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April 19 2014
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Iran's Influence: A Religious-Political State in the Region and the World


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First Iranian stock brokerage center opens in London

- The first Iranian stock brokerage center in London has been inaugurated, ISNA reported on Wednesday. Mehrafarin Brokerage Company has opened a branch in London as the first ever brokerage center in the UK. - 4/18/14

U.S. To Release $450 Million Of Frozen Iranian Funds

- The United States says it is taking steps to release a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds in response to Tehran meeting its commitment under the interim deal reached with world powers in November. - 4/18/14

Iran to invest over $20b in joint oilfields with Iraq

- Iran will invest over $20 billion in development of the oil fields it shares with Iraq, IRNA reported on Wednesday. Iran's Oil Ministry is planning to increase oil extraction from joint oilfields with Iraq by one million barrels per day (bpd) in the current Iranian calendar year, which started on March 21, 2014. - 4/17/14

Iran ready to expand ties with UAE: Foreign Minister

- Zarif made the remarks in Dubai on Tuesday during a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, and constitutional monarch of Dubai. - 4/16/14

Iran ready to supply natural gas to Europe: Minister

- Iranian Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh says his country plans to play a significant role on the world gas market. - 4/15/14

Easing of sanctions brings latest release of frozen Iranian assets

- Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, a senior member of Iran's nuclear negotiation team, has announced that a fourth installment of frozen Iranian assets ($550 million) has been forwarded to Iran's Central Bank. - 4/15/14

IRGC leader wants economic role for guards, Basij

- Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), spoke out against the Rohani administration for failing to use the capabilities of the IRGC and the Basij militia in establishing policies for achieving the economy of resistance. - 4/15/14

Iran resumes petrochemical sales to EU states: Official

- A senior Iranian energy official says European countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece have resumed imports of petrochemical products from Iran. Iran's oil and petrochemical exports have increased following some sanctions relief on the Islamic Republic, including the EU and U.S. bans on the country's petrochemical exports. - 4/14/14

Iran to construct six oil refineries in Indonesia

- The head of Iran's Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters Union says the Islamic Republic plans to construct six oil refineries in Indonesia. He added that a joint Iran-Indonesia consortium will be in charge of constructing the refineries, noting that the installations have a total refining capacity of 300,000 barrels per day. - 4/14/14

Iran to increase oil output to 5.7 million bpd by 2018

- Iranian Oil Ministry has a planned to increase oil output to 5.7 million bpd by 2018, Deputy head of the Majlis Energy Commission Ali Marvi said on Saturday citing the plannings presented by Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh. - 4/12/14

Russia Says Deal With Iran To Follow UN, Not U.S. Rules

- Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says that a possible barter agreement between Moscow and Iran would follow UN sanctions rules and not U.S. rules. - 4/11/14

Iran's inflation rate drops 5.7% in 6 months: Central Bank

- The inflation rate in Iran dropped 5.7 percent during the second half of the past Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 20, according to a report published by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). - 4/9/14

IMF Executive Board Concludes Article IV Consultation with the Islamic Republic of Iran

- On March 28, 2014 the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation [1] with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran had achieved considerable progress in raising per capita income and living standards in previous decades. But in recent years, such progress stalled as both domestic policies and the external environment deteriorated. - 4/8/14

Iran to unify multi-tier currency exchange rates

- The Iranian administration will set a system of single exchange rate for foreign currencies in the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21. The plan will be a part of market reforms to streamline the state-dominated economy. - 4/6/14

Iran is 2014's surprise tourism hit

- Tour operators have seen a significant rise in bookings for holidays to Iran, as improved relations with the West and an expectation that Foreign Office travel advice will be relaxed boost tourist interest -Lizzie Porter, Telegraph, UK - 4/4/14

Will Iran price hikes fuel discontent?

- The honeymoon with the new government is over. Iranians are coming back from their New Year holidays to see their utility bills go up, some by 24%. Petrol prices are also due to rise, a move that usually prompts discontent and triggers inflation. -Amir Paivar, BBC - 4/4/14

Jask to become Iran's 2nd oil export terminal

- Iran's port city of Jask in the southern province of Hormozgan will turn into the country's second crude oil export terminal in the near future, a high-ranking Iranian official says. - 3/30/14

Representative Cyrus Habib's bill to aid entrepreneurs, create jobs wins approval in Washington State's Senate

- The state's economy will get a boost from entrepreneurs tapping into a 21st-century model of financial backing to start businesses and create jobs, under the Washington Jobs Act of 2014, a bill passed by the Senate March 8. -Rep. Cyrus Habib - 3/29/14

Women can play larger role in Iranian economy

- Iran is facing a socioeconomic issue in women's unemployment. According to an article published in the March 2014 issue of Iran Economics, only 13% of the workforce consists of women and the latest official statistics for women's unemployment stands at 15.6%, though unofficial unemployment figures for this group is 38.3%. Furthermore, only 9.2% of the entrepreneurs in Iran are women. -Al-Monitor. - 3/27/14

Iran Oil and Gas 2014 Summit in Dubai: Getting Involved in Iran Oil and Gas Pending a Future International Agreement

- The Iran Oil & Gas 2014 Summit, organised in Dubai on 23rd-25th June by International Research Networks Ltd will gather NOCs, IOCs, Governmental bodies, oil and gas Law Practices, Top Contractors and Associations as well as oil and gas Experts, Academics and Consultants to discuss new business opportunities in the country. - 3/26/14

Brazil Should Support the Struggle of Iranian Trade Unionists

- As an Iranian labor activist, I have always looked for models that my country can follow to improve. Striking a balance between worker rights, economic developments, international trade, and vital social-programs is indeed no easy task, especially for countries with troubled pasts. -Mansour Osanlou - 3/26/14

Are you brave enough to invest in Iran?

- A big country, with healthy demographics. Very low debts. Plenty of room to catch up with the rest of the developing world. And a ton of oil in the ground. This surely is one emerging market that everyone wants to invest in. -Marketwatch - 3/26/14

New Year optimism among Iranian revellers in Dubai

- Every March, the Iranian community in the United Arab Emirates swells by thousands as compatriots cross the Gulf to celebrate the Persian New Year, or Norouz, abroad. International sanctions have recently seen a dip in their numbers, but there is optimism of a return to better times, as Marcus George reports from Dubai. -BBC - 3/22/14

Iran forecasts increase in oil, gas output

- Iran's crude oil output is forecast to increase by about 200,000 barrels per day to 4 million barrels per day, and its daily natural gas output is forecast to increase by about 100 million cubic meters per day to 400 million cubic meters per day, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Monday. - 3/21/14

Iran plans to resume crude oil swaps

- Iran plans to restart crude oil swap operations, which were halted in June 2009 by the administration of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The decision to halt the swap activities compelled the Caspian Sea littoral states to choose other routes to deliver their oil products to international markets and also increased the smuggling of oil and oil products, Press TV reported. - 3/19/14

Economic Sanctions Play Out In Strange Ways In Iran

- It's hard to see crippling sanctions at a modern shopping mall in north Tehran - the shops are stocked, the cafes are full. The latest western electronics - even iPhones and iPads, are available for those who can afford it. -Deb Amos, NPR - 3/18/14

"Subsidence of One Million Hectares of Land" in Iran

- One million hectares of natural areas and lands in Iran are plagued with subsidence due to the unregulated extraction of underground waters and the depletion of aquifers. Meanwhile, the rate of soil erosion poses a serious threat to the future of the country's environment and natural resources. - 3/17/14

Iran welcomes enhanced trade with Oman: President Rouhani

- Iran and Oman signed an agreement in 2009 for the construction of a 200-kilometre undersea gas pipeline linking the two countries. "The export of gas to Oman will mark a significant economic development in the relations between the two countries," Sibeveih said, adding that excess gas, which is projected to account for 50 percent of the total amount of the gas exported to Oman, would be delivered to Japan, South Korea and India. - 3/15/14

Iran imports over $1.6b worth of medicine in 11 months

- Iran imported $1.601 billion worth of medicine in the first eleven months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21, 2013, an official at the Iranian Customs Administration said on Wednesday. Imports of medicine rose by 23.5 percent in value and 29 percent in volume compared to the previous year - 3/13/14

Iran Thaw Seen Opening $6 Billion Market for Steel

- Global steelmakers have Iran in their sights. Even after seven years of international sanctions and the economic pain they've inflicted, the Islamic Republic still consumes more steel than France or the U.K. It's a major carmaker and needs massive infrastructure for its oil and gas industry, consuming about 20 million tons a year of the metal, most of it homemade. -Bloomberg - 3/13/14

Photos: Iranian Woman Mahnaz Mirzaei Rules Sarapardeh Coal Mine!

- Mahnaz Mirzaei was born in 1980 in the town of Zarand in Kerman province of Iran. She received a Bachelor of Mining Engineering from Kerman's Shahid Bahonar University. Mirzaei who is interested in tough or in her words "manly" jobs, chose to work at a coal mine. In 2005, she started working at an underground mine. Because of her hard work, dedication and interest, she was promoted to the head of the mine in 2006. - 3/8/14

Petrochemical Industry Key to Iran's Economic Growth

- Recently, Dr. Masoud Nili, Rouhani's economic advisor, called on the private sector to identify an industry or a group of industries with the highest potential for economic growth until the end of this year and generate 3 percent growth until the end of next year. Iran's top five industries include auto manufacturing, construction, agriculture, petrochemicals, and tourism. -Leila Piran - 3/7/14

Battle Over 'Resistance Economy' Deepens Divisions in Iran

- While government media and propaganda organizations are filled with the term "resistance economy" these days, reports indicate a deepening difference among economic activists and the various contradictory rules in the laws and economic practices. In this light, the government has suddenly reduced its direct subsidies to the public while at the same time major economic corruption cases are surfacing almost at a daily frequency. -Firoozeh Matin - 3/6/14

Iranian President Hassan Rohani adopts Supreme Leader's idea for "Economy of Resistance"

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei introduced the term "economy of resistance" in the midst of the country's rising economic problems and the widespread international sanctions imposed on the country, calling on the branches of government to devise methods of getting through the growing number of global crises in order to become "an inspiring model of an Islamic economic system." - 3/5/14

Iran, China explore mutual investment opportunities

- A delegation of over 100 Chinese traders and economic managers attended a conference, titled Iran-China Investment and Business Cooperation Forum, in Tehran on Sunday. Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng led the delegation. - 3/3/14

Iranian businessman released, faces corruption trial in Turkey

- Reza Zarrab, an Iranian businessman, is the prime suspect in the financial corruption case in Turkey involving several senior government officials. The newspaper Today's Zaman reports that Zarrab and two sons of ministers in the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan were released today by order of the Supreme Court of Turkey, following their arrest on financial corruption charges in December 2013. - 3/1/14

Iranian Power Minister warns utility rates to rise dramatically

- Iranian Power Minister Hamid Chitchian says the price of utilities will increase by 25 percent in the coming Iranian year (starting March 21). Chitchian told the Reporters Club that the increase has been approved by cabinet and will take effect in the New Year. - 3/1/14

Indian PM calls for expansion of relations with Iran

- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for the expansion of relations with Iran in all spheres during a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New Delhi on Friday. Singh and Zarif discussed the most recent developments in bilateral relations and important regional issues. - 3/1/14

Iran Says Pakistan Obliged To Finish Pipeline

- A report by the French AFP news agency on February 26 quotes Iran's Oil Ministry as calling on Islamabad to honor its contractual commitments and complete a pipeline for Iranian gas exports to Pakistan. - 2/27/14

Iran must break chain of sanctions: President Rouhani

- Addressing a large gathering of people in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas on Tuesday, Rouhani said that in the first steps, part of the sanctions on the insurance and banking systems, shipping, and automobile imports have been lifted. - 2/26/14

Iran's family cash benefits now only aimed at families in need

- Iran's Minister of the Economy has announced the family cash benefits, which so far have been sent to all households to cushion the removal of government subsidies on energy and food staples, will only be provided for families that demonstrate their financial need for such supplements, starting in the New Year. - 2/26/14

Iran to attract $100bn under new oil contracts: Official

- Iran is predicted to attract USD 100 billion in investment in its energy sector over the next four years after its new model of oil contracts takes effect, a top official says. Mehdi Hosseini, who advises Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on oil contracts, made the announcement on Wednesday; three days after Iran unveiled the draft for its new oil contract terms. - 2/26/14

Nurses at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Hospital stage sit-in

- One hundred nurses at Imam Khomeini Hospital staged a sit-in at the hospital to protest "management's refusal to address [their] collective demands." The head of the Nurses Association, Mohammad Sharif Moghaddam, told ILNA that management has ignored earlier promises to end discrimination in pay levels among nurses and has refused to cooperate with nurses' representatives to monitor the pay schedules. - 2/24/14

Iran, China finalize roadmap to double bilateral trade

- Iran and China have signed an agreement finalizing a roadmap to double bilateral trade over the course of three years. Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng signed the agreement in Tehran on Sunday. - 2/24/14

Iranian Oil Minister reveals extent of financial frauds

- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has written on his Facebook page that his ministry has been dealing with financials frauds totaling more than four trillion rials. Babak Zanjani, an Iranian tycoon and Basij member, was arrested in November in relation to a debt to the ministry of $8.2 billion dollars. - 2/20/14

Iran needs $31b to inaugurate 60 petrochemical projects

- Iran needs $31 billion to inaugurate 60 semi-finished petrochemical projects, the National Iranian Petrochemical Company's managing director said on Monday. Once the projects come on stream, they will increase the country's annual petrochemical output by 55 million tons, he said, adding that $74 billion is needed to expand the national petrochemical industry in the next 8-10 years. - 2/20/14

Cash subsidy payments will only go to low-income families, Iranian MPs decide

- On Monday, Iranian MPs approved a clause in the national budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year, which starts on March 21, according to which cash payments in the second phase of the subsidy reform plan will only be given to low-income families. - 2/18/14

Iran, Turkey start talks on gas pipeline project

- Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported that the country has started talks with Iran to establish a pipeline to transfer natural gas from Iran to Europe through Turkish soil. The pipeline will stretch about 5000 kilometers. It starts from Iran and then reaches to central Turkey and Greece. - 2/14/14

Iran Plans to Offer Better Oil Exploration Terms Than Iraq

- Iran will offer international companies better oil contracts than OPEC-rival Iraq as the Islamic republic seeks long-term investment to revive its energy industry, a government adviser said. -Bloomberg - 2/14/14

Obama Says U.S. Will Continue To Enforce Sanctions On Iran

- Speaking on February 11 at a press conference with visiting French President Francois Hollande, Obama said that the United States will "come down like a ton of bricks" on any business seeking to negotiate contracts with Iran. - 2/12/14

Iranian president signals eagerness to attract foreign investment

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani told a meeting of ambassadors and foreign political representatives in Tehran that Iran is prepared to finalize the talks with 5+1 and welcome foreign investment from international companies. - 2/11/14

Iranian Parliament Passes Budget in Win for Rouhani

- he first state budget proposed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sailed through parliament, handing him a political victory as he seeks to build domestic support for international negotiations on the country's nuclear program. -Reuters - 2/11/14

Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures

- A Reuters investigation details a key to the supreme leader's power: a little-known organization created to help the poor that morphed into a business juggernaut worth tens of billions of dollars. - 2/10/14

Iran: Khamenei Says Don't Pin Hope On Sanctions Relief

- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is urging officials not to base their hopes for the country's economic recovery on sanctions relief from any deal reached with world powers. - 2/8/14

Critics Spoil Iranian Government's Food-Aid Initiative

- A well-intended initiative to feed the needy has backfired on Iran's president. Braving heavy snow amid a bitter cold snap, low-income Iranians across the country lined up this week outside state-owned stores to receive free food packages. But the effort, which was launched on February 2, has drawn enough criticism to warrant a rare public apology from President Hassan Rohani. -Javad Kooroshy and Farangis Najibullah, RFE - 2/7/14

President Rohani points to foreign investment as an economic cure for Iran

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani spoke on live television about his government's actions to attract foreign investment, describing the positive steps he has taken to resolve the country's economic problems. - 2/7/14

Mideast Wary Over Iraq-Iran Plan to Unite in Oil Market

- Iraq is planning to triple its oil-producing capacity by 2020, hoping to leverage its natural resources in a power arrangement with Iran that could challenge Saudi Arabia's domination of the world oil market. -Jeff Seldin, VOA - 2/6/14

Kerry Warns French Companies About Doing Business With Tehran

- Reports from Washington on February 5 said Kerry called his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, to say the visit of a French business delegation to Tehran earlier this week "is not helpful" to negotiations currently under way to convince Iran to halt its nuclear development program. - 2/6/14

French business delegation aims for early bird advantage in Iran

- A delegation of more than 100 French companies arrived in Tehran on Monday in the biggest demonstration of western business interest in Iran for more than a decade. The three-day visit, includes top French companies such as oil major Total, engineer Alstom, telecoms group Orange and carmaker Renault - 2/4/14

Long Lines, Empty Hands: Rouhani Government's Distribution of Small Economic Relief Packages

- One hundred days after his election, Hassan Rouhani told reporters in November, "The Government will provide something small this year for people in low-income tiers. God willing, we hope to present people with two packages of staples for the low-income tiers by the end of this [solar] year [March 20, 2014]." - 2/4/14

The Arrests of Iranian Miners Continue

- Despite the promises made by president Hassan Rouhani's first vice-president about a review of the arrested workers cases because of workers protests, arrests of miners belonging to the Chadormalu mining complex continue and have now topped 28 miners. The vice-president had promised that nobody would be arrested because of "issues related to their wages." -Niusha Saremi - 2/4/14

Airbus to increase spare parts export to Iran

- Customer Support Director of Airbus Company in the Middle East region Paul Claassen said on Tuesday that the company is going to increase export of spare parts to Iran. In an exclusive interview with IRNA, he said the recent agreement signed by Iran and G5+1 has provided a suitable opportunity for export of spare parts for Iranian passenger planes. - 2/4/14

Switzerland, Europe's leading exporter to Iran: report

- Switzerland exported 2.6 million tons of goods to Iran, valued at $1.9 billion, in the 10-month period, ranking the sixth major exporter to Iran next to the United Arab Emirates, China, India, South Korea, and Turkey. - 2/2/14

Iran seizes assets of tycoon under investigation

- The Iranian judiciary says the assets of detained Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani have been confiscated. The Mehr News Agency reports that all the assets under Babak Zanjani's name have been identified and confiscated by order of the prosecutor. - 1/31/14

Rouhani Reaches Out at Davos

- Last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Hassan Rouhani tried to persuade world business leaders to invest in Iran, especially in its hydrocarbon and automobile sectors. His appeal is not likely to set off a gold rush; investors will wait to see if the nuclear agreement with the P5+1 is successfully concluded sometime this summer. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani - 1/30/14

Iran's 2014 Budget Taking Shape

- As the Iranian parliament begins to discuss the 2014 budget, which takes March 21, some challenges are beginning to emerge in a country with an inflation rate of 44 percent, negative economic growth and high unemployment. In particular, subsidy reform presents lawmakers with a major challenge. -Ali Sajjadi, VOA - 1/30/14

Renault set to resume car assembly in Iran

- French carmaker Renault says it has resumed shipments to Iran for vehicle assembly, less than two weeks after Iran's nuclear deal with world powers took effect. Renault's regional boss Gilles Normand said the automaker expects its car manufacturing in Iran to pick up in the first half of the year. - 1/29/14

Turkish Central Bank Makes Massive Rate Hike to Save Lira

- The bank raised its overnight lending rate to 12 percent from 7.75 percent, its one-week repo rate to 10 percent from 4.5 percent, and its overnight borrowing rate to 8 percent from 3.5 percent - all much sharper moves than economists had forecast. -Reuters - 1/29/14

Iran, Middle East's biggest crude steel producer in 2013: WSA

- Iran was the biggest producer of crude steel in the Middle East in 2013, according to the World Steel Association's latest press release. Iran produced 15.4 million tons of crude steel in 2013, a 6.6 percent rise compared to 2012. - 1/28/14

US, EU to lift sanctions against 14 giant Iranian petrochemical companies soon

- The United States and European Union would soon exclude 14 Iranian major petrochemical companies from the list of sanctions after the implementation of the Geneva deal started on January 20. - 1/27/14

Iran determined to reach final nuclear deal, seeks investment: President Rohani

- Iran is determined to negotiate a comprehensive deal on its nuclear program with major powers, President Hassan Rohani said on Thursday, inviting Western companies to seize opportunities now and invest in the country. - 1/25/14

U.S. Warns That Iran 'Not Open For Business' Despite Accord

- Officials in Washington have warned that an interim accord on Iran's nuclear program does not open the door to new economic opportunities with Tehran. "The New York Times" quotes Treasury Undersecretary David S. Cohen as saying that "Iran is not open for business," adding that "a vast network of complicated sanctions" remain in force. - 1/25/14

Rouhani Says Iran Wants Nuclear Deal, Investment

- Rouhani told corporate chiefs Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he sees Tehran "pursuing policies of moderation, prudence and hope in the future global economy." He said Iran has the potential to be one of the world's top 10 economic powers in the next 30 years, and plans to reopen trade with other countries. - 1/24/14

Iran-China trade hits $31b in 10 months: Envoy

- The value of trade between Iran and China stood at $31 billion in the first ten months of 2013, the Chinese ambassador to Tehran announced. The two-way trade grew by 5.3 percent in the first ten months of 2013 in comparison to the corresponding time last year, IRNA quoted Chinese Ambassador Yuhang Yang as saying on Monday. - 1/22/14

Iran's oil sales rise as sanctions pressure eases - sources

- Iran's oil exports have picked up modestly in January for the third consecutive month, according to sources who track tanker movements, adding to signs that the easing of sanctions pressure on Tehran is helping its oil exports to recover. -Reuters - 1/22/14
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