Azar 16 1400 - December 07 2021
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

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

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

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

Under U.S. Sanctions, Iran and Venezuela Strike Oil Export Deal - Sources

Venezuela has agreed to a key contract to swap its heavy oil for Iranian condensate that it can use to improve the quality of its tar-like crude, with the first cargoes due this week, five people close to the deal said. The deal could be a breach of U.S. sanctions on both nations, according to a Treasury Department email to Reuters which cited U.S. government orders that establish the punitive measures. -Reuters 9/27/21

Britain must repay 400m pounds debt and lift sanctions, Tehran tells Liz Truss

Britain should repay its four decade-old 400m pounds debt to Iran and take serious steps to lift sanctions, Iran has told the British foreign secretary, Liz Truss, in the first meeting between the two countries at foreign secretary level since 2018. The two sides' accounts of the meeting differed: Iran claimed Truss acknowledged that Britain owed the sum but said sanctions made it impossible to pay, an account not confirmed in the brief British read-out of the meeting. -Guardian 9/24/21

Iran Struggles To Clamp Down On Illegal Online Gambling

The Iranian authorities have been stepping up their efforts to shut down online gambling and betting activities, which have been illegal in the country since the 1979 revolution. Amid reports of an increase in gambling by Iranians in recent years, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) now says it has cut the number of online betting and gambling transactions by 60% over the past two years. -Forbes 9/24/21

Iran's president denounces US sanctions as 'crimes against humanity'

Iran's new ultra-conservative president has used his debut on the international stage to deliver a sustained assault on US, denouncing sanctions as "crimes against humanity" and hailing what he called the end of Washington's hegemony. "Sanctions are the US new way of war with the nations of the world," President Ebrahim Raisi told the UN general assembly in a pre-recorded address from Tehran. -Guardian 9/22/21

Iran to lift visa restrictions to revive pandemic-hit tourism sector

Iran's new tourism chief said the government will soon scrap visa restrictions, a plan that the struggling tourism sector has been desperately waiting for to get back on its feet amid the coronavirus pandemic. -Al Monitor 9/22/21

What Iran's membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation means

Iran's bid to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was approved after almost 15 years by the bloc's seven permanent members on Friday. After the technical and legal process concludes - which could take up to two years - Iran will formally join a group that accounts for about one-third of the world's land and exports trillions of dollars annually - as it counts China, Russia and India, in addition to several Central Asian states, among its members. -Al Jazeera 9/20/21

Iran Joins Expanding Asian Security Body Led by Moscow, Beijing

Iran joined a rapidly expanding central Asian security body led by Russia and China on Friday, calling on the countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to help it form a mechanism to avert sanctions imposed by the West. The body, formed in the 2001 as a talking shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet states in Central Asia, expanded four years ago to include India and Pakistan, with a view to playing a bigger role as counterweight to Western influence in the region. -Reuters 9/17/21

Iran fuel, petrochemical exports booming in spite of US sanctions

Iranian fuel and petrochemical exports have boomed in recent years despite stringent US sanctions, leaving Iran well placed to expand sales swiftly in Asia and Europe if Washington lifts its curbs, Reuters reported trading sources and officials saying. The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran's oil and gas industry in 2018 to choke off the Islamic Republic's main source of revenues after then American President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. -MEMO 9/17/21

Iran Set for Entry Into Expanding Club Led by China and Russia

Iran's new president is flying to Tajikistan for his first foreign trip where he's expecting to gain membership of a growing Eurasian club led by China and Russia, whose economic muscle has helped Tehran blunt American sanctions. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, or SCO, was founded two decades ago in St. Petersburg and currently has eight members representing half the world's population and a quarter of its economic output. -Bloomberg 9/16/21

Hezbollah brings Iranian fuel into crisis-hit Lebanon

Hezbollah began bringing Iranian fuel into Lebanon via Syria on Thursday, a move the Shi'ite Muslim group says should ease a crippling energy crisis but which opponents say risks provoking U.S. sanctions. A convoy of trucks carrying Iranian fuel oil entered northeastern Lebanon near the village of al-Ain, where Hezbollah's yellow flag fluttered from lampposts. -AFP 9/16/21

Introducing the New Leaders of Iranian Economic Policy

President Ebrahim Raisi has prioritized improving Iran's faltering economy. He took office in August amid a fifth wave of COVID-19 cases, recurring blackouts, and a currency depreciation. The economy subsequently contracted after five months of growth. Iran also remains under U.S. sanctions. To address these economic challenges, Raisi will need to surround himself with competent managers. -Bourse & Bazaar 9/13/21

Iran's energy diplomacy

Much is made of Iran's use of proxy or allied groups to exert "hard power" influence throughout the Middle East where Tehran believes its interests are under threat (Lebanon), or sees an opportunity to exert greater influence (Syria, Iraq), or to act as a spoiler (Yemen). But far less is made of its use of "power", of the energy kind, exemplified in its use of its energy exports to take advantage of regional states' inability to cater for their own domestic requirements. -The Interpreter 9/13/21

#SanctionsStory: The Human Impact of Sanctions on Iran

We asked Iranian Americans to share their #SanctionsStory about the impacts on their loved ones abroad. Listen to what they have to say below then take action to urge Congress to provide Iran with humanitarian relief. -NIAC Action 9/10/21

Why Is Iran So Keen on Joining the SCO?

Recent remarks by Russian and Iranian officials suggest that Iran is on the verge of gaining full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional forum launched in 2001 by China, Russia, and the Central Asian republics (minus Turkmenistan) to combat the so-called "three evils" namely "terrorism, separatism, and extremism." -Fardin Eftekhari, The Diplomat 9/8/21

Iranian fuel tanker heading for Syria poses test for US sanctions

An Iranian tanker carrying fuel bound for Lebanon was at anchor in the Red Sea on Friday ahead of the final leg of a voyage to Syria, which is set to pose the biggest test yet to US sanctions imposed on two arch regional foes. The tanker is expected in the Syrian port of Baniyas early next week, in defiance of US sanctions that prevent oil exports from Iran and imports to Syria, which have both been subject to stringent US-imposed restrictions on trade. -Guardian 9/6/21

Photos: Harvesting hazelnuts in Qazvin, Iran

Qazvin province is the second-largest hazelnut producer in the country after Gilan. The harvesting season of hazelnuts has started. There are about 16,000 fertile hazelnut trees in more than 70 villages in the Rudbar region of Alamut. -Farhad Safari, Mehr 8/31/21

Lebanon's energy crisis fuels US-Iran tensions

In the midst of an economic collapse and an energy crisis, Lebanon has found itself in a tug of war between the United States and Iran. On August 19, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced an arrangement for a diesel fuel shipment from Iran to Lebanon, which would be a violation of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic. A few hours later, the US ambassador in Beirut, Dorothy Shea, declared that Washington will help Lebanon implement a plan to transfer Egyptian gas to Lebanon for power generation... -Joe Macaron, Responsible Statecraft 8/30/21

Raisi Tells First Cabinet Meeting That Iran Is 'Seriously Lagging Behind' As Virus Woes Mount

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says the country is "seriously lagging behind" in certain social and economic areas and the government must act to "improve people's livelihoods" as the country grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases. Speaking on August 26 at the start of his first cabinet meeting since the government was approved by parliament a day earlier, Raisi acknowledged that the situation in the country "must certainly change." 8/26/21

The Impact of U.S. Sanctions on Internet Access in Iran

U.S. sanctions are making it easier for the Iranian government to censor, surveil, and repress its population. Iranian citizens are losing access to tools they need to circumvent government filters at a time when Iranian authorities are intensifying their drive to securitize online space inside Iran... -NIAC 8/26/21

Afghanistan: Iran exports fuel following Taliban request

Iran restarted exports of petrol and gas oil to Afghanistan a few days ago, following a request from the Taliban, an exporters' union official said. "The Taliban sent messages to Iran saying 'you can continue the exports of petroleum products'," Hamid Hosseini, board member and spokesperson at Iran's Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters' Union in Tehran, told Reuters on Monday. -MEE 8/24/21

Sanctions will kill and rarely win when implemented with 'full force'

Andres Aslund, a senior fellow at the Stockholm Free World Forum, recently presented a dangerous set of assertions about the efficacy of sanctions that are neither historically accurate nor based in logic. First, he says, "Nobody is killed by sanctions," and second, his bottom line advises that "[w]e need to hit hard early on with full force to win, not try to keep reserves for a second, third and fourth blow." Each claim is refuted by the empirical evidence on sanctions currently available. -George A. Lopez, Responsible Statecraft 8/23/21

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