Farvardin 26 1400 - April 15 2021
Entanglements: Lives Lived Under Sanctions

I started to gather news, perceptions, opinions, and reflections about the effects of sanctions on my Iranian interlocutors during the summer of 2015, shortly after Iran and the P5+1 signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement on the Iran nuclear program. On the plane over that August, I noted an immediate optical change with regard to this once and often isolated state. For the first time in the two decades that I had been making annual trips to Iran, the plane was full, occupied by non-Iranians, many of them business people seeking to secure ventures in a country ripe for investment potential. -Arzoo Osanloo, SAIS 4/14/21

What's the Deal with Iran's Foreign Exchange Reserves?

When it comes to Iran, even economic data can cause controversy. The International Monetary Fund's latest regional report for the Middle East and Central Asia places Iran's gross international reserves at $4 billion in 2020, a tiny fraction of the $122.5 billion of reserves Iran held in 2018, and down further from the estimate of $8.8 billion published in October of last year. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse & Bazaar 4/14/21

South Korean PM arrives in Iran to help try to revive nuclear deal

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun arrived in Iran on Sunday to help try to restore a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and free up $7 billion in Iranian funds trapped in South Korea, Seoul officials said. Chung is the first South Korean prime minister to visit Iran in 44 years amid icy relations between the two countries due to Iran's military cooperation with North Korea. -Reuters 4/12/21

Tablecloth weaving in Mazandaran villages

Some women in the Iranian province of Mazandaran are still weaving traditional tablecloths as a way to make a living. Mazandaran Province is located along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and in the adjacent Central Alborz mountain range, in central-northern Iran. -Hava Ahmadi, Mehr 4/12/21

Iran's middle class and the nuclear deal

This week the U.S. and Iranian negotiators met for indirect talks in Vienna and agreed on procedures for the two countries to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Millions of Iranians continue to suffer economically from both U.S. maximum pressure sanctions and the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has been waiting for Iran to get back into compliance before it considers easing the sanctions. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Brookings Institution 4/9/21

Iran releases South Korean tanker seized in January

Iran has released a South Korean ship that was seized in January after the conclusion of an investigation and at the request of Seoul's government, the Iranian foreign ministry has said. There was no immediate sign that a parallel three-way agreement had been reached between Seoul, Tehran and Washington to release as much as $7bn in Iranian assets that had been frozen in South Korean bank accounts because of US sanctions. -Guardian 4/9/21

IMF sees Iran's GDP growth at 2.5 percent in 2021

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest World Economic Outlook titled "Managing Divergent Recoveries", predicted a 2.5-percent real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for Iran in 2021, up one percent from 1.5 percent in 2020. The data presented in the IMF report indicates that Iran's GDP growth has outpaced that of West and Central Asia which is reported to be - 2.9 percent in 2020. 4/8/21

For true JCPOA re-entry, Biden must tear down this sanctions wall

It was clear from the outset: Returning to the Iran Nuclear Deal was not a matter of nuclear technicalities or diplomatic savvy. It was and remains primarily a matter of political will and political capital. Though all eyes will be on the start of formal talks in Vienna this week, the real test will take place in Washington D.C. where President Joe Biden must muster the political will to tear down the "sanctions wall" his predecessor put in place for the sole purpose of preventing an American return to the nuclear agreement, lest the talks in Vienna will be for naught. -Tyler Cullis and Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 4/7/21

The Iran-China agreement: Inconsequential or a game changer?

After a nearly two-year delay, on Saturday March 27 during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Iran and China signed the 25-year Comprehensive Agreement on Economic, Political and Cultural Cooperation. This event generated a great deal of attention and controversy both inside Iran and globally. Within Iran, the debate has centered on the costs and benefits of the agreement, which remains short on details. -Shireen Hunter, Responsible Statecraft 4/6/21

Nakhchivan rail plans promise to rewire Caucasus connections

A new rail line connecting Azerbaijan with its exclave of Nakhchivan promises to revolutionize transportation in the Caucasus and could have broad ramifications further afield. In February, a camouflage-clad Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev laid the foundation for a new 100-kilometer stretch of railroad across southern Azerbaijan, along the Iranian border, in territory that Azerbaijan took back from Armenia after the war last year. "This railroad has enormous strategic significance," he said. -Eurasianet 4/6/21

'The Beautiful Dreams That Are Burnt': Portraits From Iran Under Sanctions

Iranians across a broad spectrum of society are having a tough time right now, and many blame U.S. sanctions. Hospitals struggle to get medical supplies. Imported goods are hard to come by. Tourism has dried up. And forget about traveling abroad. These are just some of the many concerns Iranian photojournalist Marjan Yazdi hears from her subjects in this portrait series. -NPR 4/5/21

U.S. Civil Society Groups Call for Sanctions Relief

Though the Biden administration announced soon after taking office that they would review these sanctions for the purposes of humanitarian assistance in a global crisis, no such relief has been granted and all Trump era sanctions remain in place on Iran. As such, a group of civil society organizations-including human rights, faith-based, advocacy and other groups-sent a letter to President Biden last week urging him to take swift action on sanctions relief. -NIAC Action 4/2/21

China and Iran announced a new economic and security partnership. That's not as alarming as it sounds.

On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Tehran to sign a 25-year partnership deal between China and Iran. The deal, according to a leaked draft, outlines plans for economic, political and security cooperation between the two countries, which are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties. -Lucille Greer and Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Washington Post 4/2/21

OPEC oil output rises in March, led by Iran: Reuters survey

OPEC oil output has risen in March as higher supply from Iran countered reductions by other members under a pact with allies, a Reuters survey found, a headwind for its supply-limiting efforts if Tehran's boost is sustained. -Reuters 4/1/21

Iranian leaders pressed to disclose details of 25-year China pact

Iran's ministers are being pressed by critics in the country to reveal details of a 25-year strategic partnership deal signed with China at the weekend, following accusations that Iran has sold its sovereignty. Many analysts say the agreement is largely aspirational, but the secrecy surrounding the final version has provided a useful stick for the regime's critics. -Guardian 3/31/21

Iran start-ups battle brain drain and US sanctions

Online start-ups have mushroomed in Iran in the past decade with entrepreneurs offering services as diverse as online shopping, food delivery, e-ticketing for movies and laundry services, among others. As of the beginning of March, there are around 10,000 start-ups operating in Iran, according to the country's Vice-President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari. -Reza Khaasteh, MEE 3/30/21

Iran and China sign 25-year-deal and send a message to the US

A long-discussed trade, investment and defence pact signed between Iran and China over the weekend provides Tehran more breathing room as it attempts to fend off American pressure to return to the nuclear deal without preconditions. But it remains unclear what if any concrete immediate changes the 25-year deal signed between Beijing and Tehran will entail. -Borzou Daragahi, Independent 3/30/21

In Washington setback, Iran and China sign strategic deal

The recent economic and security cooperation agreement signed by Iran and China will have far reaching consequences for geopolitics in the Middle East. For certain, U.S.-led effort to contain Iran regionally and strangle it financially surely pushed both countries in this direction. The deal gives Tehran a vital, if fickle, partner to help withstand economic sanctions imposed since the Trump administration exited the nuclear deal in 2018. -Amir Handjani, Responsible Statecraft 3/30/21

China's Iran oil imports seen hitting new high in March, curbing OPEC output options

China will receive another large influx of cheap Iranian oil in March passed off as crude from other origins, curbing the top importer's appetite for crudes from other suppliers, according to traders and analysts. -Reuters 3/30/21

Iran and China sign agreement aimed at strengthening their economic and political alliance

The accord brings Iran into China's Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme intended to stretch from East Asia to Europe. The project aims to significantly expand China's economic and political influence and has raised concerns in the United States. -Reuters 3/29/21

The Middle-Class Women of Iran Are Disappearing: And the United States is partly to blame.

The decimation of Iran's economy is unfolding in the lives of the very constituency that has been working for reform and liberalization, and in whose name Mr. Pompeo and other leading American officials speak: middle-class Iranian women. The slump is tearing away at their fragile gains in employment, upper management positions and leadership roles in the arts and higher education, while reducing their capacity to seek legal reforms and protections. -Azadeh Moaveni and Sussan Tahmasebi, New York Times 3/29/21

How a U.S.-Iran Deal Helps Red States

Three months into his term, U.S. President Joe Biden's promise to reenter the Iran nuclear deal remains unfulfilled. Since he's concerned about Republican opposition in Congress, Biden hasn't made a swift return to the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and has instead sought to assuage hawkish Republicans by squeezing Iran for future concessions before Washington reenters the agreement. -Trita Parsi, Foreign Policy 3/29/21

Energy transition a political risk nightmare for least competitive oil producers

With the energy transition accelerating, and Covid-19 hollowing out any recovery oil made over recent years, time is running out for a number of countries that have failed to diversify their economies away from exporting fossil fuels. -Verisk Maplecroft 3/26/21

These 6 charts show how sanctions are crushing Iran's economy

Iran's economy is crumbling after years of U.S. sanctions - and Tehran insists Washington must suspend those restrictions before the two sides can return to nuclear talks. Both sides have indicated interest in returning to the negotiating table, but neither the U.S. nor Iran wants to give in to the other. CNBC takes a look at the state of Iran's economy through six charts. -Abigail Ng, CNBC 3/23/21

Japan Funds Development of Tuna Fisheries, Environmental Projects in Iran

Last month the Embassy of Japan in Tehran hosted a ceremony where two memorandums of understanding were signed new grants to support projects carried out by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iran. -Bourse & Bazaar 3/23/21

'No pistachios': Worn-down Iran's gloomy New Year festival

Battered by punishing US sanctions and the Covid-19 pandemic, Iranians are readying for a gloomy Nowruz, the traditional Persian New Year festival that is at the heart of national culture. A depressed economy, fast rising prices and some travel restrictions have left most Iranians in no mood to celebrate what is usually a time for families to get together and enjoy lavish feasts. -AFP 3/19/21

US warns China it will enforce sanctions on Iranian oil shipments: Report

The US has told China it will enforce Trump-era sanctions against Iranian oil sales, as shipments from Tehran to Beijing surge. A senior Biden administration official told the Financial Times on Tuesday that Iranian oil exports to China had been increasing "for some time now". -MEE 3/19/21

The Dilemma of Iran's Resistance Economy

When Joe Biden's election as U.S. president was certified in January, Iran's currency appreciated against the dollar by 20 percent. A Biden victory, many Iranians hoped, would mean a return to the 2015 nuclear deal and an end to the "maximum pressure" campaign that had made the global economic crisis accompanying the coronavirus pandemic immeasurably worse for ordinary Iranians. But ... -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Foreign Affairs 3/18/21

Election looming, Iran's Rouhani says hardliners sabotage goal to lift sanctions

Iran's pragmatist president accused hardline opponents on Wednesday of obstructing efforts to lift U.S. sanctions, in remarks that demonstrate how an upcoming election in Iran is now looming over the new U.S. administration's plan for a thaw. "It is a great betrayal of the Iranian nation if any faction or person delays the end of the sanctions even for one hour," Hassan Rouhani said in televised remarks. -Reuters 3/17/21

Persian Gulf water to give new life to central Iranian plateau

The national plan for transferring water from the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to seven provinces situated in the semi-arid central plateau will be completed by 2025, aiming to save underground water resources while flourishing industries and agriculture in the region. -Mehdi Garshasbi 3/15/21

COVID-19 inflicts $1.1B in losses on Isfahan's tourism

The tourism industry of Isfahan province has suffered a loss of some 48,000 billion rials (about $1.1 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a provincial tourism official announced on Sunday. 3/15/21

PM demands Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's return in call to Iran president

Boris Johnson has told Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, in a phone call that the British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be allowed to return home to be with her family. "The prime minister raised the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other British-Iranian dual nationals detained in Iran and demanded their immediate release," a statement from Johnson's office said on Wednesday. -Guardian 3/11/21

As Iran enters a new century, many old challenges remain

For Iranians, the upcoming spring solstice marks not just a new year, Nowruz, but also the beginning of a new century on their calendar-the year 1400. Despite significant advances in education, modernization, territorial cohesiveness, and purported regional influence, many of Iran's old trials and tribulations remain. -Nadereh Chamlou, Atlantic Council 3/9/21

Why Iran's women's rights movement will endure through US sanctions

Donald Trump may be out of office, but women in Iran will continue to feel the weight of his "maximum pressure" campaign as sanctions are being maintained under Joe Biden. During the electoral campaign, Joe Biden addressed Donald Trump's policy of sanctions against Tehran as a failure but has refused to offer the country relief to the sanctions upfront. -Maedeh Sharifi, TRT World 3/8/21

Rouhani: Iran ready to take steps when US lifts sanctions

In a meeting with Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, Rouhani said: "Iran is ready to immediately take compensatory measures based on the nuclear deal and fulfill its commitments just after the U.S. illegal sanctions are lifted and it abandons its policy of threats and pressure." -AP 3/8/21

Analysis: Iran slips record volume of oil into China, reaches out to Asian clients for trade resumption

Iran has quietly moved record amounts of crude oil to top client China in recent months, while India's state refiners have added Iranian oil to their annual import plans on the assumption that U.S. sanctions on the OPEC supplier will soon ease, according to six industry sources and Refinitiv data. -Reuters 3/8/21

India likely to start full operations at Iran's Chabahar port by May end

India expects to start full-scale operations at Iran's Chabahar general cargo port it has built by the end of May, the country's shipping minister said in a boost for regional trade. -Reuters 3/5/21

Iran taps old clients in Asia in hopes of US sanctions lifting

Iran is reaching out to old customers in Asia to gauge their interest in buying its oil as Tehran ramps up diplomacy to get U.S. sanctions lifted. The National Iranian Oil Co. has approached at least five refiners across the region to discuss the possibility of supply deals if sanctions are eased, according to people familiar with the matter. Talks are preliminary, with no discussion on volumes or prices yet, they said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. -Al Jazeera 3/4/21

Iran's FATF debate heats up as nuclear deal remains in limbo

Top-level officials in Iran are once more publicly discussing contentious anti-money-laundering and anti-"terrorism financing" legislation that appears to be linked to the fate of the country's nuclear deal. In a televised speech on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani advocated for the ratification of two remaining bills to complete Iran's action plan with the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF). - Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 3/3/21

Iran approves fifth reinsurance firm for launch

Iranian regulators have approved the launch of Tehran Reinsurance Company, according to reports from The Financial Tribune. Flag_of_Iran_in_map.svgIt marks the fifth reinsurance company to be established in Iran, and the third to be founded within the last 12 months. -Reinsurance News 3/2/21

Iran Web and Mobile Festival Selects Outstanding Startups

The 13th Iran Web and Mobile Festival wrapped up on Friday by introducing Iran's top startups and entrepreneurs. Unlike previous years, the event was held online due to Covid-19. Iran's startups and knowledge-based companies competed during IWMF, which is organized by the private sector, the festival's website reported. -Financial Tribune 2/22/21

South Korea agrees to partial release of blocked Iranian money

South Korea has agreed to release "a part" of billions of dollars of Iranian money it had blocked in its banks for years because of United States sanctions. In a statement, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said South Korean Ambassador to Tehran Ryu Jeong-hyun announced the news in a meeting his embassy called for. -Al Jazeera 2/22/21

US sanctions inflicted $1 trillion damage on Iran's economy: FM

Unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States inflicted $1 trillion worth of damage on Iran's economy and Tehran expects compensation, its foreign minister said. Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday after the US takes action to restore Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers through lifting sanctions, Tehran will want to negotiate on the damages it has suffered. -Al Jazeera 2/22/21

Biden withdraws Trump's restoration of UN sanctions on Iran

The Biden administration on Thursday rescinded former president Donald Trump's restoration of U.N. sanctions on Iran, an announcement that could help Washington move toward rejoining the 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at reining in the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. -AP 2/19/21

'We just want to play': Iran gamers battle reality of US sanctions

Iran's millions-strong legion of gamers revel in online worlds, but they have to fight daily real-life obstacles imposed by US sanctions in their quest to level up and keep playing. "It's a problem between governments and a pain for the consumer," said 24-year-old gamer and game journalist Amir Golkhani. "We have no political demands. We just want to play," he told AFP. -AFP 2/17/21

Women's share in research, development up to 39% in Iran

The participation of Iranian women in higher education's research and development projects has increased from 27 percent in 2000 to 39.6 percent in 2017, Science Minister Mansour Gholami has said. In all levels of education, the share of women has risen from 5.3 percent in 1978 to over 50 percent or even 60 percent during the past seven years, he noted, IRNA reported on Sunday. 2/16/21

Toward a 'knowledge-based' socio-economic growth

The law for promoting and supporting knowledge-based companies was approved by the Majlis (Iranian parliament) in 2010, paving the way for a jumpstart in the march toward scientific progress. Over the past couple of years, the concept of 'knowledge-based company' has changed to 'knowledge-based society', meaning that supporting knowledge-based companies will lead to many social and economic advantages for the public. -Mehdi Garshasbi, Tehran Times 2/15/21

ConsenSys Grants Help Iranian Women Learn Solidity

Seven female coders from Iran got scholarships and graduated from a bootcamp of ConsenSys Academy, Ethereum startup incubator's educational branch. The scholarships, a part of ConsenSys' global program to help developers start coding on the Ethereum blockchain, might provide additional opportunities for people in the country largely cut off from the international tech community. -Anna Baydakova, Coindesk 2/15/21

Economic sanctions are damaging the environment

President Joe Biden has been elected on a promise, among others, to move the United States towards an ambitious new climate agenda - a feat that will require a radical transformation of thinking and practices across all areas of American policymaking. -Shirin Hakim & Barney Bartlett, Al Jazeera 2/15/21

After 3 days, Afghan-Iran border blaze brought under control

A massive fire that erupted when a fuel tanker exploded over the weekend at a major crossing in Afghanistan's western Herat province on the Iranian border was brought under control on Monday, after three days of efforts by firefighters from both countries, Afghan officials said. At least 20 people were injured when the explosion that set off a huge fire that engulfed many of the hundreds of trucks lined up at the Islam Qala crossing carrying natural gas and fuel on Saturday. -AP 2/15/21

Bandar Khamir on its way to become sustainable travel destination

The southern Iranian port city of Bandar Khamir, which has recently joined the UNESCO Network of Learning Cities, seeks to be a sustainable travel destination. Situated in Hormozgan province and bounded by the Persian Gulf, Bandar Khamir is the only city located on the coasts of the Khorkhoran Wetland, one of the largest and most important marine environments in Iran. 2/12/21

Dismantling the 'sanctions wall' myth

Since President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20, Iranian and U.S. officials have postured in public remarks over who should make the first move in returning to the Iran nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Underlying this debate, however, are questions of how each party can come back into compliance with the deal and what barriers stand in the way. Iran will need to reverse a number of steps it has taken in ramping up its nuclear program. The Biden administration, on the other hand, must contend with a series of sanctions and designations that were inherently designed to make returning to the JCPOA more difficult. -Shervin Ghaffari, Responsible Statecraft 2/12/21

The Impact of the Iran Nuclear Deal on Poverty in Iran

The Iran nuclear deal is once again becoming a focus of foreign policy discussions because of President-elect Biden's desire to rejoin it. A renewed deal and the sanction relief that would come along with it, could help the millions of Iranians who live in economic turmoil. Even a "freeze-for-freeze" policy - a temporary easing of U.S. sanctions in exchange for a temporary ceasing of nuclear activity on Iran's part, could help to stabilize the economy, especially in the wake of the disruption that COVID-19 has caused. -Brooklyn Quallen, Borgen 2/12/21

Analysis: Iran oil output faces race against time as U.S. sanctions linger

Iran's oil reserves risk becoming stranded assets unless the new U.S. administration eases sanctions that have left the country lagging rivals in output capacity and losing a race against time as the transition to low carbon energy gathers pace. Iran, which sits on the world's fourth-largest oil reserves, relies heavily on oil revenue, but sanctions have prevented it from pumping at anywhere near capacity since 2018. -Reuters 2/12/21

Photos: Tehran Bazaar on 4th February

Although officials have warned about the beginning of the fourth wave of the coronavirus, crowds of people still go shopping in the Tehran Bazaar. The reported cases of the coronavirus are on the rise, but lots of people go shopping in this part of Tehran, while most of them do not follow social distancing and health protocols. -Erfan Khoshkhoo, ISNA 2/11/21

Iran activates game plan for oil comeback in 2021 in test for Biden administration

Emboldened by the change in US presidency, Iran is pushing more oil onto the market, even as sanctions remain in place, as it looks ahead to a full return to the global oil market as demand recovers from the pandemic. -S&P Global 2/10/21

China is still brimming with Iranian oil

Even with occasionally reduced oil imports, Beijing has been Tehran's lifeline to circumvent oil sanctions for years, providing a stable source of cash while nearly all countries dialed down their reliance on energy supplies from Iran. This was crucial when Iran's oil output halved to just 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2020. Now, the crude-based relationship between Iran and China is stronger than ever, particularly since China is on overdrive to catch up with the United States economically, fueled by a steady stream of oil delivered from all corners of the world, including Iran. -Brendon Hong, Atlantic Council 2/10/21

How bad US foreign policy blows back on its allies

The Joe Biden administration may be only a few weeks old, but the first challenge to the U.S.-South Korea alliance is already here, and it has nothing to do with North Korea or China. On January 4, Iran's Revolutionary Guard seized Hankuk Chemi, a South Korean oil tanker that was sailing in the Strait of Hormuz, ostensibly because the ship was polluting the waters. -S. Nathan Park, Responsible Statecraft 2/5/21

UN court says it can hear case brought by Iran against US

The United Nations' highest court ruled Wednesday that it can hear a case brought by Iran against the United States in a bid to end sanctions the Trump administration re-imposed in 2018 after pulling out of an international deal aimed at curtailing Tehran's nuclear program. -AP 2/4/21

Iran: Women's share of national budget rises by 61%

The budget proposed for women and family affairs has increased by 61 percent in the national budget bill for the next calendar year. The budget, which directly covers women and family affairs, is equivalent to 37 trillion rials (nearly $880 million), which increased by 61 percent compared to the current year's budget. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 2/3/21

Tehran hosting national festival of creative, entrepreneur women

Iran's first national festival of creative and entrepreneur women opens on Tuesday in Tehran both in person and virtually, according to the National Innovation Fund. Coinciding with National Women's Day, the two-day event is held aiming to emphasize the successful presence of women in the development of a sustainable economy in recent years and honor those who are working toward a sustainable economy. 2/2/21

Iran's hard-line parliament rejects president's budget draft

Iran's parliament, dominated by hard-liners, rejected on Tuesday a budget bill proposed by the country's relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani, state TV reported. The move is part of a political struggle between moderates and conservative hard-liners in Iran's parliament ahead of June elections, which hard-liners hope to win. -AP 2/2/21

What does Joe Biden's presidency mean for Iran's stock market?

As 2019 was drawing to a close and the world was poised on the brink of an economy-ravaging pandemic, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged people to jump into the country's red-hot stock market. "I say to our dear people to certainly participate in productive investments if they can, including cooperatives and in some instances in bourse," he said during a speech in November 2019. - Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera 1/28/21

Iran opens first innovation, technology center in Africa

Iran House of Innovation and Technology (IHIT) was officially inaugurated in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Wednesday, as the first center in Africa. Vice-President for Science and Technology, Sourena Sattari, officially opened the center which serves as a base for the creation of innovative ideas, the commercialization of these ideas, and the export of Iranian knowledge-based products and services to the East African market. -Tehran Times 1/28/21

Iran urges Biden to lift sanctions affecting medicines as it fights COVID-19

Iran urged U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday to lift sanctions which it said were hampering Tehran's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Tehran also said it had approved Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for domestic use, and that it was trying to buy vaccines from AstraZeneca and other companies. -Reuters 1/26/21

7 Iranian companies join United Nations Climate Technology Centre and Network

Seven Iranian companies and technology groups have joined the United Nations Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The CTCN is the operational arm of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism, hosted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). 1/25/21

Spiralling poverty in Iran adds to pressure on regime

This time last year, Mohammad could still just about afford fruit and chicken for his three children. But as US sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic have devastated the economy and spurred inflation - almost tripling the price of fresh fruit - the unemployed 47-year-old and his family survive on bread, potatoes and eggs and only then because he has received state "bonuses", sold some home appliances and dipped into his savings. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 1/25/21

Iran's Oil Sector is Breaking Out

In August 2019, Mike Pompeo took something of a victory lap. Speaking to MSNBC, he declared that the Trump administration had "managed to take almost 2.7 million barrels of [Iranian] crude oil off of the market."... Today it is Iran's Oil Minister Zanganeh who is taking a victory lap. He told reporters last week that Iran's oil exports are "much better than many assume," and the oil ministry has announced that it would begin ramping-up oil production. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse & Bazaar 1/25/21

Iran seeks clarification from Indonesia on seizure of its tanker

Iran requested more information from the Indonesian government on Monday on the seizure of one of its fuel tankers accused of illegally transferring oil. Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran had heard "contradictory" details about the seizure of its MT Horse vessel on Sunday and is seeking clarification from Jakarta. 1/25/21

Petition to U.S. President Joe Biden: End Sanctions on Iran

In violation of legal bans on collective punishment, U.S. sanctions on Iran harm ordinary people, not the Iranian government. These crippling sanctions have robbed the people of their livelihood, violating individuals' right to health, making the Coronavirus pandemic more lethal, and causing unnecessary suffering and death. Many members of the U.S. Congress have expressed their urgent concern. -Action Network 1/22/21

These Photos Capture What Life's Been Like in Iran Under Trump's Sanctions

As Donald Trump's term as president ends, people around the world are anticipating what the incoming administration of President Joe Biden means for them. Nowhere is that more true than in Iran, where 80 million people have been labouring under the reality of economic sanctions for years. -Mohammed Rasool, Vice 1/22/21

The effect of US sanctions on Iran was global - and a global effort must end them

For nearly three years, the fate of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has hung precariously in the balance. The Trump administration withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018, arguing that a policy of economic coercion, dubbed "maximum pressure", would deliver an improved agreement. But all it achieved was the hollowing out of the existing one. Europe, which has played a key role in preventing the JCPOA's total collapse, now must seize the opportunity to help revive and even strengthen it. -Ali Vaez, Guardian 1/22/21

Iran, pressured by blackouts and pollution, targets Bitcoin

Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. Traffic lights died. Offices went dark. Online classes stopped. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Soon, fingers pointed at an unlikely culprit: Bitcoin. -AP 1/22/21

Amid crippling sanctions, Iran traders seek lifeline in Iraq

Piles of plush carpets line the floors of a northern Iraq shopping center hosting traders from neighboring Iran who hope the spangle of their ornate handicrafts might offer a lifeline out of poverty. In their own country, the economy is in tatters amid crippling U.S. sanctions. -AP 1/22/21

Iran's Rial Strengthens on Trump Exit and Prospect of U.S. Thaw

Iran's currency strengthened to a five-month high against the dollar as Joe Biden prepared to take office with a plan to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and provide sanctions relief for the Islamic Republic. The value of the U.S. dollar on Iran's unregulated, open market was down to 228,000 rials on Wednesday -- giving the beleaguered rial a 17% gain against the greenback since Jan. 6, according to currency trading website Bonbast.com. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 1/21/21

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