Aban 2 1399 - October 23 2020
Trump's quiet war against civilians in Iran continues amid the pandemic

With people in Iran already suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and crippling U.S. sanctions, the Trump administration earlier this month unveiled yet another set of sanctions that could restrict Iranians' access to food and medicine even further. This move has gone largely unnoticed in the United States, with the first presidential debate passing without mention of Trump's disastrous "maximum pressure" policy on Iran. But for Iranians, it is impossible to ignore. -Niloofar Adnani, Responsible Statecraft 10/22/20

'There Is No Insulin': Desperate Iranians Tweet Calls For Life-Saving Drug

Tens of thousands of diabetics in Iran are said to be facing shortages of insulin, with many such patients and their loved ones complaining that the problem could have life-threatening consequences. Some Iranians have taken to social media to protest the scarcity of insulin pens and highlight their plight or that of loved ones who need daily injections of what they describe as "oxygen" for diabetics. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 10/22/20

China wins, India loses in Trump's gamble on crushing Iran

India has found itself on the losing end of the Trump administration's gamble in Asia and its "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran. In some ways, the damage may be irreversible, as China is expanding its presence in Iran and moving quickly to fill gaps created by U.S. sanctions. -Fatemeh Aman, Responsible Statecraft 10/22/20

Payment24 CEO: Criminal in the US, service provider to Iran

To the United States, he is a criminal and a threat to national security. To Iranians cut off from the international financial system by US sanctions, he was an invaluable provider of services many people in other countries take for granted. Last week, Iranian citizen Sajjad Shahidian was sentenced to 23 months in prison by a US federal court in Minneapolis, Minnesota for his role in operating Payment24 - an online financial services company prosecutors say helped Iranians conduct transactions with US-based businesses prohibited under sanctions. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 10/21/20

Iran's rial climbs to one-month high after central bank injects cash

The Iranian rial bounced back from record lows to a near one-month high against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday after the central bank said it had injected about $375 million into the market to support the troubled currency. The dollar was selling for about 277,000 rials on the unofficial market, down from 304,500 on Monday, according to foreign exchange site Bonbast.com. -Reuters 10/21/20

Iran's strategic Goreh-Jask oil pipeline project nearing completion

Iran's new 1000-kilometer-long Goreh-Jask oil pipeline in the southern Hormozgan province, which will provide the country with an alternative route for crude oil exports that are currently transferred through the Strait of Hormuz, has registered over 60 percent of physical progress and is underway with full force. The project, which is aimed at expanding the oil transport capacity in the south of the country to one million barrels a day, was inaugurated in late June by President Hassan Rouhani. 10/20/20

'Made in Iran' Thrives in Economy Trump Tried to Crush

There can't have been many worse times to start a new business in Iran. Even before officials in the Islamic Republic alerted the public to a major outbreak of the coronavirus, the country started the year in a tense standoff with the U.S. while its economy was being crippled by sanctions. For a trio of design graduates, a captive market of tens of millions of consumers starved of imports made it worth the risk. Their fashion brand, Koi, has sold thousands of crop tops and striped jeans since July. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 10/19/20

In the age of Covid, sanctions against 'rogue states' just spread the misery

Aggressive measures affecting North Korea, Iran and Venezuela have merely hurt the vulnerable and hardened attitudes -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 10/19/20

IMF reveals 2021 forecasts for oil prices and the Middle East economy

The International Monetary Fund downgraded its outlook for Middle East and Central Asian economic recovery, predicting a 4.1% contraction for the region as a whole - 1.3 percentage points worse than its previous assessment in April - in its latest regional outlook report released Monday. -Natasha Turak, CNBC 10/19/20

New sanctions on Iran's banks: Crippling or more window dressing?

On October 8, the Trump administration imposed its latest round of sanctions on Iran: bank sanctions it touted in the run-up to the action as crippling and which proponents, including Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), reportedly hope will cause the collapse of Iran's economy. Setting aside the wisdom of trying to collapse an economy in the middle of a COVID-19 resurgence, the goal of blacklisting the rest of Iran's financial sector has been a stalking horse for hardliners for some time. -Brian O'Toole, Atlantic Council 10/14/20

Iran's Covid-19 Death Toll Is Rising. Show Mercy, Mr. Trump.

In 2003, when an earthquake killed thousands in the Iranian city of Bam, President George W. Bush set aside years of animosity and sent an airlift of rescuers and medical supplies. He also temporarily eased some restrictions on sending money and goods to the country. "American people care and we've got great compassion for human suffering," Mr. Bush told CNN in the aftermath of the quake. "It's right to take care of people when they hurt." -New York Times Editorial Board 10/14/20

Iran in shock after 11-year-old boy commits suicide over poverty

The suicide of an 11-year old boy from a destitute family has sent shock waves across Iranian society, further highlighting the questions of growing poverty and state neglect. -Al-Monitor 10/14/20

Trump thinks 'maximum pressure' will change Iran. History says he's wrong.

Trump prefers to use "maximum pressure" in the form of belligerent rhetoric, diplomatic isolation and unilateral sanctions to try to force dramatic changes in Tehran. He insists that regime change isn't his aim, and regularly muses about being able to secure a deal with Iran's leaders within "the first month" of his reelection. But some administration officials have been more candid about their real goals, noting, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has put it, that while Iran's government may not change course, "the people can change the government" and that Washington is willing to help them do it. -Philip H. Gordon and Ariane M. Tabatabai, Washington Post 10/14/20

Iranian biotechnology ranks 12th in world, first in West Asia

Iran is ranked 12th in the world and first in West Asia in terms of biotechnology, as 9.5 percent of the income of knowledge-based companies and more than 60 percent of their exports are related to biotechnology. Foreign exchange savings of $1B per year by producing 22 biopharmaceuticals, gaining the first rank in biotechnology products and vaccines in West Asia, and the presence among the top five biotechnology producers in Asia are among the country's achievements... -Tehran Times 10/13/20

Iran says deal reached to unlock funds frozen in Iraq

Tehran, Iran - Iran's central bank chief on Monday announced an agreement has been reached with Iraqi officials to unlock Iranian funds frozen in Iraqi banks as part of United States sanctions to buy humanitarian goods. The announcement follows in the wake of Washington's decision last week to blacklist Iran's entire financial sector - a move critics contend will further hamper Tehran's ability to buy vital food and medicines as it battles the worst COVID-19 crisis in the Middle East. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 10/13/20

Iran rights council: US criminal sanctions target Iranians' lives, health

Iran's top human rights council has strongly condemned recent US sanctions on Iranian financial system and banks, noting that by curtailing the country's access to medicine and other humanitarian equipment, Washington's sanctions are taking direct aim at Iranian people's lives and health. -Press TV 10/12/20

Iran's rial falls to new low, as coronavirus deaths hit new high

The Iranian rial fell to a new low against the U.S. dollar on Sunday as a record daily death toll from COVID-19 compounded concerns over new U.S. sanctions which may block some of Iran's medicine purchases. The dollar was selling for as much as 312,200 rials on the unofficial market, up from 304,300 on Saturday, according to the foreign exchange site Bonbast.com. -Reuters 10/12/20

US hits all of Iran's financial sector with sanctions

The Trump administration has blacklisted virtually all of Iran's financial sector, dealing another blow to an economy that is already reeling under U.S. sanctions. The move will deepen tensions with European nations and others over Iran. Thursday's move hits 18 Iranian banks that had thus far escaped the bulk of re-imposed U.S. sanctions and, more importantly, subjects foreign, non-Iranian financial institutions to penalties for doing business with them. Thus, it effectively cuts them off from the international financial system. -AP 10/9/20

'Treating us like garbage': New sanctions announced as many Iranian Americans feel fed up with Trump

While some Iranian Americans fully support President Donald Trump, Nazmiyal is among scores of Iranian Americans who have no loyalty to the repressive regime in Tehran, but who are fed up with a White House that has vilified their homeland, banned their family members from visiting the U.S., and stoked fears of a military conflict. From the Muslim ban to an endless stream of sanctions and saber-rattling, they hear about their relatives suffering in Iran and feel increased hostility in their adopted homeland. -Kim Hjelmgaard Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY 10/9/20

The undeniable cruelty of Trump's 'maximum pressure' on Iran

The Trump administration calls its policy towards Iran one of "maximum pressure." By its latest move, it would more properly be called "siege and starve," as the feigned interest in establishing leverage for comprehensive negotiations with Iran has been replaced by a full-throttle push to pulverize Iran's economy and collapse its social and economic life. -Tyler Cullis, Responsible Statecraft 10/9/20

Iran foreign minister on China visit following US sanctions

China says Iran's foreign minister will visit the country from Friday to Saturday, a day after the Trump administration blacklisted virtually all of Iran's financial sector in the latest step aimed at the oil-rich country's economy. In a brief announcement, China's foreign ministry said only that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was visiting at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. -AP 10/9/20

India works to boost influence in Iran as Beijing-Tehran ties warm

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar both visited Tehran last month, on separate occasions but within the same week. Though the purpose of the meetings - according to official statements - was aimed at "strengthening bilateral cooperation" and discussing some "important regional issues," the agenda likely included the handling of Chabahar Port in Iran. -Sabena Siddiqui, Al-Monitor 10/9/20

Trump administration to impose crushing sanctions on Iran in defiance of European humanitarian concerns

The Trump administration has decided to impose new sanctions on Iran's financial sector in defiance of European allies who warned that the move could have devastating humanitarian consequences on a country reeling from the novel coronavirus and an ongoing currency crisis, three officials familiar with the decision said Wednesday. - John Hudson, Washington Post 10/8/20

Iran Set to Export More Oil If Biden Wins U.S. Presidency

Iran could restore almost 2 million barrels of oil exports daily if Joe Biden wins next month's U.S. presidential election, according to the head of the International Energy Forum. If Biden, as he's indicated, tries to revive an Iranian nuclear pact that President Donald Trump took the U.S. out of in mid-2018, negotiations between the two sides will probably lead to more output from the Islamic Republic, according to Joe McMonigle. -Bloomberg 10/8/20

Humour, resignation, despair: Living with inflation in Iran

On paper, Iran's economy is holding up relatively well given the world is in the throes of a once in a century pandemic. The country's non-oil sector shrank by a mere 0.6 percent in the quarter ended June 20, according to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) - despite enduring the most acute COVID-19 crisis in the Middle East. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 10/5/20

US Weighing Sanctions to Cripple Iran Humanitarian Trade

The Trump administration is reportedly considering a new set of sanctions designations targeting 14 Iranian banks that are not currently subject to secondary sanctions. The new designations would be made under authorities associated with "terrorism, ballistic-missile development and human-rights abuses." The targeting of these banks would cripple Iran's already degraded channels for the importation of humanitarian goods-including food and medicine-at a time when the country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse & Bazaar 10/2/20

Iran's Civilian Population Would Bear Costs of New Trump Sanctions

In the midst of a global pandemic, the U.S. should be looking at how to ease the flow of medicine and food to civilian populations around the globe. However, elements within the Trump administration are instead reported to be considering a proposal championed by the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and pro-war Senators that would further escalate pain on Iran's civilian population. -Ryan Costello, Medium 10/1/20

Venezuela receives gasoline from Iran amid surge in protests

The second of three ships loaded with gasoline from Iran approached fuel-starved Venezuela on Wednesday amid simmering social unrest over a lack of goods and services that's sparked protests across the South American nation. More than 100 street demonstrations have flared up in remote towns over the last week. -AP 10/1/20

Tankers carrying Iranian fuel begin entering Venezuelan waters - data

The first of a group of three tankers carrying Iranian fuel for gasoline-starved Venezuela entered the waters of the South American nation on Monday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, in the most recent sign of the countries' expanding trade. The two OPEC members have increased cooperation this year by exchanging crude, fuel, food, equipment for refineries and other industrial goods. Many details about the transactions are not available. -Reuters 9/29/20

Iran and Iraq agree to boost ties in high-level meetings

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein has concluded a two-day diplomatic trip to Tehran, during which he met with top Iranian officials to discuss boosting political and economic ties, and the role of the United States in the region. On Saturday, Hussein met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and parliament Speaker Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf. - Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera 9/28/20

US sanctions are harming Iran's Covid-19 response & amount to 'medical terrorism', FM Zarif tells RT

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused the United States of impeding his country's ability to fight coronavirus, explaining that US sanctions have prevented the purchase of critical medical supplies. Washington's efforts to stop Tehran from exporting oil have limited the government's ability to respond to the global health crisis and provide relief to the Iranian people, Zarif said in an interview with 'Worlds Apart' host Oksana Boyko. "Whatever the Americans are saying about their sanctions not affecting humanitarian items, it's just a lie... It's basically medical terrorism." -RT 9/28/20

The Trump administration's fantasy about snapping back sanctions on Iran

The Trump administration's obsession with Iran degenerated some time ago into aimless hostility that has yielded nothing but negative results. With a track record of well over two years, the Trump policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran has resulted in increased, not decreased, Iranian nuclear activity. The policy has resulted in increased, not decreased, aggressive Iranian actions in the Middle East, including attacks on neighboring states' oil facilities that Iran never had attempted before the U.S. administration's attempt to destroy Iran's own oil trade. The policy has increased, not decreased, the political power of hardliners in Tehran. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 9/25/20

In sign of frustration, US shortens sanctions waiver to Iraq

The United States has extended a sanctions waiver that enables Iraq to continue importing gas from Iran but this time granting a significantly shorter waiver period, Iraqi officials and the U.S. State Department said Thursday. The development is a sign of unease in U.S.-Iraq relations amid near-daily attacks targeting American presence in the Mideast country and underscores the standing U.S. demand that Baghdad wean itself off dependence on Iranian oil. -AP 9/25/20

Iran: The double jeopardy of sanctions and COVID-19

U.S. sanctions have hobbled Iran's response to the pandemic. In March 2020, Iran became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic outside China. In late February, after hushing up the news of the arrival of the virus, the government admitted to two deaths from the disease in the holy city of Qom. However, by then the pandemic had spread to other parts of the country. Suddenly, Iran's leaders found themselves fighting on two separate fronts: one to save the economy from U.S. sanctions and the other to save lives and the economy from the pandemic. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Responsible Statecraft 9/24/20

Alone among nations, US moves to restore UN Iran sanctions

The United States slapped additional sanctions on Iran on Monday after the Trump administration's disputed unilateral weekend declaration that all United Nations penalties eased under the 2015 nuclear deal had been restored. But few U.N. member states believe the U.S. has the legal standing to restore the sanctions because Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. -AP 9/22/20

European leaders warn US move to reimpose Iran sanctions is legally void

European leaders have warned the US that its claim to have the authority to reimpose sweeping UN-mandated sanctions on Iran has no effect in law, setting up a major legal clash that could lead to Washington imposing sanctions on its European allies. In a joint statement on Sunday, France, Germany and the UK (E3) said any attempt by the US to impose its own sanctions on countries not complying with the reimposed UN ones was also legally void. -Guardian 9/21/20

Iran's rial hits record low as tension spikes with the U.S.

The Iranian rial fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market on Sunday, a day after the U.S. President Donald Trump's administration declared all United Nations sanctions on Tehran had been restored. The dollar was offered for as much as 273,000 rials, up from 267,800 rials on Saturday, according to foreign exchange site Bonbast.com, which tracks the unofficial market. -Reuters 9/21/20

Trump plans executive order to punish arms trade with Iran - sources

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to issue an executive order allowing him to impose U.S. sanctions on anyone who violates a conventional arms embargo against Iran, four sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The proximate cause for the U.S. action is the impending expiry of a U.N. arms embargo on Iran and to warn foreign actors - U.S. entities are already barred from such trade - that if they buy or sell arms to Iran they will face U.S. sanctions. -Reuters 9/18/20

Showdown set as US to declare UN sanctions on Iran are back

In defiance of overwhelming opposition, the United States is preparing to declare that all international sanctions against Iran have been restored. Few countries believe the move is legal, and such action could provoke a credibility crisis at the United Nations. Virtually alone in the world, the Trump administration will announce on Saturday that U.N. sanctions on Iran eased under the 2015 nuclear deal are back in force. -AP 9/17/20

US sanctions 'ruining lives', Iran tells United Nations court

Iran urged the UN's top court on Wednesday to hear its bid to overturn US nuclear sanctions, saying they were destroying the Iranian economy and "ruining millions of lives". The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is hearing arguments this week from Tehran and Washington before deciding whether it has jurisdiction to deal with the case. -Al Jazeera 9/17/20

Iran's rial hits new low against dollar as economy reels

The Iranian rial fell to a new low against the U.S. dollar on Saturday as the economy reels under the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. sanctions. The dollar was selling for as much as 263,500 rials on the unofficial market, up from 257,000 on Friday, according to foreign exchange site Bonbast.com. The economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad's website gave the dollar rate as 260,800, up 5,100 rials from Friday. 9/14/20

U.S. asks World Court to dismiss Iran sanctions case

Lawyers for the United States on Monday asked judges at the United Nations' highest court to dismiss a case brought by Iran seeking to lift sanctions. Lawyer Marik String said Iran had wrongly introduced a subject uncovered by a 1955 bilateral pact, the Treaty of Amity, which Tehran cites as the basis for going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court. -Reuters 9/14/20

Venezuela Defies U.S. Sanctions With First Iranian Oil Import

An oil tanker is discharging Iranian condensate for Venezuela as both countries continue to avoid U.S. sanction tripwires. The ship is identified in internal documents as Honey, according to a report and a person with knowledge of the situation. -Bloomnerg 9/14/20

Tehran Stock Exchange: The end of an illusion

In an economy besieged by sanctions and handicapped by corruption, the Tehran Stock Exchange offered a rare opportunity for making profits and creating wealth. That opportunity, however, has proved to be a mirage. From a peak index of 2,065,114, the exchange - known as the TSE - fell to 1,631,941 last week, signaling a 20% drop, erasing millions of dollars of value of different portfolios and financial asset holdings. -Ali Dadpay 9/11/20

Venezuela gasoline queues grow as Iranian tankers take long route

A ngry Venezuelans are once again stuck in long service station lines due to rationing by President Nicolas Maduro's government, which is awaiting fuel tankers on their way from Iran to the oil-rich but fuel-starved South American nation. Venezuela's refineries have nearly halted operations due to years of underinvestment while U.S. sanctions meant to force the ruling Socialist Party from power have severely restricted fuel imports, leaving Maduro dependent on ally Iran for gasoline. -Reuters 9/10/20

Iran's move towards China will have global ramifications

The decision by Iran and China to embark on what amounts to a 25-year strategic partnership has touched off a flurry of analysis and speculation around the world. The agreement - which has yet to be formalised - is set to transform Iran's foreign policy outlook by triggering a move towards the East. -Mahan Abedin, Middle East Eye 9/9/20

Iran taps rainy-day kitty to shore up stock market

The Iranian government says it will put aside one percent of the country's sovereign wealth fund to stabilize the stock market which has fallen for consecutive sessions in recent weeks. The Tehran Stock Exchange's overall index lost 3,564 points to 1,546,446 within 20 minutes after opening on Wednesday. 9/9/20

US ELECTIONS: Biden win could lead to surge in Iranian oil exports by 2022

Iran sanctions relief under a change in US president represents the biggest supply and price impact for global oil markets heading into the November election, with analysts expecting a Biden White House to quickly return to the negotiating table with Tehran. S&P Global Platts Analytics predicts 1.5 million b/d of Iranian exports could return to the market within a year of a new deal that removes US oil sanctions. -S&P Global 9/9/20

Jaishankar in Iran as India's worried about China deal & Beijing 'grabbing' Chabahar Port

China and Iran are on the verge of signing an economic and strategic agreement worth $400 billion, but India wants to ensure that the Chabahar project in the West Asian country doesn't see any Chinese involvement. This was among the reasons why External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who is travelling to Moscow Tuesday for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's foreign ministers' meeting, made a stopover in Iran's capital Tehran to meet his counterpart Javad Zarif. -The Print, India 9/8/20

What is behind the hype about the new Iran-China partnership?

The mainstream US media and think-tanks based along the Washington, DC, beltway have been gripped by two recent momentous developments in the Middle East, both interpreted as escalations in the geopolitical conflict between the US and Iran: the news of a prospective strategic partnership agreement between Iran and China, and the normalisation of relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel. -Tom Hussain, Al Jazeera 9/8/20

850,000 Iranians lose jobs amid coronavirus

Some 850,000 people have lost their jobs since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran until August 1, Masoud Babaei, an official with the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labour, and Social Welfare, said on Monday. Since the first cases of the disease were identified in the country, numerous businesses were affected, 62 percent of which were in the service sector that usually has the largest workforce, he stated. 9/7/20

Iran blocked from selling a drop of oil in exchange for food, medicine: Official

The head of Iran's Plan and Budget Organization has said that the country is facing bans harsher than oil-for-food sanctions as it is being prohibited from selling its oil in exchange for food or medicine. "The harshest phase of sanctions were oil-for-food sanctions but today we are in a condition in which these murderous and malicious [powers] prohibit the sale of a drop of oil for even food or medicine," Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said on Thursday. -Press TV 9/4/20

Iran is pioneer in biotechnology, ICT, and artificial intelligence in region: VP

Iran is playing the leading role in the region in the fields of fintech, ICT, stem cell, aerospace, and is unrivaled in artificial intelligence, Sourena Sattari, the vice president for science and technology, told the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview on Saturday. He went on to say that in terms of biotechnology Iran is at the forefront by producing 24 biomedicines. -Ali A. Jenabzadeh & Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 9/2/20

Novo Nordisk Sets Up Insulin Production Line in Iran

Iran's health minister said that the world's top insulin-maker, Novo Nordisk of Denmark, had unveiled on Monday a production line of the drug in Iran. Saeed Namaki inaugurated the plant's production line, located in Alborz province, via video conference, the government website reported. -Bourse & Bazaar 9/1/20

Number of trading accounts in stock market reaches 48.5 million

The number of trading accounts in Iran's stock market has reached 48.5 million by the end of the last Iranian calendar month (August 21), while the figure was 9.086 million at the end of the same month in the past year, Mehr news agency reported on Monday, citing the data released by Finance and Economic Affairs Ministry. 8/31/20

A Look Inside the Housing Crisis of Tehran

Hashem Shakeri's work Cast Out of Heaven takes a look at the largest state-funded housing plan in the history of Iran and seeks to underline the negative domino effects linked to massive population growth in new towns outside the country's capital. -PHmuseum 8/31/20

How U.S. Drove Iran and China Into Tighter Embrace

Since its Islamic revolution in 1979, Iran's foreign policy motto has been "neither East nor West," based on first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's warning to avoid dependence on outsiders. Under the pressure of U.S. measures aimed at crippling its economy, however, Iran has grown ever closer to America's principal rival, China, and vice versa. The two are said to be contemplating a 25-year strategic partnership. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 8/28/20

Iran to provide full subsidy on electricity for 8.4 mln households: Minister

Iran is to offer full subsidy on electricity used by millions of households, according to the country's energy minister, as the government seeks to encourage lower consumption of power among customers. Reza Ardakanian said on Wednesday that the plan to offer free electricity would cover almost 8.4 million households whose power consumption is below the average use of the country. -Press TV 8/28/20

Only 74 international travelers visit Iran during spring

The number of foreign travelers to Iran has drastically plunged due to the global coronavirus pandemic as the Islamic Republic registered only 74 visits during the spring season. "Iran's [inbound] tourism came to almost zero and the country had 74 foreign tourists in the first three months of this [Iranian calendar] year (started on March 20), due to corona outbreak," Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan in a televised interview late on Tuesday. 8/27/20

Iranian steel industry outshining the world against the odds

Iranian Steel industry has been constantly developing over the past years against all the pressures and obstacles created by the outside forces like the U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus outbreak that has severely affected the performance of the world's top producers. -Tehran Times 8/26/20

Factors contributing to recent falling trend in stock market

Iranian capital market, which had been unprecedentedly experiencing growth over the recent months, has been witnessing a falling trend over the past two weeks. The market, which had managed to absorb some high amount of liquidity in the current Iranian calendar year (began on March 20), has passed several consecutive days of losses recently. -Mahnaz Abdi, Tehran Times 8/26/20

Venezuela's Maduro thanks Iran for helping oil industry overcome U.S. sanctions

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday thanked ally Iran for helping the South American country overcome U.S. sanctions on its oil industry and floated the idea of purchasing missiles from the country. "We are helping each other," Maduro said in an interview broadcast on state television. "I think the Iranian experience will help us reinforce our management capacity." -Reuters 8/24/20

Iran's FM Zarif writes to UNSC chief: US has no right to demand restoration of sanctions

In a letter to the chairman of the UN Security Council on Thursday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted the U.S. for it illegal moves to return UN sanctions on Iran, reiterating that since the U.S. has formally withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear agreement has no right to return UN sanctions. 8/21/20

Iran mobile operator launches second 5G mast in capital Tehran

An Iranian mobile operator has launched a second antenna for providing superfast internet based on the so-called fifth generation technology (5G) in the capital Tehran. Iran's telecoms minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi took to his Twitter page on Thursday to announce the launch while sending a picture that showed the system was operating smoothly on a mobile phone. 8/21/20

Covid-19 Taking Toll on 50% of Iranian Startups

Around 50% of Iranian startups will most probably collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact, Iran's ICT Guild Organization declared in a report. According to the organization, only 12% of tech teams have benefited from business opportunities presented by the pandemic and life under lockdown. Data gathered by the organization paint a bleak perspective and indicate that following the viral outbreak, unemployment has grown significantly in the sector. -Financial Tribune 8/20/20

Snapback: The last gasp of Trump's failed Iran strategy

With Americans dealing with a pandemic and many focused on the elections, the Trump administration is putting on a diplomatic theater of the absurd at the United Nations Security Council. Fresh off a stunning, if predictable, defeat in seeking to extend the United Nations arms embargo on Iran in violation of the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. is expected to try to trigger snapback of all U.N. sanctions on Iran in a bid to tear down the nuclear accord struck under President Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. -Ryan Costello, Responsible Statecraft 8/20/20

Iran sanctions: Trump threatens to unilaterally reimpose UN measures

President Donald Trump has announced that secretary of state Mike Pompeo will activate a controversial mechanism aimed at reimposing UN sanctions on Iran, escalating a row with European allies that has huge repercussions for the Iranian nuclear deal. Pompeo will travel to New York on Thursday to notify the UN security council that the US is triggering the so-called "snapback" procedure, which Britain, France and Germany say it doesn't have the right to do. -AFP 8/20/20

Iranian hard-liner under fire after opening Pandora's box of corruption

Allegations of deep-rooted corruption raised by a top hard-line politician against some of Iran's most powerful institutions have sparked intense infighting and are further blurring the political stage ahead of the next presidential race. -Al Monitor 8/19/20

How China could shape Iran's economic future

Today, Iran is preparing for a 25-year strategic accord with China under its "look East" strategy, while renewing an older pact with Russia. With Tehran's resistance to "submitting" to what it perceives as the "western sphere", and specifically US demands, the only way out of its dire economic and political impasse is to go to bed with China. -Shahriar Sabet, Middle East Eye 8/19/20

Challenges and opportunities confronting female-headed households in Iran: a qualitative study

Female-headed households are one of the most vulnerable groups of society that confront many problems and challenges. Therefore, the present study aimed to explore the challenges and opportunities confronting female-headed households in Iran. -Javad Yoosefi Lebni, et al, BMC Women's Health 8/18/20

The U.S. Brings State-Sponsored Piracy Into the 21st Century

It was definitely the 21st century when I went to sleep Thursday night, but by Friday morning it was starting to feel as though I'd slipped back in time a few hundred years, to an age of state-sponsored piracy. News that the U.S. had seized the cargoes of four oil tankers, allegedly carrying Iranian gasoline from the Persian Gulf to Venezuela, conjured images of British privateers - in essence, state-sponsored pirates - attacking Spanish treasure fleets carrying gold, silver and precious stones from the New World back to Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. -Julian Lee, Bloomberg 8/17/20

Where does Iran stand in the India-China regional rivalry?

The possible strategic agreement between Iran and China presents concerns not only for the United States, but also for one of the premier powers of the Asian continent: India. On a visit to Tehran in May 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a memorandum of understanding with Tehran in a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to develop the strategic Iranian seaport of Chabahar. -Saeid Jafari, Responsible Statecraft 8/14/20

Officials: U.S. seizes Iranian gas heading for Venezuela

The Trump administration has seized the cargo of four tankers it was targeting for transporting Iranian fuel to Venezuela, U.S. officials said Thursday, as it steps up its campaign of maximum pressure against the two heavily sanctioned allies. A senior U.S. official told The Associated Press that no military force was used in the seizures and that the ships weren't physically confiscated. Rather, U.S. officials threatened ship owners, insurers and captains with sanction to force them to hand over their cargo, which now becomes U.S. property, the official said. -AP 8/14/20

It's time to end senseless, endless sanctions

Despite developing more targeted "smart sanctions" aimed primarily at group and national leaders, elongated sanctions episodes continued to wreak disastrous consequences on civilians through the present day. The Trump Administration's use of maximum pressure sanctions, which some see as targeted, plus trade sanctions on steroids, have devastated civilians in North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela, thus solidifying wide acceptance that sanctions constitute economic war. -George A. Lopez, Responsible Statecraft 8/11/20

Russia to Build $1.6b Port to Boost Trade With Iran, India, China

Russia is planning to build a port on the Caspian Sea near the city of Lagan to increase trade in the region and beyond. Plans to build the port have been included in the official Russian Federation blueprint for the region issued on July 29, Global Construction Review reported. 8/11/20

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