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Bahman 29 1396
February 18 2018
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Iran's President Rouhani and India's Prime Minister Modi express readiness to expand ties in all areas

- President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India have expressed readiness to expand relations between their countries in all areas. President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi expressed their respective countries' preparedness for the enhancement of the relations at the Indian prime minister's Hyderabad House in the Indian capital on Saturday. - 2/17/18

EU ready to negotiate Iran's joining Southern Gas Corridor initiative

- European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said EU is ready to discuss Iran's joining to the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) with all partners of the project, IRNA reported on Thursday. The Southern Gas Corridor is an initiative of the European Commission for the natural gas supply from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe. - 2/17/18

Iran Takes Measures To Combat Rial's Fall To Record Lows

- Iran's central bank announced measures to combat the rial's fall to record lows one day after police cracked down on foreign exchange dealers on the streets of Tehran. The central bank's announcement on February 15 that it will allow an increase in the interest rates paid on bank deposits came after the Iranian currency plummeted to a record low of 48,400 to the dollar earlier in the week. - 2/16/18

Iran Cracks Down On Currency Traders Amid Steep Fall In Rial

- Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of money changers in Tehran amid a steep decline in the Iranian currency that has sent the rial to a record low against the U.S. dollar. A video by state broadcaster IRINN on February 14 showed dozens of currency hawkers who usually are stationed across the street from the British Embassy in central Tehran being rounded up by police. - 2/15/18

Indian investments in Iran on top of President Rouhani's visit

- Diplomats in New Delhi say Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will try to encourage Indian businesses to invest "billions of dollars" in the Islamic Republic during his three-day visit which will start on Thursday. Top on the agenda of Rouhani's visit would be the completion of Iran's Chabahar port by India as well as discussions over a potential deal for Indian companies to develop an offshore gas field in Iran. - 2/15/18

Renault's investment in Iran to hit 800 million Euros

- French automaker Renault is going to expand activities in Iran, boosting its total investments in the country to 800 million Euros, IRNA reported quoting the company's director for MENA region. Speaking at the 5th edition of Iran's Automotive Industry International Conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Pascal Felten noted that with the new round of cooperation between Iran and Renault beginning, the company will create 10 times more job opportunities in the country. - 2/14/18

Iranian airlines examining Russian Sukhoi superjet for possible purchase

- A Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 landed on Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Monday morning and was examined by Iranian aviation experts deciding about its future purchase, Tasnim news agency reported. "The Russian airplane maker asked Iran to let its aircraft land on Mehrabad on its way back from Singapore Air Show 2018," the Secretariat of Association of Iranian Airlines Maghsoud Asadi Samani told Tasnim on the sidelines of the superjet's examination. - 2/13/18

Non-oil sector, market reintegration key to Iran growth

- Iran's top banker says the country's economic growth was robust in the fiscal year which is coming to a close soon but further improvement will depend on the non-oil performance of the economy. ran's growth last year came courtesy of the recovery in oil production following the lifting of US-led sanctions, which boosted the government's earnings. - 2/11/18

"This is Slavery": 30 Sugar Plant Workers Arrested in Iran For Demanding Unpaid Wages

- Police arrested more than 30 protesters on the fourth day of a strike by hundreds of workers on February 4, 2018, at a major sugar plant near the city of Shush, in Iran's Khuzestan Province. In a video message posted on his Telegram channel on February 4, 2018, prominent labor activist Jafar Azimzadeh said the workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industrial Company were being treated like slaves. - 2/8/18

Paris to host Euromoney Iran Conference 2018

- Co-hosted by Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the second round of Euromoney Iran Conference will kick off in the France's capital on Thursday, IRNA reported. Heading a delegation comprised of CBI and Finance Ministry's scholars and experts, Iranian Deputy Finance Minister Mohammad Khazaie will attend this year's event. - 2/8/18

Delegation of Iranian women entrepreneurs visit France

- A delegation of 32 Iranian women entrepreneurs, members of chambers of commerce, heads of private companies and other noble women in different fields visited Paris to attend economic meetings. The group arrived in Paris on Wednesday to attend a seminar titled "Iranian women, dynamic women", and a round table talk in the French parliament, IRNA reported. - 2/7/18

Total CEO: Iran's South Pars gas project 'progressing well' despite Trump's threats

- Total's work on the South Pars gas project is well on track despite US threats of new sanctions on Iran, the French oil and gas group's Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne says. Pouyanne told Le Monde newspaper on Tuesday that Total was consulting with French and European authorities over protecting its investments in Iran, in case there was a resumption of sanctions. - 2/7/18

French, Italian companies provide finance for Iran Air's new planes: CEO

- Iran Air (HOMA) CEO Farzaneh Sharafbafi told the media that Iran Air will use the credit lines of French and Italian companies to buy new Airbus and ATR airplanes. "To buy some new aircrafts, the two plane-makers of France and Italy have specified two credit lines for Iran Air (HOMA)," announced Iran Air (HOMA) CEO Farzaneh Sharafbafi on Sunday. - 2/5/18

Iran 10-month crude output up 165kbd: Oil Minister

- Iranian Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says the country's petroleum output has increased by 165,000 b/d in the first 10 months of the current Iranian calendar year which began on March 21 compared to the same period last year. Addressing a press conference here in Tehran on Sunday, the official said Iran's crude exports have also increased by 60,000 b/d in the period year-on-year, Iran's oil ministry website SHANA reported on Sunday. - 2/5/18

United States lifts ban on farmed caviar import from Iran after 25 years

- An adviser to Iran's minister of agriculture reported on Wednesday that the United Stated has lifted the ban on farmed caviar import from Iran, adding that 10 km of the product were exported to the US last year. Speaking at a ceremony in commemoration of Islamic Revolution at Iranian Ministry of Agriculture, Abbas Rajaei told reports that the 25-year old ban on farmed caviar import from Iran has been lifted, adding that Iran's caviar export to the US has resumed. - 2/2/18

Iraq calls for Iran's aid in reconstruction

- Iraq's Deputy Commerce Minister said Thu. that security has been restored to his country and Iranian investors and companies are welcome to aid Iraq in its reconstruction projects. Iraq's Deputy Commerce Minister Walid Habib al-Mousavi made the remarks in the 7th session of Iraq-Iran development of economic cooperation on Thursday in Mashhad, adding "Iran supported Iraq in the fight against ISIL more than any other county in the world." - 2/2/18

President Rohani Says Iranian Leaders Must Listen To The People

- President Hassan Rohani has said that the Iranian people continue to support the clerical establishment despite foreign pressure but insisted that the country's leaders must listen to protesters behind a recent wave of unrest. Rohani made the comments on January 31, hours after President Donald Trump said the United States stands with the people of Iran against the country's "corrupt dictatorship." - 1/31/18

PSA invites Iran Khodro to produce Peugeots in Algeria

- French carmaker PSA Group has invited Iran Khodro (IKCO) to set up a production line for Peugeot cars in Algeria, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reports. PSA executive vice-president for purchasing, Yannick Bezard, on Tuesday visited Tehran-based Iran Khodro which has signed production deals worth 700 million euros with PSA. - 1/31/18

As Delays Mount in Iran, Executives and Employers Face Tough Career Choices

- In multinational companies, the prospect of promotion is largely tied to the ability to meet targets and hit milestones with speed. Working on Iran-related projects in the present environment makes this difficult to do. When asked to evaluate the pace of trade and investment as part of a recent Bourse & Bazaar survey, commissioned by International Crisis Group, 83 percent of senior managers at multinational companies indicate that companies "are moving slower than they could" to engage in the Iranian market. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse and Bazaar - 1/30/18

With better risk rating, Iran now stands next to Brazil

- Iran's media are reporting that the country's risk classification has improved by one notch in a vital sign of improved investment environment. The English-language Financial Tribune business daily reported that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had upgraded Iran's rating in the country risk classifications of the Participants to the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (CRE) from 6 to 5. - 1/27/18

Billions From Iran's Rainy-Day Fund Tapped For Military

- With some Iranians still hopping mad about state spending on religious institutions and foreign military ventures, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has green-lighted the siphoning of $2.5 billion from a currency-reserve fund to boost military spending. The announcement follows by less than two weeks an official clampdown on street protests over rising prices and other economic grievances that spread to more than 90 cities, according to RFE/RL's Radio Farda. - 1/26/18

Arrivals of Chinese tourists in Iran fall short of expectations

- Insignificant numbers of Chinese restaurants, Chinese-language guides or even inappropriate lodging facilities are deemed to be among the main reasons behind [the low number of Chinese tourist arrivals], says Iran tourism body's representative in China. Part of this failure comes from inside Iran, because Chinese restaurants are scanty across the country while the cuisine is of high importance for majority of the Chinese people, ISNA quoted Hossein Khalifi as saying on Friday. - 1/26/18

Iran's Currency Continues to Slump as Further Sanctions Loom

- The exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against Iran's tuman has had another hike, rising from 3,700 tumans to the dollar in March 2017 to 4,700 tumans to the dollar in January this year. As in the past when there was a marked drop in the value of the national currency, Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seyf tried to reassure people that the tuman will rally. - 1/25/18

Iran: Supreme Leader OKs $4B withdrawal from National Fund for priority projects

- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has agreed with a request to withdraw four billion dollars from the National Development Fund for priority projects, particularly projects dealing with water management, environment protection, and boosting defense capability. The announcement was made on Tuesday by MP Ali Asghar Yousefnejad, the spokesman for the special parliamentary committee studying the proposed national budget bill for the next fiscal year 1397, which starts on March 21. - 1/25/18

Tehran police move in to restore normalcy in exchange market

- Police in Tehran have shut down several currency exchange shops and arrested a number of money changers suspected of being behind a recent turmoil in exchange rates. They intervened after the plunge of the Iranian rial which has dropped to around 45,000 against the US dollar from 37,700 in mid-2017, Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday. - 1/24/18

Iran: Protests and threat of renewed sanctions focus economic thinking

- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears in the wake of recent anti-government protests to have put his weight behind President Hasan Rouhani's repeated calls for reduced military and Revolutionary Guards involvement in the economy. Mr. Khamenei signalled his support by ordering the military and the Guards to start divesting from commercial holdings and businesses not related to their core tasks except for construction projects considered essential by the government. -James M. Dorsey - 1/24/18

Mercedes to resume Iran production soon: ISNA

- Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG, will resume production of cars in Iran from the beginning of the new Persian year in March, ISNA news agency has reported. The company is about to produce 2,500 middle of the pack E-class cars in the year, with 20% of the production to be done inside Iran and the rest supplied to the country in the form of CKD (completely knocked down) kits. - 1/20/18

Iran's Protests Suppressed, But Not Forgotten

- The biggest challenge to Iran's establishment in years fizzled out after a couple of weeks of violent demonstrations, but while widespread discontent has been quieted for now, the calm won't last forever. The roots of the protests -- frustration among the youth over their lack of freedoms and opportunities -- remain just below the surface. And with the younger generation clearly exhibiting its willingness to take to the streets to express its anger over the status quo, the onus is on the Islamic republic's aging leadership to bridge a growing generational divide. -Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL - 1/19/18

US lawmakers table bill meant to 'tighten' terms of Iran nuclear deal

- US lawmakers have put forward a bill at the House of Representatives, seeking to "tighten" the term of a 2015 multinational nuclear deal with Iran, despite international warnings for Washington to stop attempts to undermine the accord. The so-called "Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act" was introduced by Republican representative Peter Roskam and backed by his fellow GOP member Liz Cheney, the daughter of scandal-hit former US Vice President Dick Cheney, on Thursday. - 1/19/18

Iran exports over $8.5B petrochemicals in 9 months

- Iran exported over 16.4 million tons of petrochemical products worth $8.581 billion during the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-December 21, 2017), Shana reported on Wednesday citing the data announced by the National Petrochemical Company (NPC). - 1/18/18

Trump Uses Uncertainty Against Iran

- Last week, President Trump announced that he would renew sanctions waivers for Iran. But he also imposed non-nuclear sanctions and renewed his call to Congress to "fix" the deal or else. By doing so, Trump fosters uncertainty. This has the same impact on Iran as the US walking away from the deal. -Dina Esfandiary, LobeLog - 1/17/18

Renault's production in Iran hits a record high in 2017

- Through manufacturing of over 160,000 vehicles in Iran, Renault hit a record high in 2017, according to a report by the Communications Department of Renault Pars (a joint venture established in 2004 between France's Renault and Iranian car makers Iran Khodro and Saipa). The report said that production of Renault in Iran witnessed a 48-percent growth in 2017 and gaining 11 percent of the Iranian market, the company experienced its most successful year of performance in the Middle East country. - 1/17/18

"IRANOME" project inaugurated in presence of Iran's Health Minister

- A scientific and technological project dubbed "IRANOME" was opened today in the Rehabilitative and Welfare Sciences University in the presence of Minister of Health Dr. Seyed Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi and vice president for Scientific and Technological Affairs. With the implementation of this scientific project, researchers succeeded in transferring the highly-advanced sequencing technology of new generation of NGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) genomes to the country, the report added. - 1/16/18

Airbus announces delay in delivery of planes to Iran

- The sales chief of European planemaker Airbus predicted delivery of the remaining jets to Iran could take longer to complete than what was planned under a deal worth $10 billion signed in 2016. "I think those deals will get fulfilled, maybe not on the original schedule," Airbus sales chief John Leahy told Reuters in an interview, referring to the company's agreement to sell 100 planes to Iran Air under a deal signed in Dec. 2016. - 1/16/18

All You Need to Know About Establishing a Company in Iran by Non-Iranians

- Due to some unfair restrictions in the recent years, Iran has been put aside from many transnational business opportunities. The JCPOA agreement and the elimination of some of the restrictions have revealed the significant potential of Iran to become a leading part of regional and international developments in areas such as information and communications technology, the energy market (both fossil fuels and clean energy), mining and transportation. -Omran Mohammadi, TechRasa - 1/16/18

President Rouhani Changes Course and Acknowledges Protesters' Varied Reasons For Discontent

- "Some people think that the people are just asking for more money and a better economy. But do you know anyone who would be satisfied with a monthly salary while social media networks are completely cut off and the comings and goings from home are restricted and you don't even have the right to speak? You cannot buy people's freedom and lives with money. Why are some diverting from the truth? That is an insult to the people," said Rouhani during a meeting with senior officials at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance on January 8, 2018. - 1/14/18

Iran Lifts Restrictions on Messaging App Telegram

- Iran has lifted restrictions on the messaging app Telegram, the state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday. The popular service had been blocked during recent public protests, the most serious nationwide unrest in the Islamic republic since 2009. "An informed source announced that the filtering of the Telegram messenger has been ended and it is being used by users," IRNA reported. - 1/14/18

Tehran Art Auction 2018 sells out 120 mind-melting lots, signals flourishing market

- The 8th edition of Tehran Auction contemporary art sale broke a new record on Friday, January 12, signalling a flourishing market for contemporary Iranian art. The winter sale built on the success of its spring - 14.952 billion tomans to be exact, or over $3 million. Parsian Hotel was host to the 8th edition of Tehran Auction where the best of Iranian art ranging from established and emerging artists were introduced to art collectors and global audience. All the 120 modern and classical artworks sold out! - 1/14/18

Iranian Teachers Union Blames Protests On State 'Mismanagement'

- An Iranian teachers' organization has blamed the country's recent outbreak of protests on inflation, poverty, unemployment, and "mismanagement by state officials." In a statement posted on the social-media app Telegram on January 12, the Teachers Trade Unions Coordination Council (TTUC) said Iranians were protesting "poor economic conditions, systematic discrimination and corruption, as well as poverty and social injustice." - 1/13/18

Trump Waives Iran Nuclear Sanctions For "Last Time"

- The White House announced on Friday afternoon that Donald Trump will extend waivers on sanctions against Iran for another 120 days, under the terms of the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). However, in its announcement the administration made it clear that this is the "last time" Trump will issue these waivers unless the deal is substantially renegotiated, something that neither Iran nor the other parties to the deal (Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia) have shown any inclination of doing. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 1/13/18

Italy signs EU's biggest ever credit deal with Iran

- Iran and Italy have signed a major framework credit agreement worth 5 billion Euros which Tehran says is the biggest ever such agreement signed with a European country. The credit agreement will be used to provide funds for development and industrial projects in the Islamic Republic. - 1/12/18

Iran After Protests: Change Does Come

- In Iran today, over 20 people have been killed in the streets and two young men are dead from unknown causes after being detained in prison. An estimated 3,700 others have been arrested across the country, most of them under the age of 25. In Tehran the families of detainees are camping outside Evin prison awaiting news of their children. With such news in the headlines, it is hard not to be pessimistic about the protests that for a week rocked the country and riveted the world. But perspective matters. -Sanam Naraghi Anderlini - 1/11/18

Iran's Protests: All About The Economy?

- In 2007, when the Iranian government introduced gasoline rationing, increasing the price to 11 cents a liter, some angry motorists torched gasoline stations. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that it showed "economic sanctions are working increasingly well." Recent protests-cum-riots in many Iranian cities have renewed hopes of an uprising among those in the United States who have wanted "regime change" in Iran since the US-backed Shah was overthrown in 1979. -Gareth Smyth, LobeLog - 1/11/18

Iran says Boeing still needs OFAC nod for jet sales

- Iran says US aviation giant Boeing will have to obtain an authorization from the administration of President Donald Trump within the next month for sales of 30 planes to its Aseman Airlines. Mohammad Gorji, the deputy for aviation affairs of Aseman Airlines, was quoted by Iran's domestic media as saying that Boeing was trying to obtain the authorization from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department. - 1/11/18

Iran's Vulnerable Energy Supply And The Protests

- Unlike early 2017, when Iran's energy industry started a year full of hope and prospects of potential growth, 2018 has started with different potential risks targeting its energy industry and production growth. Risks abound, particularly the prospect of additional sanctions and domestic instability. -Sara Vakhshouri, LobeLog - 1/10/18

Iran Protests: What Lies Beneath

- Since May 1997 and the coming to power of reformists in Iran, Western countries and their mainstream media have refused to see anything else in Iran other than the symbiosis of the reformers and hardliners within the regime of the Islamic Republic. For the neoconservatives within the United States Republican Party, those Iranian dissidents who dream of establishing a pro-Western government in exchange for the violent Western support for a "regime change" in Iran have been favored. -Sohrab Mobasheri - 1/8/18

Iran and the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline

- Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCP) is a project to transport natural gas through a submerged pipeline in the Caspian seabed from Turkmenistan and partly from Kazakhstan to Baku in Azerbaijan and eventually to Europe, circumventing Russia and Iran. Turkmenistan has one of the biggest gas resources in the world, the third biggest after Russia and Iran. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 1/8/18

Iran's Aseman Airlines to purchase another 30 Boeing jets

- Iran says it plans to purchase another 30 planes from US aviation giant Boeing if the administration of US President Donald Trump creates no obstacles for the existing order by one of its key airlines. The announcement was made by Vali Azarvash, the managing director of Atieh Saba Investment Company which is one of the main shareholders of Aseman Airlines. - 1/7/18

US Sanctions 5 Entities Tied to Iran's Missile Program

- The U.S. Treasury placed sanctions Thursday on five Iranian-based entities either owned or controlled by the company responsible for developing and producing Iran's solid-propellant ballistic missiles. "These sanctions target key entities involved in Iran's ballistic missile program, which the Iranian regime prioritizes over the economic well-being of the Iranian people," U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. - 1/5/18

What doing business in Iran is like for Germans

- Thomas Gehbauer is a head of project coordination for German medical equipment supplier Blue Ocean Fourth Millennium. He has been doing business in Iran for many years, likes and respects the country and its people. But as in many countries, "corruption, bureaucracy, and slow procedures" are some of the barriers to doing business in Iran, Gehbauer told DW. -Deutsche Welle - 1/5/18

Filtered apps suffocate domestic businesses in Iran

- Following the social unrest across Iran, starting on Thursday, the government started blocking access to social networks and messaging apps including Telegram and Instagram, while some controls were also put on Iranians' access to the Internet. Haniyeh Sadat Jafariyeh, Tehran Times - 1/4/18

How sanctions have hit ordinary Iranians

- The protests which have swept Iran in the past week reflect, in part, the impact on ordinary people of years of international sanctions. The sanctions, lifted in 2016 as part of a deal with world powers that limits Iran's nuclear activities, resulted in a sharp decrease in spending power and forced people to cut back on buying even essential foodstuffs. -Behrang Tajdin, BBC - 1/4/18

President Rohani Sees Opportunity As Death Toll In Iran's Upheaval Rises

- President Hassan Rohani says unrest that has left at least a dozen antigovernment protesters dead could be a chance to address problems plaguing Iran amid the biggest challenge to the authorities since violent demonstrations erupted after a disputed election handed Mahmud Ahmadinejad a second presidential term in 2009. Speaking after a meeting with the heads of parliamentary committees, Rohani said the protests, which entered a fifth day on January 1, are not only about economic issues, but also a cry from citizens for more freedom. - 1/1/18

President Rouhani says Iranian people will deal with rioters, lawbreakers

- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the Iranian people will deal with a "small and minority group" of rioters and lawbreakers exploiting the protests against economic conditions in a number of Iranian cities in recent days. Speaking in a meeting with a number of Iranian lawmakers on Monday, Rouhani said the nation would counter the small group that has used protests as an excuse to chant slogans in violation of the law and people's demands, insult the sanctities and values of the Islamic Revolution, and damage public property. - 1/1/18

Protesters Rally across Iran against Rising Prices and Austerity Measures

- Protesters against rising prices, rampant inflation, living conditions and economic corruptions took to the streets in several cities in Iran. The first major wave of demonstrations across the country since 2009 have raised concerns among the Islamic Republic's authorities who have threatened the protesters with major crackdowns. - 12/31/17

Protesters Shout "Death to High Prices" as Demonstrations Break Out in Three Iranian Cities

- Protests erupted in several Iranian cities on December 28, 2017, as citizens peacefully spoke out against the rising cost of living. In Mashhad, Iran's second most populated city, police confronted the demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas. An eyewitness in Neishabour told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that the protests against the perception of rising inflation were organized via announcements shared on social media. - 12/29/17

Iranian Official Warns Against New Rallies After Price Protests Turn Political

- Large crowds of people took to the streets in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah on December 29, a day after hundreds protested against high prices and shouted political slogans in the country's second-largest city, Mashhad. Footage on social media showed protesters in Kermanshah's central Azadi Square chanting "Death to the dictator" and "The nation is struggling in poverty; the leader is trying to act as God." - 12/29/17

'China wants link between Pakistan's Gwadar and Iran's Chabahar ports'

- Iran says it has received a request from China to establish a connection between Pakistan's Gwadar port - which Chinese companies are developing - and Iran's southeastern port of Chabahar. Abdolrahim Kordi, the managing director of Chabahar Free Trade Zone, was quoted by Iran's media as saying that China had informed Iran that it was interested in using Chabahr to transit goods from Gwadar to regional and extra-regional destination points. - 12/27/17

The Belt and Road through Eurasia: Who Wins and How?

- China's Belt and Road infrastructure development initiative will have its winners and losers. But for now, Beijing is trying to bolster international support for the project, which will link its western provinces to Europe, by keeping some aspects of the specific routing of rail corridors ambiguous. -Nathan Hutson, Eurasianet - 12/27/17

Iranian banks seal deal to get 'unlimited funds' from Russia

- Iran says four of its banks have signed an agreement with the Export Insurance Agency of Russia (EXIAR) to provide "unlimited funds" for development projects to be carried out by domestic and international contractors in the Islamic Republic. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) in a statement said the agreement had been signed between the EXIAR and Bank Sepah, the Export Development Bank of Iran, Bank Parsian and Bank Pasargad. - 12/26/17

Four giant container ships to join Iran fleet next year: Official

- Four giant new container vessels will join Iran's shipping fleet next year, bringing the country closer to its target of scraping out a place among the world's 10 mega shippers. "With the arrival of these vessels, the rank of the national shipping fleet in the work will rise to 16 from 20 at present," chairman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping (IRISL) Mohammad Saeedi was quoted Saturday as saying. - 12/25/17

Marivan celebrates becoming world city of handicrafts

- Marivan on Monday celebrated receiving an international status as the city of Kalash, a particular lightweight and breathable footwear. Head of World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific Region Ghada Hijavi along with clusters of Iranian cultural officials and artisans attended the event organized by the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization, Mehr reported. - 12/19/17

Iran says aviation giants Boeing, Airbus and ATR to fund plane purchases

- Iran's aviation officials have played down speculations that the administration of US President Donald Trump would block sales of planes to the country and say they expect purchases to move ahead faster because mechanisms to fund the campaigns are being worked out by plane-makers, themselves. - 12/18/17

Caspian Sea: Iran is getting ready to accept the realities

- For more than two decades Iran has been insisting on having an equal share of the Caspian Sea along with other littoral states (Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan). Even when Iran was talking about the principle of equity in the international law, it was intended to be at least twenty percent of the Caspian Sea. But now, ... -Bahman Aghai Diba - 12/15/17

China eyeing take over of Iran gas project if France's Total pulls out

- Speculations are rising that China's leading oil and gas company CNPC could replace French energy giant Total in a key Iranian natural gas project if any new US sanctions against investments in Iran's economic projects forces it to leave the country. Reuters in an exclusive report said CNPC had already started talks with Iran over a share of 30 percent in the project to develop Phase 11 of Iran's South Pars gas field - the world's biggest independent gas field. - 12/15/17

US House passes bill scrutinizing plane sales to Iran

- US lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill that will bring the sales of American planes to Iran under the close scrutiny of the Congress. The bill passed 252-167 - all but four Republicans supported it, and they were joined by 23 Democrats. It would require the Treasury Department to report to Congress on Iranian purchases of US aircraft and how those sales would be financed. - 12/15/17

Flight Fight: Proposed Tripling Of 'Departure Tax' Roils Iranians

- The price for Iranians of heading abroad could triple if the government's new budget proposal is approved. Under the budget plan submitted by President Hassan Rohani on December 10, so-called departure taxes would skyrocket to around $60 for a single trip outside the country, compared with the current fee of $20. Subsequent trips within a 12-month period would incur even higher fees. -Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL - 12/14/17

Tehran Stock Exchange breaks all-time high record

- Tehran Stock Exchange's main index, TEDPIX, broke an all-time high record in Wednesday trading by surging into the 93,000 lane. TEDPIX gained 654 points to stand at 93,283, a level never seen in the Exchange's history since establishment in 1966. - 12/13/17

Iran to seal deal with Russia-led trade bloc Eurasian Economic Union soon

- Iran says it expects the formalities over its membership to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) - a regional trade bloc led by Russia - would be finalized soon and an agreement with the Union's member states would be signed accordingly. Iran's media quoted a trade official as saying that the agreement with the EEU would be signed by the presidents of all member countries. - 12/13/17

Iran says supplies to Iraq pushed gas exports up 64 percent

- Iran says its exports of natural gas saw a huge rise over a period of five months starting 21 March 201 in what it says was a result of rising supplies to its western neighbor Iraq. Behzad Babazadeh, the director for international affairs of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), was quoted by the domestic media as saying that the country had exported as much as 50 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) of gas over the aforementioned period that marks the first five months after the start of the new Iranian calendar year. - 12/13/17

Proposed Higher Departure Fees Angers Iranians

- A new revenue generating measure in President Hassan Rouhani's proposed budget has led to public outcry and mocking of the government in Iran. "Exit fees" from the country are set to rise many fold, if the new budget is passed in the coming months. - 12/12/17

Women's share of Iran's budget bill increases by 30%

- The proposed national budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year 1397, starting on March 21, 2018, has allocated 210 billion rials ($5.25 million) for women's affairs, an increase of 30 percent year on year. President Hassan Rouhani presented the administration's draft of the national budget bill for the next year to the Majlis (Iranian parliament) on Sunday. - 12/12/17

Iran's Saipa has exported $1.2 billion in cars: Official

- Iran's Saipa Group says it has exported 230,000 vehicles worth 1.2 billion in recent years as the automaker plans to expand sales with new designs and competitive products. The company exports vehicles to about 40 markets, deputy head for exports and international affairs of the group Mohsen Dastkhosh said on Friday. - 12/12/17

Iran Sentences Fugitive Ex-Bank Chief Mahmud Reza Khavari To Prison In Absentia

- Iran's judiciary says the former head of the country's largest state-controlled bank who fled to Canada amid a massive embezzlement case has been handed a lengthy prison sentence in absentia. Khavari, who obtained Canadian citizenship in 2005, joined his family there in 2011 in the wake of the $2.6 billion fraud scandal, described as the largest-ever such case in Iran. - 12/11/17

Lavrov Says 'Key Issues' Regarding Caspian Sea Legal Status Solved

- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the five Caspian states have agreed on "all the outstanding key issues" regarding the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Lavrov made the announcement in Moscow on December 5 after meeting with his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. - 12/6/17

Mullahs, Guards, and Bonyads: An Exploration of Iranian Leadership Dynamics

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