Bahman 6 1399 - January 25 2021
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

"Suffering" Iranian Retirees Joining Nationwide Protests Against Chronic State Failures

On January 10, 2021, Iranian retirees gathered in front of government buildings in at least 19 cities including-Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, and Yazd-to protest the government's lack of response to their demands. The protesters, who receive retirement checks from the State Welfare Organization's (SWO) pension fund, chanted slogans against state policies and officials at well-organized rallies. -CHRI 1/21/21

Photos: 1st female mechanic in Tabriz

Jila Ghahramani is the first female mechanic in Tabriz, the provincial capital of East Azerbaijan Province in northwestern Iran. -Mina Noei, Mehr 1/14/21

Bitcoin, Blackouts and Smog Are Exacerbating Iran's Virus Woes

Cities across Iran have been cloaked in thick layers of toxic smog and darkened by blackouts, as the alleged use of low-quality fuel and power-sucking cryptocurrency mining deepen the country's hardships. Tehran's Hamshahri newspaper, the country's most-read daily, ran the headline, "20 Days Living in Smoke," on Wednesday over a photo of the capital covered in smog. -Golnar Motevalli and Arsalan Shahla, Bloomberg 1/13/21

Iran-Iraq Annual Trade To Reach 20 Billion Dollars

Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian, who is the head of the Iran-Iraq Join Economic Committee, said on Tuesday that the two countries' annual trade is going to be increased to $20 billion. Ardakanian made the remarks in the opening ceremony of the two countries' fourth Joint Economic Committee meeting in Tehran, which he co-chaired with the Iraqi Trade Minister Alla Ahmed Al-Jubouri 1/12/21

I was diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic and can't stop thinking about sanctions against Iran

After studying how U.S. sanctions have wreaked havoc on the Iranian people and working with diplomats in Europe, rather unsuccessfully, to lessen the damage, I can attest to the fact that Iran's public health emergency began long before the pandemic. It is no secret, as international media has been riddled with horrific stories about cancer patients and others in Iran dying preventable deaths over the last few years because the healthcare system has been strangled by onerous U.S. sanctions. -Sahil Shah, Responsible Statecraft 1/11/21

Iran tells South Korea not to politicise seized vessel, demands release of funds

Iran said on Sunday that South Korea should avoid politicising the seizure of its vessel by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Gulf, Iranian state media reported, while pressing Seoul to release $7 billion in funds frozen amid U.S. sanctions. Iran has denied allegations that the seizure of the tanker and its 20-member crew amounted to hostage taking, and said it was Seoul that was holding Iran's funds "hostage". -Reuters 1/11/21

Iran's actual gas processing hits record high of 840 million mcm: NIGC

The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) says the daily amount of production and processing of natural gas in the country hit an all-time high of 840 million cubic meters (mcm), a whopping figure which the country's energy minister says is roughly more than half the amount of gas consumed in the entire Europe. -Press TV 1/7/21

Factbox-Countries where Iranian oil and gas revenues are blocked

Iran has been unable to obtain tens of billions of dollars of its assets in foreign banks, mainly from exports of oil and gas, due to U.S. sanctions on its banking and energy sectors. -Iran has repeatedly asked the countries for access to the blocked revenues, even offering barter deals. But its efforts, including attempts to buy humanitarian goods and medicine which are exempt from U.S. sanctions, have mostly failed. -Reuters 1/6/21

South Korea To Send Delegation To Iran Over Tanker Seizure

South Korea says it will dispatch a government delegation to Iran "at the earliest possible date" to try secure the release of a tanker seized by Iran amid tensions over Iranian funds frozen in Seoul because of U.S. sanctions. 1/5/21

Lift U.S. sanctions that block Iran from buying COVID vaccines

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been a recurring problem for every American administration since 1979. Seeing how previous administrations' policies failed, every new administration has wrestled with how to confront, contain, persuade or negotiate with a country that has remained constantly hostile. This moment of a global pandemic, however, offers an unusual opportunity for cooperation. -John W. Limbert & Bahman Baktiari, Los Angeles Times 1/5/21

Iran Economic Monitor, Fall 2020: Weathering the Triple-Shock

The Iranian economy entered a third consecutive year of recession following the triple-shock of sanctions, oil market collapse and Coronavirus (COVID-19). High inflation placed additional economic stress on lower income households following a sharp depreciation of the currency. As Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases surged, stricter measures were enforced in Fall 2020 and new social transfers were announced. -World Bank 1/4/21

Iran's pet food industry is hoping for change

Iran, one of the biggest and most promising pet food markets in the Middle East, is experiencing an acute shortage of high-quality pet food products, as the import of foreign brands continues to be banned. US President-Elect Joe Biden may change this. -Vladislav Vorotnikov, All About Feed 12/30/20

Iran to resume gas flows to Iraq after agreement on unpaid bills, Iraq ministry says

Iran will resume normal gas flows to Iraq on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with Iraq on Tuesday over unpaid bills, a spokesman for Iraq's electricity ministry said. Iran's state gas company said on Monday it had cut supplies to neighbouring Iraq over arrears of more than $6 billion. The Iraqi electricity ministry said the cuts placed Baghdad and other cities at risk of serious power shortages. -Reuters 12/30/20

Iranian women's group empowers amid pandemic by making masks

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages Iran, home to the Mideast's worst outbreak, a women's group hopes to empower its members by helping them make and sell face masks. The organization called "Bavar," or "Belief" in Farsi, formed in 2016, allowing women looking for work to make handicrafts with donated sewing machines. -Vahid Salemi, AP 12/29/20

Iraq at risk of power shortages after Iran slashes gas supply - Iraq ministry

Iraq's capital Baghdad and other cities are at risk of serious power shortages after Iran slashed gas exports, the electricity ministry said on Sunday, potentially placing further pressure on the government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Iran has reduced gas exports to Iraq to five million cubic metres from 50 million cubic metres two weeks ago citing unpaid bills, a ministry spokesman said. -Reuters 12/28/20

Battered by U.S. Sanctions, Iran Finds a Lifeline in Domestic Economy

Swaths of the Iranian economy are retooling in response to more than two years of U.S. sanctions, finding pockets of resilience in the country's large domestic economy. Iranian companies are increasingly producing the sorts of goods that Iran had long imported from abroad, while smaller, growing companies have picked up hiring. -WSJ 12/27/20

Jab Wanted: Iranians' Fears Skyrocket That They Won't Get Access To COVID-19 Vaccines

Amid the launch of mass COVID-19 vaccination drives in the West, there's growing concern among Iranians that they could be left behind. They fear U.S. sanctions and what some regard as the Iranian clerical establishment's failure to prioritize the well-being of its citizens. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 12/24/20

Iran Reports Launch of New Domestically Built Aframax Tanker

Two years after reporting that it was restarting its domestic shipbuilding efforts, Iran says that it has launched its second crude oil tanker in defiance of the international sanctions. The reportedly Aframax sized tanker is due for completion in the first quarter of 2021 built for an unspecified foreign customer. -Maritime Executive 12/24/20

Major Humanitarian Organizations Call for Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for Iranians

A coalition of major human rights and humanitarian organizations released a statement today, calling on the US government to ensure that Iranians would have access to "safe, effective, and affordable Covid-19 vaccines." It noted that US sanctions on financial transactions with Iran "appear to be already impeding the transfer of funds to the Covax Facility, the effort of the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to manage global vaccine distribution." 12/23/20

Insulin shortages have plagued Iran for months

The hashtag "There is no insulin" trended across Iran and beyond on Twitter in mid-October. Although the Iranian government said that more insulin would be available to be distributed, shortages still occurred at least through early December, and no long-term solutions have surfaced. -CIDRAP 12/23/20

Sanctions & COVID: Iran small businesses survive a harrowing year

Like many Iranian small business owners, Ehsan never could have imagined the challenges 2020 would throw at him. The 41-year old manufactures shirts, pants, tops, and accessories at his workshop just outside Tehran that he then sells at a wholesale shop he owns in the Grand Bazaar in the Iranian capital. - Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 12/22/20

Iran Is Nearing Collapse Under the Strain of Covid-19

Tens of millions are reeling under an unholy trinity of pandemic, US sanctions, and government misrule. There are indications that Iran could be among the worst-affected countries in the world by the coronavirus pandemic and its associated problems. -Ahmad Jalalpour, Nation 12/21/20

Iran, despite sanctions, has routes to vaccines

Although Iran faces crushing U.S. sanctions, there are still ways for Tehran to obtain coronavirus vaccines as the country suffers the Mideast's worst outbreak of the pandemic. After earlier downplaying the virus, Iran has since acknowledged the scope of the disaster it faces after 1.1 million reported cases and over 52,000 deaths. Getting vaccines into the arms of its people would be a major step in stemming the crisis. -AP 12/21/20

Khamenei Backs Efforts to Revive Iran Nuclear Deal With U.S.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei threw his support behind efforts to forge a diplomatic breakthrough with the incoming Biden administration and restore the 2015 nuclear deal. His statement sends a clear signal to Iranian hardliners not to stand in the way of talks with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office next month having pledged to rejoin the accord abandoned by Donald Trump. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 12/17/20

Under sanctions, Iran's black market for medicine grows

Iran is currently fighting on two fronts: against the COVID-19 epidemic, which has resulted in the highest death toll in the Middle East, and against economic sanctions that have deprived it of an estimated $150 billion since the Trump administration withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018. -Saumaun Heiat, Atlantic Council 12/16/20

Iran's budget banking on US lifting sanctions

As Iran's legislature is debating the budget for the coming Iranian year, questions remain about the feasibilty of the proposed figures and its heavy reliance on oil revenues. The budget bill for the next Iranian year that starts March 21 was submitted to the parliament Dec. 8 with the headline numbers having massively ballooned compared to the current year's Budget Law. -Navid Kalhor, Al-Monitor 12/15/20

Iran revives contentious anti-money laundering legislation

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the revival of bills that for years were the subject of political infighting between the country's moderates and hardliners. According to Laya Joneydi, Iran's vice president for legal affairs, President Hassan Rouhani requested that the Expediency Council - Iran's arbitration body - be tasked with reviewing the legislation, which would bring the country into compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 12/15/20

How US Sanctions Have Contributed to the 50K Dead of Coronavirus In Iran

The US financial and trade blockade of Iran, which has strangled its economy, has also taken a heavy toll on the country's coronavirus response. Nick Paton Walsh, Jo Shelley, Ramin Mostaghim and Scott McWhinnie at CNN did a great story on this heartrending travesty. -Juan Cole, Common Dreams 12/14/20

In an Iranian intensive care unit, doctors grapple with Covid-19 and US sanctions

Retired teacher Khalif Farahani struggles to speak, but his emotions pierce the breathlessness of the virus's impact on his lungs. "Sanctions, it is cruelty (from) America", he said. He caught the virus on a park excursion, he added, but even in this condition is "better than before." -CNN 12/10/20

Iran, Afghanistan Inaugurate First Rail Link In Key Infrastructure Project

Iran and Afghanistan have officially inaugurated their first railway link, an achievement the two countries' presidents said would help enhance trade across the region. The 130-kilometer line running from Khaf in northeastern Iran into Rosnak in the western Afghan province of Herat is seen as providing a crucial transport link for the landlocked country where decades of war have hindered infrastructure development. 12/10/20

Iran says US sanctions hinder access to COVID-19 vaccines

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that U.S. sanctions are making it difficult for Iran to purchase medicine and health supplies from abroad, including COVID-19 vaccines needed to contain the worst outbreak in the Middle East. President Donald Trump's administration has imposed crippling sanctions on Iran's banking sector and its vital oil and gas industry since unilaterally withdrawing the U.S. from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers in 2018. -AP 12/9/20

'Insane and Pathological': Head of Iran's Central Bank Says US Blocking Covid-19 Vaccine Purchases

The head of Iran's central bank on Monday accused the U.S. government of actively blocking the country from purchasing stocks of coronavirus vaccine through the World Health Organization's COVAX program. Abdolnasser Hemmati said on Instagram that it should be "recorded in historical memory" that crippling U.S.-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic are preventing the country from buying vaccines against the potentially deadly virus through COVAX, the WHO-led global initiative to fast-track development, production, and equitable worldwide distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. -Common Dreams 12/8/20

Iran Sends Oil, Gas Flotilla to Venezuela. Will Trump Attack It to Sabotage Biden?

The odious Elliott Abrams, warmonger-in-chief and old-time supporter of nun-killing right wing death squads in Central America, is now in charge of Iran and Venezuela for Trump and is warning propagandistically against Iran sending missiles to Venezuela (for which there is no evidence at all). -Juan Cole, Common Dreams 12/8/20

Iran's top banker says US blocking COVID-19 vaccine purchase

The United States is actively trying to prevent Iran's efforts to buy a COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX, a global initiative undertaken by the World Health Organization, according to the chief of Iran's central bank. Abdolnasser Hemmati on Monday said it must be "recorded in historical memory" that Iranian efforts to buy a vaccine through COVAX have been hampered due to money transfer issues arising due to the sanctions imposed by the US against Iran. -Al Jazeera 12/7/20

Biggest Iranian Flotilla Yet En Route to Venezuela With Fuel

Iran is sending its biggest fleet yet of tankers to Venezuela in defiance of U.S. sanctions to help the isolated nation weather a crippling fuel shortage, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Some of the flotilla of about 10 Iranian vessels will also help export Venezuelan crude after discharging fuel, the people said, asking not to be named because the transaction is not public. -Bloomberg 12/7/20

India looks to resume Iran, Venezuela oil imports under Biden

India wants to diversify its oil imports, including the resumption of supplies from Iran and Venezuela, after US President-elect Joe Biden takes office, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Wednesday. India was the key buyer of Iranian and Venezuelan oil before slashing purchases after President Donald Trump imposed unilateral sanctions on the two OPEC members since taking office in 2017. -Reuters 12/2/20

The Geopolitical Roots of Iran's Economic Crisis

Iran's economic crisis remains heavily connected to its enmity with the United States. The best tool for economic diversification and sustainable development is an end to the four decades of animosity between Tehran and Washington. -Mahdi Ghodsi & Ali Fathollah-Nejad, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 12/1/20

Iran economy could rebound to 4.4% growth if U.S. sanctions lifted - IIF

Iran's economy could grow 4.4% next year if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden lifts sanctions that have contributed to a deep three-year recession, although the COVID-19 crisis could limit foreign investment, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said. -Reuters 11/27/20

Iran: Unilateral sanctions hamper fight against coronavirus in developing states

Iran's permanent representative to Vienna-based international organizations has expressed concern about the effects of unilateral sanctions on developing countries' fight against the coronavirus outbreak, underlining the need for a coordinated global response to the pandemic. Kazem Gharibabadi made the remarks in an address to the 48th Session of the UNIDO Industrial Development Board, which was held virtually on Monday. -Press TV 11/24/20

Five successful Iranian online start-ups

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the concept of Startups and low-investment high-profit businesses has spread rapidly throughout the world. As the Internet became more pervasive, a new platform was established for providing products and services that were not limited by location and time which made it easier than ever to reach a limitless global audience. 11/23/20

Iran's jobless rate rose 2.5-fold in March-June: Parliament

Iranian parliament's research center have disputed government figures on joblessness in the country, saying in a report that he number of inactive workers increased between March and June because of the spread of the coronavirus. -Press TV 11/23/20

Poverty spikes in Iran as prices for essential goods rise

Recently released figures on the cost of essential items for lower-income segments in Iran show that the rise in the price of these items - predominantly food products - has indeed put a lot of pressure on vulnerable groups in the country. During the period from March 2019 to September 2020, Iranians have witnessed prices of goods skyrocket from 55% to more than 100%, according to a study published in October by the Institute for Trade Studies and Research, a think tank under the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade. -Navid Kalhor, Al Monitor 11/19/20

Iranian FM Says Tehran Willing To Fully Comply With Nuclear Deal If Biden Lifts Sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran would return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden lifts crippling sanctions against the country. Zarif said in a November 17 interview with the government daily Iran that Tehran remains committed to the nuclear accord, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and that Biden could make the changes quickly through "three executive orders." 11/18/20

'We need to put Trump behind us' - what a Biden presidency will mean for Iranians

The next few months are a time of great trepidation for the people of Iran, as they wait to see whether Donald Trump will lash out one last time, carrying out military strikes on their country before he is forced out of the White House. -Kim Sengupta, Independent 11/18/20

Why Biden shouldn't fall for the 'sanctions wall' trap on Iran

Faced with a countdown on its tenure in office, the Trump administration is accelerating efforts to bar President-elect Biden from returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - the nuclear accord between the United States, other major world powers, and Iran - and to cement the U.S.-Iran relationship into one of perpetual conflict. - and more. -Tyler Cullis, Responsible Statecraft 11/17/20

Photos: Production of Remdesivir in Iran

One of the medications used in Iran's medical centers for the treatment of coronavirus is Remdesivir. Iranian pharmaceutical companies have begun making this medical drug to provide it for coronavirus patients. These photographs were taken from Iran's Sobhan Oncology Pharmaceutical Company in which Remdesivir is manufactured. -Moein Azari, ISNA 11/17/20

German investors becoming active in Iran's manufacturing, mining sectors

New data released by the Iranian government shows German investors are becoming increasingly active in the country's manufacturing and mining sectors as they commit to $343 million worth of new projects in the country. The official IRNA news agency cited figures released by the Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade (MIMT) which showed that investors from Germany, along with companies from China, Turkey and India, had committed to a bulk of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Iranian manufacturing and mining sectors. -Press TV 11/17/20

Iranian Women Entrepreneurs Recognized for Innovative Activities

Top Iranian women entrepreneurs working in the domains of job creation and creating added value have been recognized in appreciation of their services. -IFP 11/12/20

Iran launches outdoor 5G trial as internet reaches more villages

A first outdoor network to provide fifth generation of internet technology (5G) has been successfully tested in Iran as telecoms minister vows the country would expand the internet coverage to all villages with over 20 households by March 2021. The official IRNA news agency said that Iran's second mobile operator MTN Irancell had launched its first outdoor 5G trial in a site in downtown Tehran earlier on Wednesday. -Press TV 11/12/20

As Trump Ignores Election Results and Plans 'Flood' of Sanctions, Biden Signals Possible Shift in US Relations With Iran

While President Donald Trump and his allies in Washington continue to ignore and reject the results of last week's election, President-elect Joe Biden signaled on Tuesday that his administration may shift away from the Trump White House's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran in favor of easing tensions with the Middle Eastern nation's government. -Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams 11/11/20

Iran has prepared initial plan for gas exports to Afghanistan: NIGC chief

Head of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) says the country has a plan in place for launching gas exports to neighboring Afghanistan. "The initial plan has been prepared and diplomatic negotiations are ongoing," said Hassan Montazer Torbati on Monday as he briefed reporters on the latest situation of Iran's gas exports to neighboring countries. -Press RV 11/11/20

Neighboring countries hold 60% share of Iran's non-oil exports

Importing 17.683 million tons of commodities worth $4.854 billion, Iraq was the top destination, followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with importing 8.5 million tons of goods valued at $2.272 billion, Turkey with 4.794 million tons worth $1.489 billion, Afghanistan with 4.077 million tons valued at $1.325 billion, and Pakistan with 1.257 million tons worth $491 million. 11/9/20

Iran finally brings desalinated Persian Gulf water to its arid desert

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has opened a mega project for transferring desalinated sea water to arid deserts in the Iranian Plateau, the first in the history of a country where water shortage has always been a major impediment to economic development. Rouhani used a video conference call on Thursday to supervise the start of water transfer from desalination facilities off the Persian Gulf in southern Hormozgan province to water-intensive industries in southeastern province of Kerman. 11/6/20

IRAN: Track-laying of Chabahar-Zahedan railway begins

The track-laying operation of Chabahar-Zahedan railroad from the Chabahar side was started on Wednesday in a ceremony attended by Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami. The project was inaugurated during a visit of the minister to the southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province in which he inaugurated several other port and maritime projects as well. 11/6/20

Millions of Iranians at risk as US sanctions choke insulin supplies

A new tranche of sanctions imposed by the US on Iran has exacerbated the insulin shortage crisis in the Islamic Republic and boosted its smuggling, patients and doctors told Middle East Eye. On 8 October, the US Treasury announced that it was blacklisting 18 major Iranian banks, effectively cutting Tehran off from the international financial system. The move defied European allies who warned it would limit Tehran's ability to purchase humanitarian imports amid a worsening currency crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. -Rohollah Faghihi, Middle East Eye 11/3/20

Chevron, Exxon Escape Iranian Oil Worker's Asbestos Claims

Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron USA Inc. had no duty of care to an Iranian citizen who was exposed to asbestos while working in a refinery controlled by the company's predecessors, a California appeals court said. Houshang Sabetian sued Exxon and Chevron in 2018 for negligence, premises liability, and loss of consortium, alleging his exposure to asbestos in the refinery in Abadan, Iran led to his mesothelioma. -Bloomberg Law 10/30/20

Coronavirus is worse in Iran because of U.S. sanctions: Foreign Ministry

Iran's Foreign Ministry said in a tweet on Monday that coronavirus has been a deadly disease everywhere but it is worse in Iran due to U.S. sanctions. "Corona's proven deadly, vicious & brutal everywhere, but it's worse in Iran as it has a cruel collaborator: U.S. regime," tweeted the Foreign Ministry. It added, "U.S. has elevated maximum pressure to Health Terrorism & targeted Iranian people with inhuman sanctions while they're fighting the pandemic. We'll overcome but NEVER forget." 10/28/20

Analysis: Trump sanctions could give Biden a bargaining chip in deal talks with Iran

The Trump administration's imposition of new sanctions on Iran may have been intended to forestall a new nuclear deal with Tehran if Joe Biden is elected president, but it could backfire instead by strengthening Biden's hand at the bargaining table... Analysts have said Monday's action was among moves by the Trump administration attempting to make it harder for a potential Biden White House to lift sanctions. -Reuters 10/28/20

Iranian hospitals hobbled by sanctions in fight against Covid

In a poor neighbourhood of the historic city of Isfahan, workers toil day and night to build a new hospital as Iran's overwhelmed health system struggles to cope with the soaring number of Covid cases. The work on the 1,000-bed seven-storey Isfahan Eram Center Hospital has been expedited by the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted years of underinvestment and decades of inertia in a health system that has also been hobbled by US sanctions. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 10/27/20

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iran's Oil Sector

The Trump administration is trying to fortify its campaign of maximum pressure against Iran from being reversed by a potential Biden administration. -Pranshu Verma and Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 10/27/20

Photos: Saffron harvest in Golestan province, Iran

Vamenan village in Golestan, the northeastern province of Iran is one of the hubs for producing the best saffron in Iran. Many farmers are busy with harvesting saffron flowers at this time of the year. -Mahsa Safari, Mehr News Agency 10/26/20

Trump's quiet war against civilians in Iran continues amid the pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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