 11 months

- Iran exported 171,119 tons of pistachio valued at over $1.5 billion in the first eleven months of the current Iranian calendar year (January 21, 2014-February 19, 2015), a 71 percent rise compared to the same period last year, according to an official in Iranian Agriculture Ministry. - 3/15/15

Caspian Sea: is Iran changing its position on the Caspian legal regime?

- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister has expressed optimism that the legal status of the Caspian Sea could finally be resolved at the next summit of Caspian littoral states. He said after a meeting of the working group on the Caspian Sea on March 5 the sides have reached complete agreement on six provisions of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 3/13/15

Iran-EU annual trade rises 21% in 2014: Eurostat

- Trade between Iran and the European Union amounted to 7.566 billion Euro in 2014, a 21 percent growth from 6.229 billion Euro in 2013, according to the EU statistics agency Eurostat. The EU exported 6.403 billion Euro worth of goods to Iran in 2014, showing 18 percent rise compared to the year before, when the figure was 5.445 billion Euro, the IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday, citing Eurostat data. - 3/13/15

Iran, Turkmenistan keen to up mutual trade to $60bn

- The Iranian and Turkmen presidents say they are determined to increase the volume of mutual economic transactions to USD60 billion within the next 10 years. The agreement between Iran's Hassan Rouhani and Turkmenistan's Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow to further boost ties was announced during a joint high-level meeting on Wednesday in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat. - 3/11/15

France's Peugeot agrees to resume work in Iran

- French automaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen has reached agreement with Iran's leading carmaker Iran Khodro for the establishment of a factory in Iran, Iran Khodro's CEO says. "Peugeot will set up a joint factory with Iran Khodro, held 50% by Peugeot and 50% by Iran Khodro," Mehr news agency quoted Hashem Yekkeh-Zare as saying. - 3/11/15

Iran, China to raise trade to $60b in one year

- Iran and China hope to bring the level of their trade exchanges to $60 billion from the current $52 billion in a year or so, the head of Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce says. - 3/10/15

US firms already sealing deals in Tehran: Report

- Reports emerged on Saturday that said American enterprises have already started taking initial steps to enter the Iranian market in case the current nuclear talks with the country succeed and sanctions against it are lifted. - 3/9/15

Russia: With Progress On Nuclear Program, Iran Could Join SCO

- Iran may be admitted into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization this summer if it makes progress in resolving disputes over its nuclear program, Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said. - Joshua Kucera, LobeLog - 3/8/15

Sanctions and agreement don't go together: Iranian FM Zarif

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says a gradual lifting of the sanctions on Iran is not "very conducive" to confidence building. "We have a very clear mandate that all sanctions must go," Zarif said in an interview with Kyodo News published on Friday. "Sanctions and an agreement don't go together," said Zarif. - 3/7/15

Iranian Official Says Caspian Legal Status Nearly Resolved

- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ibrahim Rahimpour has expressed optimism that the legal status of the Caspian Sea could finally be resolved at the next summit of Caspian littoral states. The five littoral states -- Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan -- have been debating the status of the Caspian for some 20 years trying to agree on whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake. - 3/6/15

Amid Nuclear Dispute, Israel, Iran Face Off Over Oil Ties

- TEL AVIV-- As Israel loudly and publicly denounces Iran and its nuclear program this week, the two countries are quietly tussling in a decades-old dispute over a secretive oil pipeline company that could be worth billions of dollars to Tehran. -Reuters - 3/4/15

Iranian Teachers Hold Silent Demonstrations Across Iran

- Iranian teachers across the country gathered in silence in front of their local education ministry offices to protest their employment conditions. Teachers maintain that their wages are effectively keeping them under the poverty line. - 3/2/15

Higher education in Iran means higher jobless rate

- Iran's Minister of Science and Technology says the unemployment rate among university graduates is higher than the general unemployment average, and that is why the country's academic elite go abroad for work. - 2/28/15

MP says sanctions-related cash leaving Iran in suitcases

- A conservative Iranian MP says he has received certain reports that a significant amount of Central Bank foreign currency assets has been taken out of the country in suitcases. He also claimed that the money represents the very assets released as a result of the Geneva agreement. - 2/25/15

Iranian teachers escalate protests by skipping class

- Teachers in several Iranian cities are refusing to attend classes as they continue to protest the lack of attention to their demands. Zamaneh's own reporting as well as reports on the Melli Mazhabi website indicate that on Sunday February 22, teachers used social media to coordinate a one-day strike across the country. - 2/24/15

Iran Seeking Role In Selling Gas To Europe

- Russia, beware, Iran is trying to get into the European gas market. In recent months, Iranian officials have been signaling to potential customers in Europe, potential suppliers in the Caspian Basin, and transit country Turkey that Iran is not only ready to get into the game but that without Iranian participation the European Union's Southern Gas Corridor will take many years to realize, or might never be realized. -Bruce Pannier, RFE - 2/22/15

Iran: Supreme Leader casts doubt on lifting of sanctions

- In a speech on Wednesday February 18, Ayatollah Khamenei said: "The enemy is taking maximum advantage of its sanctions tactic. They are trying to stop the people. I believe that even if the nuclear issues proceed as they dictate, sanctions will not be lifted because they are against the principle of the Revolution." - 2/19/15

Iran parliament endorses fuel price hike

- The Iranian parliament (Majlis) has approved a five-percent increase in fuel prices for the next fiscal year starting March 21, amid falling oil prices. The Iranian lawmakers voted in favor of fuel price hike during deliberations on the annual budget bill for next year on Monday - 2/18/15

Iran's Neoliberal Austerity-Security Budget

- President Hassan Rouhani submitted Iran's 1394 (the Persian New Year begins on 21 March 2015) Budget Bill to the Iranian Parliament this last December. The budget was put together before the sharp fall in oil prices and before the nuclear negotiations failed to reach the expected "comprehensive" deal on November 24, 2014. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 2/16/15

Chinese Foreign Minister Pushes Iran On Nuclear Deal

- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a trip to Tehran on February 15 that striking a deal in talks with the United States, China, France, Russia, Germany, and Britain would allow Iran to uphold its "legal rights" to use nuclear power and shed international economic sanctions, allowing Iranians to "energetically develop the economy." - 2/16/15

Iran will boost gas production by 100mn cubic meters: President Rouhani

- Addressing a massive gathering of people celebrating the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Tehran on Wednesday, President Rouhani said Iran has made great strides in the energy sector by increasing its oil production from 2.7 million barrels a day last year to 2.9 million this year, and boosting its natural gas output by 100mcm/d in the same period. - 2/12/15

Long-term oil price prediction drives price even lower

- Following predictions from the International Energy Agency that the price of oil will see a limited rise in the next five years, oil prices in Asian markets plummeted once more on Tuesday February 10. - 2/11/15

Labor Protests Sweep Iran

- A wave of labor protests has been sweeping through Iran over the past ten days. The protests are focused on workers' demands for wage increases to keep up with the growing rate of inflation, payment of back wages, and other issues such as layoffs and non-renewal of labor contracts. - 2/5/15

Iranian government confirms larger bonus for public servants

- The Iranian administration has announced that the bonus for public servants in the new Iranian calendar year will be 603,500 toumans. The government traditionally pays a bonus to its employees and retirees on the occasion of Norooz, though it's usually paid about four to six weeks prior to the new year. - 2/5/15

Iran, Russia agree to measures for business cooperation

- The Iranian ambassador to Russia says the Mir Business Bank and the Melli Bank will cooperate in order to facilitate business transactions between the two countries. - 2/4/15

Iran ready to transfer Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan gas to Europe

- Iran has proposed to transfer natural gas from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to Europe. "We propose that gas be transferred from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to Iran and then be exported from there to Europe through Turkey. This is the most economical and cost-effective way of transferring gas to Europe" IRNA News Agency quoted Azizollah Ramezani, the international affairs director of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) as saying. - 2/2/15

Iran government faces balancing act

- The Iranian government is grappling with a steady slump in oil prices and President Hassan Rouhani is hard pressed to balance the sheet. According to new official figures, Iran's crude oil prices skidded to around $50 per barrel over the two months leading to January. That was 30% down from their value in October, the statistics released by the Central Bank of Iran show. - 1/31/15

Iranian President to Tax-Exempt Groups: Pay Up

- Iran's economy has been limping badly. The U.S.-driven sanctions imposed because of Iran's nuclear program have curtailed its oil exports and cut off its banks from global financial networks. A 58 percent oil price slump since June has done damage, and the government is revising a draft budget that will lower the assumed price of oil to $40 a barrel from $72. -Bloomberg - 1/30/15

Iran's economy can grow by over 8% if sanctions lifted: Finance Minister

- Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia said on Monday that the Iranian economy can grow by over eight percent if the sanctions against the country are lifted. Achieving this goal requires making use of all economic capacities in the country, the Fars news agency quoted Tayyebnia as saying. - 1/27/15

Bread gets more expensive in Iran as controls loosen

- Bread prices have gone up once again in Tehran and other cities as the second phase of deregulating bread prices begins. The Mehr News Agency reports that on Saturday January 24, the second phase of lifting the cap on bread prices will be implemented. - 1/25/15

Oil price rise after Saudi ruler's death is seen as temporary

- Oil prices went up following the news that Malek Abdullah had passed away. Reports indicate that the rise in prices is temporary and Saudi Arabian oil policies will not change before the OPEC meeting in June. - 1/24/15

Iran announces record gas production

- Iran said on Saturday that it has been able to produce a total of 105 million cubic meters of sweet gas per day (mcm/d) from five prioritized projects in the country's energy hub of South Pars from June 2013. - 1/24/15

Iranian teachers begin strike to protest wages, inadequate budget

- Teachers from across Iran have begun a strike in the past two days to protest their wages as well as reports that the education ministry will only get a 14-percent budget increase in the coming year. - 1/23/15

Iran will face no problem even with $25 oil: Finance Minister

- Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia says the administration will face no problem even if oil price drops to $25 a barrel. "For the time being, predicting oil price fluctuations is not possible. So, the administration is preparing itself to deal with any probable situation," - 1/21/15

Iran planning to lower oil price in budget to $40 a barrel: Finance Minister

- The Iranian administration is planning to lower the crude oil price for the next year's budget (March 2015-March 2016) to $40, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia stated. - 1/17/15

Plunging oil prices cost Iran billions

- The fall in the price of oil has led to a $5.2-billion decline in Iran's oil revenues. The Tasnim website reports that according to OPEC, the price of Iranian oil has fallen by $60 a barrel since last June. - 1/14/15

Asian markets see further fall in oil prices

- Oil prices in Asian markets have experienced a further drop as the demand is weak and a continued oversupply puts more pressure on the prices already at their lowest in five and a half years. - 1/12/15

Nicolas Maduro visits Tehran: Iran, Venezuela stress expansion of all-out relations

- In a Saturday meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rohani and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in Tehran, the two sides stressed promotion of economic, political and cultural ties. - 1/10/15

How OPEC Weaponized the Price of Oil Against U.S. Drillers

- If there ever was doubt about the strategy of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, its wealthiest members are putting that issue to rest. Representatives of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait stressed a dozen times in the past six weeks that the group won't curb output to halt the biggest drop in crude since 2008. -Grant Smith, Bloomberg - 1/9/15

President Rouhani Urges End to Iran's Isolation

- "We want a sustainable, comprehensive and continued development. It is not possible to say we want economic development but want to be politically restrictive," said Rouhani, speaking at Iran's first National Economy Conference in Tehran. - 1/5/15

Tehran to host first Italian exclusive exhibit

- he First exclusive exhibition of Italian companies in Iran will open today at the Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds. The event, which is the first exclusive exhibition of a European country in Iran, will host over 50 Italian companies - 1/5/15

Iran oil dependency under 30% in new draft budget

- Iran expects to slash its dependency on oil revenues to all-time lows, the country's vice-president for scientific and technological affairs says. Iran is faced with an unprecedented downfall in the prices of oil at the international markets which, accompanied by West's sanctions on Iran's oil exports, could further shrink the country's actual earnings. - 1/5/15
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