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May 22 2015
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The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower


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US sanctions airlines for selling jets to Iran

- The US government has imposed sanctions on two aviation companies in Iraq and the UAE for selling used commercial aircraft to Iran. The Treasury Department designated Iraq-based Al-Naser Airlines and Sky Blue Bird Aviation in the United Arab Emirates as sanctions violators. - 5/22/15

Exxon lobbies US government on Iran sanctions

- Exxon Mobil is reported to have stationed lobbyists to push the envelope on Iran sanctions with the US government as Western companies are jostling for access to the Middle East country's massive oil and gas fields. - 5/22/15

President Rouhani stresses Iran's peace discourse

- Iran's President Rouhani restated his policy of peace and dialogue on Wednesday. Addressing a meeting of businessmen and investors in Tabriz, capital of the East Azerbaijan Province, President Rouhani restated his policy of peace and dialogue on Wednesday. - 5/21/15

Iran opens its largest glass production plant

- Iran has launched a glass fabrication plant described as the country's largest, with President Hassan Rouhani calling on local producers to raise their competitiveness. Sahand Float Company in Tabriz in northwestern Iran will produce 220,000 tonnes of flat glass per year for building, automotive, security and decoration use. - 5/21/15

US architect of Iran economic isolation warns sanctions could backfire

- Richard Nephew, a former senior US official who was instrumental in constructing the global sanctions wall around Iran, is now warning that Washington's fondness for sanctions as a foreign policy tool could have serious repercussions for the US. -Julian Borger, Guardian - 5/21/15

Threat of 'Snapback' Could Limit Firms' Iran Deals

- At the heart of the recent deal between the U.S. and other powers and Iran over its nuclear program is the issue of how and when sanctions will be removed. The Obama administration has described a deal that would see economic sanctions removed only if Iran is abiding by its commitments to restrict its nuclear activity. -Teresa Welsh, US News - 5/21/15

Israel ordered to pay Iran $1.1 billion: Report

- An Israeli oil company has been ordered by a Swiss court to pay $1.1 billion to Iran in compensation in a long-standing legal battle related to a joint venture before the Islamic Revolution, the IRNA news agency says. - 5/20/15

Iran spells out conditions for US oil firms

- An official says Iran's oil and gas is open to American investment but US companies have to tie up with Iranian companies under certain terms."From the government's standpoint, there is no limitation for oil investment by the Americans in Iran," deputy Minister of Petroleum Amir Hossein Zamaninia said, the Mehr news agency reported. - 5/19/15

Iran confident of quick oil output recovery

- Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi says Iran's oil exports could return to the pre-sanctions level over a period of three or four months. Talking to IRNA in Kuala Lumpur, the official said Iran must ramp up production to four million barrels per day, of which 2.3 million to 2.5 million bdp would go to exports. - 5/18/15

Iran plans massive rail network

- Iran wants to splurge up to $8 billion over the next six years to expand its rail network, Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Netmatzadeh said. The country is struggling to catch up with its runaway urbanization which has generated daunting challenges both for the state planners and the populace. - 5/18/15

Iranian Shareholders blame government, exchange for stock market losses

- A number of Iranian shareholders gathered in front of the Tehran Stock Exchange on Monday to protest the investment losses they have suffered due to a steep fall in share prices. - 5/12/15

Teacher Protests Sweep Iran despite Threats by Officials Not to Participate

- Another nationwide protest by Iranian teachers swept through dozens of cities throughout Iran on May 7, with thousands taking to the streets to draw attention to wages that are below the poverty line. - 5/12/15

Iran's Banks May Have Difficult Return to Global System

- Iran may be about to restore banking links with the rest of the world after years of separation, but the process won't be easy as its Islamic financial system has evolved in ways that will complicate ties with foreign banks. -Reuters - 5/12/15

Iran trade team in rare US visit

- Iran's media reported on Sunday that a 15-member delegation comprising Iranian traders, entrepreneurs and artists is in a rare visit to the United States. The visit - which officials say started two weeks ago and is expected to end next week - has been arranged by a US-based non-governmental institution called Learning. - 5/11/15

Iranian Teachers Protest For Higher Wages

- Thousands of teachers across Iran have again taken to the streets to call for higher wages. Iran's semiofficial ILNA news agency, which focuses on labor issues, reports that silent protests were held on May 7 in more than a dozen Iranian cities, including Tehran, Tabriz, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Sanandaj. - 5/8/15

Iran plans $180 billion energy investment

- Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran plans to splash out $180 billion to revive and renovate its oil, gas and petrochemical industries by 2022. Addressing an energy security summit in Berlin, the minister said Iran has always been a reliable energy supplier, adding the country wants to regain its position in the energy market. - 5/8/15

Ignoring US, India signs Iran seaport contract

- Defying US warnings, India has signed an agreement with Iran to develop a port in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan. The seaport will be located in Iranian port city of Chabahar in the Sistan-Baluchestan province on the southeastern coast of the province along the Gulf of Oman, and will give India a sea-land access route to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. - 5/8/15

Iran holds oil and gas show to attract investment

- Iran is holding a four-day international oil and gas show to introduce lucrative development projects amid hopes for the annulment of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. A large number of foreign companies have signed up to attend the 20th International Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran. The event starts on Wednesday and will run until Saturday. - 5/6/15

Still One Big Obstacle To Turkmen Gas To Europe

- The Caspian Sea is a sea of peace and friendship. Top officials in the five Caspian littoral states -- Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan -- have been repeating that line for two decades. This mantra is about to be put to the test. -Bruce Pannier, RFE - 5/6/15

Casualty of anti-Iran hysteria: Watermelons

- Iran's watermelons are the prized choice to quench thirst around the Persian Gulf Arab states but they have become the subject of a heated hysteria this year, which many Iranians believe is political. Officials say the United Arab Emirates has returned six consignments so far amid rumors that Iranian watermelons had "suspicious holes". - 5/6/15

US oil delegation to visit Iran this week: Iranian official

- A US oil delegation is scheduled to travel to Tehran this week to hold talks with a number of Iranian petroleum ministry officials as well as oil industry contractors. "It is predicted that following the visit by the American delegation to Tehran and possible removal of sanctions against the oil industry, we will witness the presence of major international US oil and gas companies in Iran in future," Abbas Shari Moqaddam, Iran's deputy petroleum minister was quoted as saying - 5/5/15

U.S. Says Iran Not Open For Business Yet

- The United States says Iran is not open for business yet. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke made the comments in reaction to a widely cited report by an Iranian news agency claiming a U.S. oil delegation is due to visit Tehran this week to review investment opportunities. - 5/5/15

Iran ends developed countries' monopoly on producing some recombinant drugs

- An official at the Iranian Ministry of Health says the Islamic Republic is now a producer of some recombinant drugs, which were previously produced by some developed countries, thus ending their monopoly in the field. - 5/5/15

Moving from Bazaar to Bourse in Iran

- Anticipation has been building among international investors and business leaders as Iran and the P5+1 edge closer to a nuclear deal. Each week another trade delegation-whether American, or Swiss,or German-makes its way to Tehran to scope out opportunities. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 5/2/15

Iranian workers march on May Day despite state resistance

- ILNA reports that thousands participated in May Day demonstrations in Tehran and the International Workers Day was finally marked after "an eight year hiatus" with a parade by Iranian workers. ILNA reports that the demonstrations began at 10 AM with two thousand people in front of the Worker's House and demonstrators marched to Palestine Square where they ended the march at noon. - 5/2/15

Bahrain seizes Iranian bank, insurer

- The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) says it has placed two Iranian financial institutions into administration. Bahrain's media say this came into effect as of April 30, 2015. However, no explanation has been provided for the decision. - 5/2/15

Labor Leaders Detained in Iran as International Workers' Day Approaches

- On the eve of International Workers' Day on May 1, Iranian authorities have arrested at least five labor leaders. The arrests have taken place in the context of intensifying labor protests, strikes, and arrests of individuals organizing or participating in labor protests. - 4/30/15

Iran: Rohani foresees improved industrial conditions after nuclear deal

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani says conditions for production and manufacturing will improve when an agreement is reached with the world powers and he warned "sanctions go-betweens" to begin looking for another kind of livelihood. - 4/29/15

Iran sees jump in prized caviar output

- Iran expects to export 1.5-2.0 tons of caviar produced in its hatcheries this year amid a ban on commercial fishing of sturgeon in the Caspian Sea. The world's biggest exporter of the delicacy produced 1.2 tons of caviar last year in addition to 600 tons of sturgeon meat, according to the head of Iran's Fisheries Organization Hassan Salehi - 4/29/15

Iran to rein in emotional reaction to forex rate

- A senior Iranian banking official says the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) will curb any emotional variance in foreign exchange rate due to a possible agreement with world powers. - 4/29/15

Iranian nuclear official signals agreement on lifting sanctions

- The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday April 25 that the parties negotiating a nuclear pact have agreed that all sanctions against Iran will be eliminated when the agreement takes effect. - 4/27/15

Iran names priority oil sector projects

- The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) announced in a statement on Sunday that it has defined 21 top priority oil sector projects. The NIOC added in the statement that the projects will be introduced to investors in the upcoming Iran Oil Show that will be held in Tehran 6-9 May, 2015. - 4/27/15

Iran sets rules for joint ventures with US carmakers

- A top Iranian official said on Sunday the country is interested in the prospects for domestic carmakers to form joint ventures (JVs) with their American companies in the Iranian auto market "provided that they accept seven key preconditions". - 4/26/15

42 Percent Of Iranian Graduates Unemployed: Parliament Speaker

- Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says 42% of Iranian university graduates are jobless. Speaking on the sidelines of a cultural ceremony in the northern city of Shahroud, Larijani described inflation and unemployment as two major problems facing Iranian people. - 4/25/15

The European Union, The Southern Corridor, And Turkmen Gas

- The European Union is more active lately in searching for new sources of natural gas, motivated in no small part by its rocky relations with Russia over the Kremlin's involvement in Ukraine. The EU's Southern Gas Corridor project to bring gas from the Caspian Basin to Europe is getting new attention and taking on increased importance, which can be seen in the increased contact among officials from the EU, gas exporters Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and transit countries Turkey and Georgia. -Bruce Pannier, RFE - 4/24/15

US carmakers ready to invest in Iran market: Report

- Secretary-general of the Iranian Auto Parts Manufacturers Association says American carmakers have voiced their readiness to enter Iran's car market once sanctions against the country are lifted. The automobile industry is seen as Iran's biggest non-oil sector. It accounts for nearly 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). - 4/21/15

US trade delegation studying post-sanctions Iran potentials in rare visit

- Reports have emerged in the media that a delegation of American businessmen has traveled to Iran to explore the avenues for investments after the sanctions against the country are removed. - 4/20/15

Iran starts testing Iraq gas pipeline

- The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) said on Saturday that preliminary tests have been carried out over 50 kilometers of the final stretch of the pipeline which has been installed to take gas to Iran's western neighbor. - 4/20/15

Official: Iran needs 500 passenger planes

- Iran needs to buy up to 500 passenger planes in the next 10 years to renovate its aging fleet, head of the country's aviation organization says. A number of plane manufactures have traveled to Iran over the past year, discussing possible agreements and assessing the market, Ali Reza Jahangirian said, without naming the airlines. - 4/18/15

Worsening Conditions for Women in Iran Begin to Draw Attention

- Almost two years after his 2013 election, President Hassan Rouhani and his Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, spoke up against discrimination against women this week, in the face of steadily deteriorating conditions for women in Iran. - 4/17/15

IMF forecasts Iranian economy to grow 0.6 percent in 2015

- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast the Iranian economy to grow in the years to come. In its World Economic Outlook 2015, the international creditor noted, "Growth in the Islamic Republic of Iran is projected to be 0.6 percent in 2015 and 1.3 percent in 2016, a downward revision from the October 2014 WEO." - 4/17/15

Teachers' silent protests held across Iran on Thursday

- Thousands of Iranian teachers gathered in silence in dozens of cities across the country in front of the ministry of education and governor's buildings on Thursday April 15. - 4/17/15

Aerospace companies keen on establishing Iran footing: Official

- The head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) says many aircraft manufacturers have visited the country in the past year, even before the recent Tehran-P5+1 statement in Switzerland on the Iranian nuclear program, which laid the ground for further negotiations toward a comprehensive nuclear deal. - 4/17/15

Economics Will Decide the Fate of the Iran Deal

- Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a terrible record in predicting the future of Iran's nuclear programme, but it's hard to argue with his suggestion that last week's accord between Iran and the P5+1 countries will "bolster Iran's economy". -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, LobeLog - 4/16/15

Iran wins 'pistachio war' with US

- Iran ousted the US as the leading producer of pistachio nuts last year and reclaimed the position which it has long held to its credit, an official has said. Production of the nut surpassed 235,000 tonnes thanks to satisfactory precipitations and Iran's implementation of development measures for better yield, an official with the agriculture ministry, Ali Mohseni said. - 4/16/15

Russia's No. 2 oil firm reopens Iran office

- Russian oil company Lukoil has reopened its offices in Iran in anticipation of the removal of economic sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. Lukoil Deputy Vice President Ravil Maganov said the company was back in Iran, UPI reported Wednesday. - 4/16/15

Iran's annual inflation rate hits 14.8%: Official

- The inflation rate for the past Iranian calendar year (which ended on March 20) hit 14.8 percent, the Tasnim News Agency quoted Iran's Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, as saying on Tuesday. - 4/15/15

Iran's says oil output to reach pre-sanctions levels "very fast"

- Iran said on Tuesday it can increase its oil production to pre-sanctions levels "very fast". Iran's Petroleum Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters the country has already carried out necessary tests to increase production from its producing fields. - 4/14/15

Russia says started strategic barter trade with Iran

- Russia says it has started a strategic "oil for goods" barter trade with Iran, stressing that the due proceedings are already "working well". Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the country is currently providing a "considerable" volume of goods to Iran in exchange for the Iranian crude oil without providing any specific figures. - 4/14/15

U.S. Tech Companies And Investors Look to Gain From Iran Deal

- The possibility of an Iran free of the economic sanctions that have weighed on it for years could be a boon to Western businesses, which already are considering ways to take advantage of potentially easier access to Iran's economy and consumers. -Kaveh Waddell, National Journal - 4/14/15

US investors eyeing Iran's stock market

- Iran says US companies are interested in making investments in its stock market. Officials in Tehran say they have been approached by US companies for investments in the Iranian stock market. - 4/13/15

Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement

- This report is the fourth in a series of papers published by The Iran Project that provides a basis for better understanding the standoff between the United States and Iran. It analyses relations between Iran and its neighbors and offers policy recommendations for the United States in the region after a nuclear agreement with Iran is concluded. -The Iran Project - 4/13/15

Iran-China Alliance Not Considered Threat to Nuclear Talks

- The U.S. State Department says it does not believe Iran's alliance with a new multi-billion-dollar, China-led development bank will destabilize the ongoing Iran nuclear talks. Iran is one of about 35 countries that have been accepted as founding members of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB. -Pamela Dockins - 4/11/15

Shell mulling Iran return after sanctions: Reports

- The multinational oil and gas giant, Royal Dutch Shell plc is reportedly seeking to return to Iran once sanctions against the country over its nuclear program are lifted. Iranian media reports said Wednesday that the Anglo-Dutch energy company was mulling over investment opportunities in Iran again. - 4/9/15

China Says Iran Accepted As New Bank Founding Member

- Chinese media says Iran has been accepted as a founding member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). State news agency Xinhua said on April 7 the bank's existing 26 members -- including China, Britain, France, Germany, India, Switzerland, and Italy -- also agreed to include the United Arab Emirates as a founding member. - 4/8/15

Despite Odds, Turkey to Expand Trade With Iran

- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make a state visit Tuesday to Tehran. The Turkish president has indicated expanding trade relations will be a priority of his visit, with the prospect that international sanctions against Iran could soon be eased. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 4/7/15

United States Says Iran Sanctions Would Be Phased Out

- The United States says economic sanctions on Iran would be gradually phased out if a final nuclear agreement is reached between Tehran and six world powers before the June 30 deadline. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on April 6 that Washington was clear with Iranian officials in its demand that sanctions on Tehran would be lifted in different phases under a final deal. - 4/7/15

Iran expects US ships in ports once sanctions lifted

- Iran says it is expecting American shipping lines to visit its ports once the economic sanctions against it are lifted in light of the emerging comprehensive final agreement over the Iranian nuclear energy program. - 4/5/15

Iranian FM Zarif: Sanctions resolutions will be annulled once UN endorses comprehensive plan of action

- TEHRAN - Under the mutual understanding reached between Tehran and the 5+1 group of world powers Iran will keep its peaceful nuclear program without shutting down any facilities, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said upon his return to Tehran following the talks in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday. - 4/4/15

'Nuclear deal to unleash Iran's economic power': Report

- According to the CNN report, the checklist of attributes Iran possesses is impressive. The country has the second largest population in the Middle East with roughly 80 million, 9% of proven oil reserves, 18% of proven gas reserves and an abundance of strategic minerals. - 4/2/15

Economics Likely to Trump Politics in Turkey-Iran Rift

- Turkey and Iran have accused each other of trying to dominate the Middle East as they back opposing sides in the crisis in Yemen, but the war of words is unlikely to permanently damage a relationship driven by deepening economic ties. -Reuters - 4/2/15

iBRIDGE Berlin Conference - High Tech Entrepreneurship in Iran: Opportunities and Challenges

- iBRIDGE Berlin is a three-day event to be held on June 4-6, 2015 in Berlin, Germany that is organized by iBRIDGES. It will bring together European and American entrepreneurs and their counterparts in Iran to explore the role that a high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem can play in Iran's economic development and diversification. The event will be comprised of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops, as well as visits to local incubators in Berlin. - 3/30/15

Dollar continues to lose against Rial as hopes for nuclear deal grow stronger

- Iran's exchange markets on Saturday saw a fresh drop in the rates of the US Dollar against the Rial in what many believe is the result of a growing business optimism toward the results of Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne. - 3/28/15

Cost of Living Increased by 20-50 Percent In The Last Iranian Year

- According to government statistics, the rate of inflation dropped in the Persian calendar year that is ending on March 21th. But a look at media news agency reports along with the pronouncements made by authorities, cost of living continued to rise in the last twelve month period. In fact, a new wave of price hikes is expected to hit the pockets of ordinary Iranians in the coming year that begins on March 21st. -Nazanin Kamdar - 3/24/15

Iran's South Pars revenues to hit $127bn in a couple of years: Official

- The head of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) says annual energy revenues from the South Pars supergiant in the Persian Gulf will reach USD127 billion within a couple of years. - 3/24/15

Iran on course to regain OPEC position

- Industry observers say Iran is able to reclaim its position as the second largest oil producer in OPEC once US-led sanctions are lifted. Iran has said it could add a million barrels to daily oil production shortly after a deal to lift sanctions. - 3/23/15

Iran, US fight it out in a nutty war

- Iran dominates the world market for exports of split-shelled pistachios but it is facing a stubborn competition from the Americans. Raw, roasted, salted and savory, the Iranian nibble has no rivals for quality but the US has ousted the Middle Eastern country as the largest producer of pistachio nuts. - 3/23/15

South Pars biggest phase to up Iran's GDP 3%

- The biggest phase of Iran's South Pars gas field, namely the phase 12, was officially inaugurated on Tuesday by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Rouhani said the government puts great emphasis on the policies of resistance economy, the Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday. - 3/18/15

U.S. Oil companies taking position against GOP letter will be rewarded: Iranian Official

- Head of Iranian Ministry of Petroleum's Oil Contracts Revision Committee says the U.S. oil companies taking position against Republican senators who recently wrote a letter warning Iran against a nuclear deal with the U.S. will be rewarded. - 3/18/15

Iran to hike oil exports by 1mn bpd after sanctions lifted

- Iran says it is ready to increase its oil exports by one million barrels per day a few months after the sanctions against the country are lifted. "The increase in Iran's crude export will not decrease oil prices," Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Namdar Zangeneh was quoted as saying by IRNA. - 3/17/15

Iranians selling US assets as nuclear deal nears - Report

- "Iranians living here [in America] can seize the opportunity to park their money in Iran while it [the Iranian rial] is strong today. Markets inside Iran have started reacting positively to the good news for the Iranians of a prospective deal by next week," an unnamed Iranian national has told the Breitbart News in an exclusive interview. - 3/16/15

Iran witnesses surprise fall in US dollar rates against rial

- Iran's exchange market on Sunday witnessed an unprecedented appreciation of the Iranian rial against the US dollar in what many see is the result of an overwhelming positive speculation by the country's businesses toward the outcomes of nuclear talks now underway in Lausanne, Switzerland. - 3/15/15

Iran's pistachio exports rise 71% in 11 months

- Iran exported 171,119 tons of pistachio valued at over $1.5 billion in the first eleven months of the current Iranian calendar year (January 21, 2014-February 19, 2015), a 71 percent rise compared to the same period last year, according to an official in Iranian Agriculture Ministry. - 3/15/15

Caspian Sea: is Iran changing its position on the Caspian legal regime?

- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister has expressed optimism that the legal status of the Caspian Sea could finally be resolved at the next summit of Caspian littoral states. He said after a meeting of the working group on the Caspian Sea on March 5 the sides have reached complete agreement on six provisions of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 3/13/15

Iran-EU annual trade rises 21% in 2014: Eurostat

- Trade between Iran and the European Union amounted to 7.566 billion Euro in 2014, a 21 percent growth from 6.229 billion Euro in 2013, according to the EU statistics agency Eurostat. The EU exported 6.403 billion Euro worth of goods to Iran in 2014, showing 18 percent rise compared to the year before, when the figure was 5.445 billion Euro, the IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday, citing Eurostat data. - 3/13/15
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