Bahman 5 1401 - January 25 2023
Iran wants a sustainable nuclear deal. Only the lifting of US sanctions can achieve this

Thanks to Trump's ill-advised maximum-pressure strategy, Iran is close to being a nuclear-weapon threshold state. This is easily reversed - but only if Iran feels it can trust the West. The only way out of this crisis is for the US to lift the economic sanctions with which it has been strangling Iran and thereby ensure the sustainability of the deal. If it does, Iran, for its part, will fully implement its commitments under the JCPOA permanently. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, MEE 12/29/21

Iranians seek foreign shores as reform hopes fade

Unlike many Iranians, Maryam never dreamt of emigrating to a western state. She believed her home country could deliver a bright future for her 10-year-old son. But this year her two-decade-old industrial import business nearly collapsed because of the long-running effect of sanctions imposed by the US. The election in June of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi after moderate candidates were disqualified dealt a blow to her hopes that the situation would improve. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Irish Times 12/29/21

Iran orders crypto-mining ban to prevent winter blackouts

Iran for the second time this year ordered a shutdown of authorized cryptocurrency mining centers as part of efforts to ease the strain on the country's power plants and avoid blackouts, according to Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, director of the state-run Iran Grid Management Co. and a spokesman for Iran's power industry. -Bloomberg 12/29/21

Time to look inward: Not all of Iran's problems are caused by the West

To this author's mind, ideology continues to distort Tehran's foreign - and domestic - policies. In the last two decades, Iran's economic, social, and political conditions have steadily deteriorated. A brief period of recovery occurred after the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 and the partial lifting of U.S. economic sanctions as a result. -Shireen Hunter, Responsible Statecraft 12/28/21

Iran nuclear talks resume with Tehran focused on relief from sanctions

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed on Monday with Tehran focused on one side of the original bargain, lifting sanctions against it, despite scant progress on reining in its atomic activities. 12/28/21

Iran says Vienna nuclear talks to restart around joint document

The eighth round of Iran nuclear talks will start on Monday in Vienna based on a new joint document that incorporates key Iranian demands such as guarantees and verification on the lifting of sanctions, Iran's foreign minister has said. Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in the capital Tehran on Monday that an "acceptable" joint text has been agreed which includes talking points on sanctions and nuclear issues. -Al Jazeera 12/27/21

Iran insists on crude exports as Vienna nuclear talks resume

Iran insisted on Monday that the United States and its allies promise to allow Tehran to export its crude as negotiations on restoring the tattered nuclear deal were to resume in Vienna. The remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian signal that Iran is pressing its position ahead of the negotiations over reviving the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The talks were adjourned earlier this month after a round marked by tensions over new demands from Tehran. -AP 12/27/21

The promise of wealth brings Iran and Azerbaijan together after Armenia tensions

Iran and Azerbaijan were quick to escalate their rhetoric when a heated war of words broke out between the two countries on the first anniversary of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Tehran accused Baku of offering its territory to Israel to spy on Iran and of deploying Syrian mercenaries in the 44-day war against Armenia. Baku accused Tehran of "briefly invading" parts of southern Azerbaijan during the war and allying with Armenia for organised drug trafficking to Europe. -MEE 12/27/21

Iranians Express Skepticism, Frustration Over Nuclear Talks

Frustration and skepticism are growing among Iranians as indirect talks between Tehran and the United States aimed at reviving a landmark nuclear deal remain mired in delays and disputes. When Iran and world powers signed the accord in 2015, it triggered euphoric scenes across the Islamic republic. Many Iranians hoped it would spell the end of years of crippling international sanctions. -RFE/RL 12/23/21

Sri Lanka plans to pay off Iran oil debt with tea

Sri Lanka plans to settle a debt for past oil imports from Iran by paying it off in tea, a government minister said. Ramesh Pathirana said his country hoped to send $5m worth of tea to Iran each month to clear a $251m debt. Sri Lanka is experiencing a severe debt and foreign exchange crisis, which has been made worse by the loss of tourist income during the coronavirus pandemic. -BBC 12/23/21

Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul freight train launched

The Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) railway project, or ECO freight train, was inaugurated with the first freight train moving on Tuesday during a ceremony attended by Iranian and Pakistani officials. Pakistani Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood inaugurated the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul freight train at Margalla railway station, in Islamabad. -Tehran Times 12/23/21

Inside the Iranian Bitcoin mining industry

ViraMiner is an Iranian company that sets up Bitcoin mining farms and maintains them. It has two offices in western Tehran, located in separate adjacent buildings. When Magazine visits, its old office is busy on a Monday afternoon. This place is now officially dedicated to its repairing services alone. -Saeed Jalili, Coin Telegraph 12/22/21

Iran Can't Afford to Delay a Deal

There should be little doubt in Tehran about the urgent necessity of restoring the nuclear agreement. To appreciate the significance of a nuclear deal revival for Iran, one need only cast a cursory glance at the grave economic, foreign-policy, security, and environmental crises plaguing the country today. Without a functioning deal that keeps U.S. sanctions lifted, if only for a few years, no Iranian government can hope to adequately respond to most-if not all-of these challenges. -Sajjad Safaei, FP 12/22/21

Iran Restarts West African Auto Plant, Leaving Arms Shipment Dispute In The Past

An Iranian car company has restarted production at a plant in Senegal, west Africa, in a story of perseverance in the face of substantial political and economic challenges. The plant has had a turbulent, stop-start history that highlights the rocky path that Iranian companies sometimes have to travel when they expand abroad. -Forbes 12/22/21

Another Ethereum Education Initiative Canceled Over Iran Sanctions Fears

Gitcoin, a crowdfunding platform, discontinued a campaign aimed at helping Farsi-speaking students learn Ethereum coding, in another sign U.S.-based cryptocurrency companies are becoming extra cautious about obeying sanctions. The grant's suspension followed blockchain startup ConsenSys' removal of 50 Iranian students from its smart-contract programming course. -Coindesk 12/21/21

China Ramps Up Iran Oil Purchases After Getting New Quotas

China ramped up its buying of cheap Iranian crude last month after independent refiners were granted additional import quotas for 2021. The nation imported almost 18 million barrels in November, equivalent to about 600,000 barrels a day, according to market intelligence firm Kpler. -Bloomberg 12/17/21

Teachers Across Iran Protest for Fair Pay, Release of Jailed Colleagues

The government of Iran should allow teachers to exercise their right to public protest without the threat of violence or arbitrary arrest, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in a statement today. Teachers should be allowed to voice their legitimate demands for fair pay and the release of their unlawfully jailed colleagues. -CHRI 12/14/21

Iran says UK is discussing how to repay 400m pounds debt

UK government officials were in Tehran last week discussing legal ways to pay Britain's historical 400m pounds debt to Iran, the Iranian ambassador to London has said. Mohsen Baharvand added that he was in live discussions with the Foreign Office, and said the issues were not insurmountable. The UK Foreign Office has refused to discuss any details of the payment to Iran, or what has been holding up the settling of the 400m pounds debt dating back to an arms sale to Iran in the mid-1970s. -Guardian 12/10/21

Iranian Fashion Brands Go Upmarket Amid International Sanctions

The 9th annual edition of the International Apparel Exhibition Iran Mode was held this week at the Tehran Permanent Fairground in the Iranian capital. The trade show, which ran Dec. 5 to 8, saw 167 domestic exhibitors present their products, ranging from clothing and accessory retailers and manufacturers to machinery companies and yarn and textile producers. Software companies providing design and retail management solutions were also in attendance. -Parastoo Nabati, Business of Fashion 12/9/21

US sanctions won't create leverage in nuclear talks, Iran warns

Iran and the United States exchanged barbs on Tuesday after the Biden administration imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian entities and officials, with Tehran warning Washington that the measures would not "create leverage" in nuclear deal talks. The US Treasury Department blacklisted the Special Units of Iran's Law Enforcement Forces and Counter-Terror Special Forces and several officials linked to the agencies, accusing them of human rights abuses. -Al Jazeera 12/8/21

Money launderer for Iran, dubbed 'the Turkish Gatsby,' enjoys lavish life in Miami

Facing 130 years in prison, infamous Turkish-Iranian money launderer Reza Zarrab took a plea deal in 2017 agreeing to testify in U.S. courts. Federal officials have since kept him out of the spotlight, while allowing him to lead a government-sanctioned life of luxury under a false identity in Miami. -Miami Herald 12/8/21

Trade, Not Investment, is Iran's Sanctions Relief Must-Have

Last week, the seventh round of the negotiations over the fate of the JCPOA saw Iran table an initial proposal on sanctions relief. The proposal led to complaints from Western officials that the Iranian negotiators were being unreasonable. Iranian officials responded by insisting their proposals were "pragmatic." The initial exchange suggested to some that disagreements over sanctions relief issue are going to prove the intractable because what Iran wants-significant investment-is impossible for the P5+1 to guarantee. -Esfandyar Batmanghelid, Bourse & Bazaar 12/7/21

Hackers pretending to be Iranian govt steal credit card infomation and create botnet

Hackers in Iran have convinced citizens using SMS messages to download malicious applications by claiming judicial complaints have been filed against them. -ZDNet 12/7/21

Iran Currency Falls as Nuclear Talks Seem to Hit Roadblock

The Iranian rial currency dipped on Saturday but remained above historic lows after news that talks with world powers to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear accord may have run into difficulties. Indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke off on Friday until next week, with European officials voicing dismay at sweeping demands by Iran's new, hardline government. Washington said Tehran "does not seem to be serious". -Reuters 12/6/21

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran reach gas trade deal

The agreement was presented by both Baku and Tehran as proof that their recent political crisis had been overcome. Has it? Azerbaijan and Iran have agreed to a deal to swap natural gas along with Turkmenistan, solidifying their economic rapprochement shortly after a serious political rupture between the two neighbors. The presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran met on November 28 in Ashgabat, after which the agreement was signed.-Joshua Kucera, Responsible Statecraft 12/6/21

Facing mounting global crises, Biden risks addiction to sanctions

President Biden has a full plate of global problems. In Ethiopia, a brutal, year-long civil war between the government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray People's Liberation Front has plunged Africa's second largest country into destitution. Along the European Union's eastern border with Belarus, up to 2,000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa, some supplied with wire cutters courtesy of the Belarusian government, are camped out in a no-man's land... -Dan DePetris, Responsible Statecraft 12/1/21

Hackers targeting and stealing billions from Iranian citizens in texting scheme

Financially motivated hackers likely based in Iran are successfully targeting and stealing billions in currency from Iranian civilians through a texting campaign, new research released Wednesday found. Israeli-American cybersecurity company Check Point Research found evidence that tens of thousands of Iranians had been targeted in the scheme, which involved the hackers sending texts to Android users that impersonated branches of the Iranian government. -The Hill 12/1/21

A Hacking Spree Against Iran Spills Out Into the Physical World

Hackers have targeted the country's trains, gas stations, and airline infrastructure, as cyber conflict with Israel continues to escalate. -Wired 11/30/21

Iranian banks notch win in dispute over sanctions enforcement

An arbitration panel has ruled in favor of two Iranian banks in a financial dispute over the 2015 closing of a Bahraini financial institution accused of helping Iran skirt U.S. and U.N. economic sanctions. The Hague-based tribunal's three arbitrators ordered the government of Bahrain to pay more than $270 million in compensation for losses and legal fees stemming from its decision to close Future Bank -Washington Post 11/29/21

Iran loses 300,000 university graduates to better prospects abroad

Ehsan Ghazizadeh, member of the Iranian parliament, reported on Tuesday a massive exodus of university-educated people from Iran. Over the past three years, some 4,000 doctors and about 300,000 academics with masters or PhD degrees have left Iran. Hossein-Ali Shahriyari, chairman of the parliamentary health commission, recently wrote a letter to Ali Khamenei, head of the Islamic Republic, expressing his concern about the increasing exodus of doctors. -Qantara 11/26/21

US must 'accept reality' and lift sanctions: Iran negotiator

The United States must "accept reality" and agree to lift its sanctions on Iran during next week's nuclear talks in Vienna, according to Tehran's top negotiator. Representatives of Iran and the other signatories of its 2015 nuclear deal will be in Austria starting November 29 to try to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the US abandoned in 2018. -Al Jazeera 11/22/21

In latest breach, Iran's Mahan Air hit with cyberattack

A cyberattack on Sunday disrupted access to Iran's privately owned Mahan Air, state TV reported, marking the latest in a series of cyberattacks on Iranian infrastructure that has put the country on edge. Mahan Air's website displayed an error message saying the site couldn't be reached. The carrier said in a statement that it had "thwarted" the attack and that its flight schedule was not affected, adding it has faced similar breaches in the past. -AP 11/22/21

Iran's IRGC seizes foreign tanker for smuggling diesel

Commandos with the naval force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have seized a foreign tanker in the Persian Gulf for smuggling diesel. Colonel Ahmad Hajian, the commander of the Naval Type 412 Zulfiqar in the southern Parsian county in the Hormozgan province, was quoted by the state broadcaster's website on Saturday as saying that the ship was found to be illegally carrying 150,000 litres (32,995 gallons) of diesel. -Al Jazeera 11/22/21

Iranian farmers protest, demand water be released from dam

Thousands of farmers in central Iran joined a protest on Friday demanding authorities open a dam to relieve drought-stricken areas, state TV reported. Several prominent actors and athletes have taken part in the peaceful demonstrations in the city of Isfahan, urging the government to intervene to aid famers increasingly suffering from droughts that have worsened over the years. The demonstrations began earlier this month. -AP 11/19/21

Sharp relief: Automatic benefits and the Iran nuclear deal

Parties to the Iran nuclear deal should focus on how to normalize their economic relationship in the long term -- Later this month, negotiators from Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany (P5+1) will resume talks intended to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Responsible Statecraft 11/15/21

Iran's NIOC to invest $11 billion to raise gas production capacity by a quarter

Iran plans to invest $11 billion in its offshore fields to raise gas production capacity by 240 million cu m/d, oil ministry news service Shana reported Nov. 11, adding roughly 25% to its current output as the country tries to meet growing domestic demand. -S&P Global 11/12/21

Climate change: Iran says lift sanctions and we'll ratify Paris agreement

Iran will ratify the landmark Paris agreement on climate change only if sanctions against it are lifted, a senior leader has told the BBC. Ali Salajegheh said sanctions were impeding Iran in areas like renewable energy. Iran is the world's eighth largest CO2 emitter, yet is one of the few countries not to ratify the Paris pact. -BBC 11/11/21

'We should pay debt': Jeremy Hunt says 400m pounds owed to Iran is not ransom money

Practicalities, not principles, are holding back the payment of a 400m pounds British debt to Iran, seen as a precondition of the release of British-Iranian dual nationals held in Tehran, the former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. He said the payment would not be the equivalent of a ransom payment but the settlement of an outstanding debt. -Guardian 11/11/21

China's Iran oil purchases rebound on lower prices, fresh quotas

China's imports of Iranian oil have held above half a million barrels per day on average for the last three months, traders and ship-tracking firms said, as buyers judge that getting crude at cheap prices outweighs any risks from busting U.S. sanctions. Chinese purchases of Iranian crude have continued this year despite the sanctions that, if enforced, would allow Washington to cut off those who violate them from the U.S. economy. -Reuters 11/10/21

A public suicide in Iran spotlights anguish over economy

Ruhollah Parazideh, a wiry 38-year-old with a thick mustache and hair flecked with gray, was desperate for a job. The father of three in southern Iran walked into a local office of a foundation that helps war veterans and their families, pleading for assistance. Local media reported that Parazideh told officials he would throw himself off their roof if they couldn't help. They tried to reason with him, promising a meager loan, but he left unsatisfied. -AP 11/4/21

'A Joke': Iran Slams South Korea's Face Mask Donation Amid Tensions Over Frozen Funds

South Korea's donation of 2,000 coronavirus masks to a private hospital in Iran was meant as a goodwill gesture to ease a dispute over billions of dollars in Iranian funds frozen in Seoul due to U.S. sanctions. But when the South Korean Embassy posted photos on social media of Ambassador Yun Kang-hyeo meeting with the staff of Tehran's Atieh hospital and presenting them with a box of face masks, it provoked a backlash. =Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 11/3/21

'This Sends the Wrong Message': Biden Blasted for New Iran Sanctions Ahead of Nuclear Talks

U.S. President Joe Biden faced criticism Friday for imposing fresh sanctions on Iran as he heads into weekend talks with European leaders prior to potential direct negotiations with Tehran over the nuclear deal ditched by his predecessor over three years ago. The U.S. Treasury Department announced the new sanctions while the president was in Rome for a Group of 20 summit, during which he's expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear program with European attendees -Common Dreams 11/1/21

If Biden actually wants to help Iranians, there's an easy way to do it

Last Monday, the Biden administration published its 2021 sanctions review, intended to guide the administration's use of sanctions moving forward. In the report, the administration claims it must begin "calibrating sanctions to mitigate unintended economic, political and humanitarian impact." Sound familiar? -Mani Mostofi, Business Insider 11/1/21

Why Tehran is reestablishing close ties with Venezuela

Iran's foreign minister said recently that Tehran and Caracas have agreed to draw a 20-year roadmap for more future cooperation. Close ties between Iran and Venezuela are nothing new, dating back to time of the previous Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Ahmadinejad would argue that a revolution had taken place in the Latin American region with a united front comprising leftist and anti-American movements coming to power and that these countries could help him in the fight against the United States. -Saeid Jafari, Responsible Statecraft 10/29/21

Iran's president says cyberattack meant to create 'disorder'

Iran's president said Wednesday that a cyberattack which paralyzed every gas station in the Islamic Republic was designed to get "people angry by creating disorder and disruption," as long lines still snaked around the pumps a day after the incident began. Ebrahim Raisi's remarks stopped short of assigning blame for the attack, which rendered useless the government-issued electronic cards that many Iranians use to buy subsidized fuel at the pump. -AP 10/28/21

The impact of sanctions on medical education in Iran

Iran has been targeted by waves of unilateral and multilateral economic sanctions for four decades. While in recent decades these have exempted humanitarian transactions, a well-established body of research shows that the sanctions have gone well beyond the intended economic impact on targeted industries to affect various aspects of livelihood. -Orkideh Behrouzan & Tara Sepehri Far, Johns Hopkins University 10/27/21

UAE Earns Big as Iran Sells Oil to China

Leaders in the United Arab Emirates are eyeing an economic windfall should the Biden administration succeed in its effort to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). But they have not waited for the lifting of sanctions to begin earning billions from Iran. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse & Bazaar 10/27/21

Iran says cyberattack closes gas stations across country

A cyberattack targeted gas stations Tuesday across Iran, shutting down a government system managing fuel subsidies and leaving angry motorists stranded in long lines at shuttered stations. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though it bore similarities to another months earlier that seemed to directly challenge Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the country's economy buckles under American sanctions. -AP 10/26/21

Iran reaches agreement with Armenia on new transport routes

Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) Mehdi Mirashrafi said good agreements have been reached with Armenia on the development of customs cooperation as well as the use of alternative routes for the transport of goods. Mirashrafi who visited Moscow on Sunday to attend an international customs conference noted that Iran has diversified its international routes so that no single route could impose a limitation on the country's international trade. -Tehran Times 10/26/21

Iran poll contains different messages for Biden and Raisi

"It's the economy, stupid." That is the message of a just-published survey of Iranian public opinion. However, the substance of the message differs for newly elected hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the Biden administration as Mr. Raisi toughens his negotiating position and the United States grapples with alternative ways of curbing the Islamic republic's nuclear programme should the parties fail to agree on terms for the revival of the 2015 international agreement. -James M. Dorsey, Modern Diplomacy 10/22/21

Over-compliance with US sanctions hurting Iran's 'butterfly kids'

Over-compliance with United States-imposed sanctions against Iran is harming the right to health, and people with a rare skin disease are among those affected, many of them children, experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said on Tuesday. These patients suffer from epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a severe and life-threatening skin condition, which causes extremely painful wounds. Many are children, who are often referred to as "butterfly kids" because of their fragile skin. -United Nations 10/20/21

UAE is now the 'number one' exporter to Iran

In a further sign of a thaw in relations between Iran and the UAE, the Gulf state has become the number one exporter of goods to the Islamic Republic, according to the latest data released by the Iranian Customs Authority. The authority's spokesman, Ruhollah Latifi, released figures on Sunday showing that goods exported from the UAE to Iran were valued at $7 billion over the past six months. -MEMO 10/20/21

Poll: Iranians disillusioned with Biden, back turn toward East

The Iranian public has grown increasingly disillusioned with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden and the United States more generally and supports its new government's emphasis on turning more to the East in its international political and economic relations, according to a new survey released Monday by the Iran Poll and the University of Maryland's Center for International and Security Studies. -Jim Lobe, Responsible Statecraft 10/19/21

Iran: 'Seriousness' in nuclear talks means lifting sanctions

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi said seriousness on the part of the United States in upcoming talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal would mean lifting sanctions against Iran. In a late-night interview aired by state television, the president said Iran is "serious and committed" to return - at a still unspecified time - to Vienna to resume "result-oriented" talks aimed at restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Al Jazeera 10/19/21

Poll: Iranians blame economic woes on corruption, not sanctions

A polling company released survey results Monday on Iranians' views of the economy, the United States and more. The Toronto-based IranPoll conducted the poll with the University of Maryland's Center for International and Security Studies. The data was gathered between Aug. 30 and Sept. 9. The poll, which was sent to Al-Monitor, found that 63% of those surveyed believed economic mismanagement had the biggest negative impact on the Iranian economy, while 34% felt foreign sanctions had the biggest negative effect. -Al Monitor 10/19/21

Iran resumes exports to Saudi Arabia after a year of 'zero' activity

Iran has resumed exports to Saudi Arabia for the first time since the regional rivals stopped bilateral trade last year, a senior official has confirmed. A report of Iran's six-month trade with neighbouring countries was released on Sunday by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), showing Saudi Arabia on the list of the country's export destinations. -MEE 10/19/21

Iran's ex-central bank chief and officials sentenced to prison

The former governor and several former officials in Iran's central bank have been sentenced to prison for illegal practices in managing the country's tumultuous foreign currency market under United States sanctions. Valiollah Seif, who led the troubled central bank for almost five years until his sacking in July 2018, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, judiciary spokesman Zabihollah Khodaeian told state television on Saturday. -Al Jazeera 10/18/21

Iranian warship fends off pirate attack in Gulf of Aden

An Iranian warship has repelled pirates who were trying to take over two Iranian oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden, state television said. The commander of Iran's navy, terming the incident "maritime terrorism", said on Saturday that the two tankers were attacked by pirates commanding five boats. -Al Jazeera 10/18/21

Iran's Emboldened Workers Press New President for More Concessions

In the third week of September, teachers in dozens of towns and cities across Iran took to the streets, calling on the new president, Ebrahim Raisi, to fully implement existing labour laws. The authorities responded quickly and positively, promising to work on an implementation plan. But the teachers are not ready to back down. In an interview conducted for this article, a leader of the main teachers' union said his organization will continue to use a "carrot and stick" approach to ensure that the Raisi administration makes good on its promises. -Zep Kalb, Bourse & Bazaar 10/15/21

Iran LPG exports to reach around 450,000 mt in Oct, rebound in Nov: sources

Iran's LPG shipments are set to reach around 440,000-450,000 mt in October compared with 556,000 mt exported in September, largely to Asia, and are expected to rebound in November. Iran's LPG exports were hovering near two-year highs at around 500,000 mt/month since July-August and rose further in September. -S&P Global 10/15/21

Iran wheat imports soar due to drought

AGRICULTURAL production ravaged by drought has been an all-too-common theme across the northern hemisphere over the last twelve months. Unfortunately, Iran is another country to have fallen victim to well-below average rainfall and extreme temperatures during its most recent winter crop cycle. -Grain Central 10/12/21

To be an Afghan child worker in Iran

"We must have the right to work!" a boy shouted when, at an introductory course on children's rights, the teacher asked her students to think about the rights they need. This was several years ago, and the child who shouted was one of the many working migrant children learning to read and write at our centre near the Grand Bazaar in Tehran. At the time his remark came as a surprise to the teacher and to all of us at the Nasserkhosro Child House. We all imagined that the most important thing for these children is to quit working and start living like other kids do. -Sahar Mousavi & Ghazaal Bozorgmehr, Open Democracy 10/11/21

Iran: Verifying the lifting of US sanctions is a top issue in nuclear talks

A main concern of Iran in any talks to rescue the 2015 nuclear deal would be around ways to verify the lifting of US sanctions, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Saturday, reported Reuters. The talks, which aim to bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear pact aimed at curbing the Iranian enrichment programme, were adjourned in June after hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran's president. -MEMO 10/11/21

Iran offers big promises to help rebuild Lebanese economy

Meeting one Lebanese official after another, Iran's top diplomat announced substantial pledges for Lebanon's energy crisis, as foreign players are jostling each other for influence in the Arab country. -Al Monitor 10/8/21

Iran-SKorea row worsens over oil billions frozen by US sanctions

A row between Iran and South Korea is intensifying, with Tehran threatening legal action unless Seoul releases more than $7 billion in funds for oil shipments frozen because of US sanctions. The Islamic republic was South Korea's third-largest Middle Eastern trade partner before the US unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions. -AFP 10/7/21

US efforts to broaden sanctions on Iran won't work

The United States is at a crossroads with Iran as diplomatic talks to revive the nuclear deal stall. President Joe Biden stated recently that the administration is looking at "other options" beyond diplomacy with Iran, even as he promised "relentless diplomacy" in his first address to the United Nations. Amidst a report the Biden administration is reaching out to China to cut its imports of Iranian oil, it appears the United States is prematurely abandoning the diplomacy-first approach. But a return to sanctions wouldn't serve U.S. interests. -Geoff LaMear, Responsible Statecraft 10/6/21

Oil minister says Iran capable of resolving global fuel 'crisis'

"Iran is ready to resolve the ongoing fuel crisis in the world and make up for the shortages," declared Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji. To that end, he said, the United States ought to lift onerous sanctions that have targeted the Islamic Republic's vital oil industry. Owji made the comments following a virtual meeting of OPEC. His statement referenced fuel shortages, which have hit the United Kingdom particularly hard in recent weeks amid soaring prices and long queues at petrol stations across the country. -Al Monitor 10/6/21

Iran's export to Iraq increases 28% in H1

The value of Iran's export to Iraq has risen 28 percent during the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-September 22), as compared to the same period of time in the past year, the secretary-general of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce announced. Jahanbakhsh Sanjabi Shirazi said that Iran exported 13.9 million tons of products valued at $3.8 billion to its neighbor Iraq in the first half of this year, which also indicates 50 percent rise in terms of weight. -Tehran Times 10/6/21

Taliban, Iran conclude bilateral economic deals

Afghanistan and Iran yesterday concluded "important" bilateral economic and trade agreements, a spokesman for the Taliban said. Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also acting deputy minister of information and culture in the interim Afghan government, said in a statement that a meeting was held between Afghan and Iranian officials "with the aim of strengthening economic ties and providing necessary facilities for trade issues between the two countries". -MEMO 10/6/21

Iran appoints new central bank chief - state media

Iran has appointed Ali Salehabadi as head of the central bank, Iranian state TV reported on Wednesday, as the Islamic Republic's economy reels under U.S. sanctions. "The role of the central bank in preserving the value of the national currency and controlling inflation is very fundamental," said President Ebrahim Raisi after Salehabadi's appointment. -Reuters 10/6/21

Iran asked to unfreeze $10 billion in funds to restart nuclear talks with US: official

Iran asked for the U.S. to unfreeze $10 billion of its funds in order to restart nuclear talks, Iran's foreign minister said Saturday. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that the unfreezing of funds would be a sign of good will, according to Reuters. -The Hill 10/4/21

At Dubai's Expo, the world's problematic politics loom

Iran wants you to put politics aside and marvel over its ornate carpets. Syria wants you to forget about its brutal war and learn about the world's first alphabet. Yemen, on the brink of famine, is very excited about its honey and coffee. Welcome to Dubai's Expo 2020, the first world's fair in the Middle East that boasts over 190 participating countries - except Afghanistan, whose new Taliban rulers are a no-show. -AP 10/4/21

Beset by inflation, Iranians struggle with high food prices

Mehdi Dolatyari watched with dread in recent months as once-affordable goods at his central Tehran supermarket soared out of reach for his customers. Iranians who previously bought sacks of staple foods at the store now struggle to scrape together enough for meals, as the country's currency sinks to new lows against the dollar. "Rice is awfully expensive," Dolatyari said, describing how its price has nearly doubled. -AP 10/1/21

Iran's supreme leader issues ban on Samsung, LG appliances

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered a strict ban on the imports of South Korean-made home appliances, a directive that has renewed debates on his micromanagement of the Iranian economy. Khamenei's directive came after the two South Korean giants were about to make a comeback into their lucrative Iranian market following their brief sanctions-triggered departure. -Al Monitor 10/1/21

Tehran Stock Exchange CEO resigns following discovery of Bitcoin miners in basement

Iranian authorities have conducted many raids on crypto miners in abandoned factories, homes, and small businesses - nothing quite as high profile as the country's largest stock exchange. Ali Sahraee, the chief executive officer of the Tehran Stock Exchange since 2018, has reportedly resigned after the discovery of cryptocurrency mining rigs in the building. -Cointelegraph 9/30/21

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