Mordad 13 1399 - August 03 2020
Supreme leader says Iran won't negotiate with US

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday his country will not negotiate with the United States because America would only use talks for propaganda purposes. The Trump administration has said it is willing to talk with Iran "with no preconditions," but that the U.S. will continue its campaign of pressure against the Islamic Republic. -AP 7/31/20

US frowns upon Iranian supermarket in Venezuela's capital

U.S. officials frowned upon the opening of an Iranian supermarket in Venezuela's capital, saying Thursday that any presence of Iran in the Western Hemisphere is "not something we look very favorably on." The new Megasis supermarket, in the east of Caracas, was launched Wednesday amid a tightening of the coronavirus quarantine. -AP 7/31/20

Iran struggles to buy food in a world wary of touching its money

Iran, creaking under the impact of U.S. sanctions, a collapse in oil sales and a severe COVID-19 epidemic, is scrambling to buy food and medicine to avoid a supply crunch. But it's a struggle. Despite such supplies being exempt from sanctions, banks and governments are reluctant to transfer or take Iranian money because they fear unwittingly breaching the complex U.S. restrictions, according to five trade and finance sources. -Reuters 7/30/20

Iranian Workers Strike Amid Worsening Economy, Deadly Coronavirus Crisis

Amid crushing economic conditions, demonstrations and strikes by workers have sprung up in Iran recently over unpaid wages and poor working conditions. Factory and city employees, coal miners, as well as health-care workers are among those who have been protesting in Iran in recent weeks. -RFE 7/30/20

Iran imposes fresh limit on cash withdrawals from banks

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has ordered a new limit on withdrawal of cash from banks amid toughening of rules on money laundering and also concerns about hoarding money because of the new coronavirus pandemic. A CBI decree issued on Tuesday said banks should observe a daily limit of 150 million rials ($652) for all customers, meaning that companies and legal entities would also be covered by the new law. -Press TV 7/30/20

Booming stock market in Iran is a national security project

Against this gloomy backdrop, something bizarre is happening. The benchmark Tehran Stock Market index (TEDPIX) is booming. It has surged seven-fold during the past year. In the spring of this year stock prices increased 1.6 percent per day on average. One may ask how that might help the Iranian population? -Shahir Shahidsaless, Atlantic Council 7/28/20

A China-Iran partnership would make China the Middle East arbiter

If President Obama succeeded in bringing Israel and the Gulf Arabs closer together in the face of their common Iranian enemy, President Trump is on the verge of successfully bringing China and Iran together in the face of their own common enemy - the United States. As has been widely reported, the Iranian parliament is reviewing a 25-year agreement between Tehran and Beijing that, if approved, would provide for $400 billion in Chinese investment, the discounted supply of Iranian oil, and joint military and technological cooperation. -Dov S. Zakheim, The Hill 7/28/20

First Swiss deal with Iran via humanitarian channel has gone through: Swiss government

A Swiss pharmaceutical company has completed the first transaction under a new humanitarian trade channel with Iran, the government in Bern said on Monday. The Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) channel to bring food and medicine to Iran started trial operations in January, helping supply Swiss goods to the struggling population without tripping over U.S. sanctions. -Reuters 7/27/20

Will Foreign Investment Return to Iran's Automotive Sector?

Iran produced just 770,000 automobiles in 2019, down from 1,418,550 just two years prior. The re-imposition of U.S. secondary sanctions interrupted new investment in Iran's automotive sector, particularly by European automakers such as Renault, Peugeot, and Volkswagen. -Hassan Karimi Sanjari, Bourse & Bazaar 7/27/20

Iran, sanctions, and the COVID-19 pandemic

This week, Iran announced its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in February. The uptick in cases and deaths is the result of a new wave of infections that began May 3rd, two weeks after the gradual easing of the country's partial lockdown in mid-April. Coincident with the upsurge has been a drop of 13% this past month in the value of Iran's currency, reflecting not only the economic impact of the virus, but a disinclination by exporters to repatriate their foreign currency. -Roxane Farmanfarmaian, ELN 7/24/20

History repeats itself in Iran's currency exchange market

The Iranian rial continues to lose value against foreign currency, as exporters face high costs due to sanctions and the government continues a policy of forcing them to accept low exchange rates. -Ali Dadpay, Al Monitor 7/23/20

Iran-China Deal Must be Green

Iran has not been "lost" to China. The Iranian nation is an independent, highly educated, resource rich country with vast potential hobbled by a long list of critical problems it has to solve. And it has to do this without the interference of regime change warmongers or traitors that falsely claim they are patriots. The Iran-China deal can be a mutually beneficial arrangement if great care is taken in drafting an agreement that is not lopsided and exploitive plus avoids a debt-trap for Iran. -Daryan Rezazad, Counterpunch 7/22/20

Swiss humanitarian trade deal with Iran faces delay, questions

Swiss "good offices" between Tehran and Washington have brought about a humanitarian aid channel allowing Swiss-based companies to send medicines and other vital goods to Iran despite US sanctions. But it remains to be seen to what extent the now-delayed deal will help the Iranian people versus Swiss political and economic interests. 7/22/20

When China Met Iran

Leaked news this month that China and Iran had come to the verge of signing a 25-year trade and military partnership agreement struck like a geopolitical storm in Washington - a rising rival of America and a longtime foe joining forces to threaten the United States's predominant position in the Middle East. The agreement ambitiously promises to bring a huge Chinese presence into Iran's economic development, in exchange for a regular supply of heavily discounted Iranian oil. -Michael Singh, New York Times 7/22/20

Afghanistan sends first transit consignment to China via Iran's Chabahar Port

Afghanistan's first transit goods to China via Iran's southeastern Chabahar Port was shipped, the director-general of Ports and Maritime Department of Sistan-Baluchestan Province, where Chabahar lies, announced on Sunday. Behrouz Aghaei said the shipment was carried out through Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar 7/21/20

Iran Aims At $1 Trillion Oil Revenue From Giant Field Development

Iran signed on Monday a US$1.3-billion deal with domestic companies to double the production capacity at the massive Azadegan oilfield, expecting the rise in production to boost its oil revenues by US$1 trillion, Iranian officials said at the signing ceremony. -Oil Price 7/21/20

Iran's exports to UAE surge by 8% in quarter to June: Official

Iran's exports to the United Arab Emirates increased by eight percent in the three-month period ending late June this year, says a senior Iranian trade official. Farzad Piltan, head of Arab and Africa department at the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, said on Sunday that exports to the UAE reached a total value of $967 million in the quarter ending June 20. -Press TV 7/20/20

A pragmatic partnership: Why China and Iran try to collaborate

Iran's rumoured talks with China on a partnership agreement could have significant economic benefits and provide it with valuable geopolitical bargaining chips. -Ellie Geranmayeh, ECFR 7/17/20

To understand the China-Iran deal, forget the hype and look at the context

The news of a 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement secretly signed between the Iranian government and China has been the hot topic of the last few weeks, generating a considerable amount of speculation, exaggeration, and politically biased interpretation. In reality, the accord does not seem to have the potential to revolutionize the path of China-Iran relations, which has been quite consistent since 1979. -Jacopo Scita, Responsible Statecraft 7/16/20

Will Iranian sea corridor compete with Suez Canal?

Iran has announced a sea corridor for commercial exchange with Russia and India as an alternative to the Egyptian Suez Canal, which raises questions about the impact this corridor will have on one of the main national economic resources in Cairo that has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. -Mohammad Hanafi, Al Monitor 7/16/20

Iran denies 'dropping' India from key railway project

Iran denied an Indian newspaper report that New Delhi was dropped from a key rail project along the border with Afghanistan after it showed reluctance in investing fearing American sanctions. A deputy to Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization, Farhad Montaser, called the story "totally false because Iran has not inked any deal with India regarding the Zahedan-Chabahr" railway. -Al Jazeera 7/16/20

China: World must stop US push to reinstate Iran sanctions, kill JCPOA

China has reaffirmed its firm support for the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and five other world states, calling on the international community to put pressure on the US - which left the deal in 2018 - to abandon a hostile push to reinstate sanctions against Tehran and deal even more blows to the multilateral accord. -Press TV 7/14/20

Defying U.S., China and Iran Near Trade and Military Partnership

Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors, undercutting the Trump administration's efforts to isolate the Iranian government because of its nuclear and military ambitions. -New York Times 7/13/20

Chabahar-Zahedan railway work begins

The track-laying operations of Chabahar-Zahedan railroad was started on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami and Deputy Transport Minister Kheirollah Khademi. As reported by IRNA, the project which is aimed to connect Chabahar to Zahedan (the capital city of southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province) is planned to be completed by the end of the Iranian calendar year of 1400 (March 2022). 7/10/20

Canada should lift sanctions on Iran now

Canada's Liberal government is still sustaining economic sanctions on Iran despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As public health officials now struggle with rising infection rates in what appears to be a second wave in Iran, Canada's sanctions must come to an end. Economic sanctions are hindering the ability of Iran's public healthcare system to deal with the pandemic and have detrimentally impacted public health for years in key areas, including cancer care. -Stefan Christoff, 7/9/20

South Korea releases parts of frozen Iranian funds: Businessman

South Korea has agreed to release a part of funds belonging to Iran and frozen in the country's banks under pressure from the United States, says a businessman leading trade between the two countries. Hossein Tanhayi, who chairs Iran-South Korea Joint Chamber of Commerce, said on Tuesday that the two countries had agreed to use a first installment of the funds for Iran's purchase of drugs and medical equipment. -Press TV 7/8/20

Currency crisis impoverishes Iranians, strains economic defenses

Desperate to afford her daughter's overseas university fees, 58-year-old retired Iranian teacher Maryam Hosseini withdrew all her savings from the bank to buy U.S. dollars. It was not enough. With three years of study still to do, her daughter is heading back home, her future now on hold. Hosseini's tale of growing poverty is an increasingly familiar one among Iranians, who have long bought U.S. dollars to support their children financially or squirrel away savings. -Reuters 7/7/20

Iran's oil storage almost full as sanctions and pandemic weigh

Iran has slashed crude oil production to its lowest level in four decades as storage tanks and vessels are almost completely full due to a fall in exports and refinery run cuts caused by the coronavirus pandemic, industry data showed. -Reuters 7/7/20

Iran Says It Is Negotiating 25-Year Bilateral Deal With China

Iran has been negotiating a 25-year accord with China "with confidence and conviction," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told parliament on July 5, saying its terms will be announced once the deal is struck. Zarif insisted there was nothing secret about the prospective deal, which he said was raised publicly in January 2016 when President Xi Jinping visited Tehran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also has publicly supported a strategic bilateral partnership with China. 7/6/20

Iran rial slides to new low as coronavirus, sanctions weigh

The Iranian rial fell to a new low against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market on Saturday, as the economy comes under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. sanctions. The dollar was offered for as much as 215,500 rials, softening from 208,200 on Friday, according to foreign exchange site -Reuters 7/6/20

US tries to seize Iranian gas heading toward Venezuela

U.S. federal prosecutors are seeking to seize four tankers sailing toward Venezuela with gasoline supplied by Iran, the latest attempt to disrupt ever-closer trade ties between the two heavily sanctioned anti-American allies. -AP 7/3/20

Iran-China strategic partnership deal awaits finalization

Iran and China have agreed to develop a 25-year roadmap for strategic partnership, with the idea first conceived in the 1990s, but the two sides have yet to finalize it for implementation. Relations between Iran and China go as far back as the ancient Silk Road, but they are gaining strategic significance because the West's refusal to work with Iran under the US pressure and its efforts to clip China's wings and stop its economic and political rise is automatically pushing Tehran and Beijing into an alliance of sorts. -Press TV 6/30/20

Foreign Ministry: US sanctions block Iran's access to drugs needed for victims of chemical warfare

Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has once again slammed the United States for imposing 'inhumane' sanctions on the Iranian nation, saying Washington hinders Tehran's access to medicine needed for victims of chemical-weapon attacks and other patients. The Ministry made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday on the occasion of the National Day of Countering Chemical and Microbial Weapons. -Press TV 6/29/20

Pressed by sanctions and coronavirus, can Iranian businesses bounce back?

The pandemic and its consequential economic damages may deliver the final blow to many private companies in Iran. However, the private sector is capable of bouncing back and building a sustainable ecosystem if the government eases bureaucracy, including the unnecessary involvement of numerous parallel regulatory bodies belonging to the Justice Ministry, Intelligence Ministry, and the Culture and Islamic Guidance in every aspect of business. Another huge boon would come if the US sanctions are lifted, as they are equally responsible for depressing Iranian businesses and hurting the welfare of ordinary Iranians. -Mohsen Tavakol, Atlantic Council 6/26/20

US blacklists companies in Iran's metals sector

The United States on Thursday blacklisted four companies in Iran's metals sector, as well as one German and three Emirati subsidiaries of Iran's largest steelmaker that Washington said generate millions of dollars for Tehran's metals industry. -Al Jazeera 6/26/20

Iran to open second largest data center over weekend: Minister

Iran's telecoms minister says a second large-scale data center meant to improve security and sustainability in the cyberspace would come online later this week. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said in a tweet on Wednesday that Iran's first mobile phone operator MCI would launch the data center in the northwestern city of Tabriz on June 28. -Press TV 6/25/20

Iran's Rouhani says national currency's fall is temporary: TV

A further slump in Iran's rial is "temporary", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday after the currency sank to its lowest value in decades. A U.S. dollar was offered for about 205,000 rials on Tuesday, up from 188,200 rials on Friday and 198,000 rials on early Monday, according to foreign exchange site, which tracks the unofficial market. -Reuters 6/23/20

Tehran Ships Food To Venezuela To Establish Country's First Iranian Supermarket

An Iranian cargo ship was expected to dock in Venezuela on June 21 with food that will stock the first Iranian supermarket in the South American country, Iran's embassy in Caracas said. The delivery marks "another success in friendly and fraternal relations between two countries," officials at the embassy announced in a tweet on June 20, which provided no further details. 6/22/20

Iran's currency reaches lowest value ever against the dollar

Iran's currency on Monday dropped to its lowest value ever against the dollar and officials warned Iranian exporters to bring their foreign earnings home from abroad. Money exchange shops briefly traded the Iranian rial 200,000 for a dollar and later in the day, the currency was valued at 198,000 rials against the dollar. The lows were a new record after the rial on Saturday traded at 190,000 for the dollar. -AP 6/22/20

Iran's muddled relationship with cryptocurrency is self-inflicted

On June 2, a member of parliament from Tabriz, Mohammad Hossein Farhangi, urged Iran's Central Bank to take cryptocurrency seriously because of its potential economic opportunities for the country. His statements highlighted that there are several ways through which Iran could benefit from cryptocurrencies. Yet, Iran is not exploring any of them effectively-why not? -Steven Terner, Atlantic Council 6/19/20

Iranian rial drops to lowest rate since September 2018 against dollar

The Iranian rial hit its lowest rate against the dollar since September 2018 on the unofficial market on Thursday, a foreign exchange website reported, amid the worsening economic impact of U.S. sanctions and the new coronavirus outbreak. The dollar was being offered for as much as 188,200 rials, according to website, which tracks the unofficial market. The official rate, cited by the central bank website, is 42,000. -Reuters 6/19/20

Iran rejects U.S. sanctions on Syria, vows to boost trade with ally

Iran on Thursday condemned as inhumane a fresh round of U.S. sanctions against its regional ally Syria and said it would expand its trade ties with Damascus. The United States on Wednesday imposed its toughest sanctions targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to choke off revenue for his government and force it back to U.N.-led negotiations on ending his country's war. -Reuters 6/18/20

Iran Sets Its Sights On LNG Superpower Status

Qatar's recent decision to go ahead with bold plans for the North Dome, its supergiant non-associated gas reservoir, together with corollary deals to secure massive new liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity in its chief target export market, China, has spurred Iran into moving forward with its own long-stalled LNG plans, according to a senior oil and gas industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry. -Simon Watkins, Oil Price 6/17/20

Iran says GDP without oil grew 1.1% in year ending March

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has issued an initial estimate about economic growth in the country over the last calendar year, saying the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country was up 1.1 percent year on year in March 2020 without considering the share of oil revenues in the economy. "The growth of the country's oil-free economy in the year 1398 reached 1.1 percent," said the CBI in a statement published on Monday while reiterating that the figures had been based on fixed prices recorded in fiscal year spanning 2011-2012. 6/16/20

Defying Trump, Iran aims to keep offloading gasoline glut to Venezuela

Iran could send two to three cargoes a month in regular gasoline sales to ally Venezuela, sources say, helping offload domestic oversupply but risking retaliation from U.S. President Donald Trump who has sanctions on both nations. -Reuters 6/16/20

Iran's Coronavirus Fight Collides With U.S. Sanctions

Iran was among the earliest countries to suffer a major Covid-19 outbreak, and now is one of the first to suffer a resurgence... As the virus spread, though, governments elsewhere also proved slow to grasp the threat and other leaders fell ill or were exposed to the virus. Yet the Islamic Republic remains unique in one way: It's dealing with the pandemic while under some of the most damaging sanctions in history, and is trying to leverage the crisis to get them lifted. -Marc Champion & Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 6/15/20

Iran's Knowledge-based companies to raise annual sales to $35 billion

Knowledge-based companies in Iran sold products worth 1,200 trillion rials (about $28 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials) in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended on March 19), while the figure is projected to rise to 1,500 billion rials (about $35 billion) in the current year, said Sourena Sattari, Vice President for Science and Technology. 6/11/20

Iran, Iraq reach initial deal on building 354km highway: Minister

Iran's minister of transportation says an initial deal has been reached with the neighboring Iraq to build a long highway that would ease traffic across the border and would help boost trade between the two neighboring countries. Mohammad Eslami said on Wednesday that the 354-kilometer highway would connect the city of Mehran on the western Iranian border to the holy city of Najaf in central Iraq. 6/11/20

Former Deputy Mayor Of Tehran Being Tried For Billion-Dollar Corruption

Forty court hearings have been so far held in the trial of former Tehran Deputy Mayor, Issa Sharifi on charges of corruption, the spokesman of the Islamic Republic Judiciary, disclosed on Tuesday, June 9. Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili said the hearings, with eleven defendants, are underway in the Armed Forces Judicial Court. He stopped short of identifying the other suspects but promised that the judge would soon issue a verdict. 6/10/20

Iran's 'butterfly children' impacted by sanctions and corruption

Described by US dermatologists as "the most painful disease you've never heard of," EB is caused by a genetic mutation and occurs in every 1 in 30,000 to 50,000 live births globally. Characterised by extreme fragility of the skin and mechanically induced blistering, EB patients are often referred to as 'butterfly children' because their skin appears as delicate as that of a butterfly wing. There is no cure. -Shenaz Kermalli, Atlantic Council 6/10/20

Iran economy to return to positive growth zone in 2021: WB report

A new report by the World Bank Group has projected that Iran would be able to restore its positive economic growth next year despite pressures felt as a result of the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic and sanctions imposed by the United States. The World Bank said in its June 2020 flagship report titled the Global Economic Prospect and published on Tuesday that Iran would see its gross domestic product (GDP) shrink again this year by 5.3 percent, up from minus 8.2 percent in 2019. -Press TV 6/10/20

Iran Pushes South Korea to Release Billions Withheld by Banks

Iran is escalating its pressure on South Korea to release billions of dollars of oil-export revenue, arguing that Seoul is buckling to pressure from its U.S. ally and illegally withholding funds needed to counter the Middle East's worst coronavirus outbreak. Abdolnaser Hemmati, the head of the Central Bank of Iran, said the actions of banks in South Korea were preventing Iran from using the money to buy foods and medicines, trade that's exempt from U.S. sanctions. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 6/10/20

'Maximum pressure' on Iran has failed to achieve both its stated and real goals, experts say

"The fundamental problem with U.S. policy toward Iran has been a ridiculous inflation of Iran's importance to the United States," said Jarrett Blanc, former State Department coordinator for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran nuclear deal, under the Obama administration. "You don't have to excuse a variety of genuinely problematic Iranian policies to say 'this is not actually a particular threat to the United States.' The way in which it becomes a threat to the United States is largely through our own mistakes." -Sam Fraser, Responsible Statecraft 6/9/20

US enforces sanctions on Iran's shipping network expected to hinder imports of food, medical supplies

The United States has activated a set of sanctions it imposed on Iran's shipping network six months ago, in a move expected to further hamper imports of food and medical supplies into Iran at a time when the country is fighting to contain a deadly coronavirus outbreak. -Press TV 6/9/20

Coronavirus Cuts Iran's GDP by 15 Percent

Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Farhad Dejpasand said coronavirus pandemic has caused the country's gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink 15 percent, IRNA reported. Speaking in an open session of the parliament on Sunday, Dejpasand stressed that the government should look for new strategies to stimulate demand in order to improve the domestic economy. 6/8/20

Webinar: Iran in the International System

Heinz Gartner and Mitra Shahmoradi discuss their recent book Iran in the International System: Iran between Great Powers and Great Ideas (Routledge, January 2020). Drawing on Iran's history and its relations with great powers and its regional neighbors, this book addresses the question of how much continuity and/or change there is in Iranian international relations since the Iranian revolution. -Program in Iranian Studies, Stanford 6/8/20

Fearsome Prosecutor Of Journalists Accused Of Taking Bribes, Flees Iran

During a corruption trial in Iran on Sunday a prosecutor known for the mass arrest of journalists in 2013 was named as the recipient of 500,000 euros in bribes from the defendant. Gholamreza Mansouri issued arrest warrants for 20 journalists in a single day on February 8, 2013. On his orders, security forces raided offices of various newspapers to arrest the accused including at least two chief editors. According to the representative of the prosecutor during the trial on Sunday, Mansouri has fled the country. His whereabouts are unknown. 6/8/20

Iran Sanctions Case Being Dropped by U.S. Despite Conviction

In a rare move, federal prosecutors are seeking to withdraw a criminal case against an Iranian banker who was convicted of violating U.S. sanctions. Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, 40, was found guilty in March of helping to funnel $115 million through the U.S. financial system to Iranian entities from a construction project in Venezuela. -Bloomberg 6/8/20

Iran tightens currency control by setting cap on carrying foreign cash

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has imposed a cap on how much individuals can carry foreign cash amid efforts meant to stabilize the foreign currency market in the country. The CBI said in a Sunday statement that it had ordered the banks and credit institutions across the country to process requests by individuals who want to declare carrying sums above 10,000 euros or their equivalents in other foreign currencies. -Press TV 6/8/20

Politics hinder growth in Iran's poultry sector

Iran could be a poultry production power house, with Iranian poultry farmers having the potential to boost exports to 500,000 tons of meat per year, but sanctions and national politics remain an invincible obstacle on this path. Recently this culminated in birds being killed due to lack of feedstuffs entering the country. -Poultry World 6/4/20

The legacy of the Iraq sanctions regime is alive and well in US foreign policy today

The economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations Security Council, from 1990 to 2003, may well lay claim to be the worst humanitarian catastrophe ever imposed in the name of global governance. The unconscionable human damage done by those sanctions is routinely dismissed as the unintended consequence of a well-intentioned policy from the past, which has since given way to more nuanced and humane measures. But in fact, the Iraq sanctions program is the template for the systemic, devastating sanctions we see in place today applied in a subtler and more circuitous form - although Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran is neither subtle nor circuitous. -Joy Gordon, Responsible Statecraft 6/4/20

Iran turns to bonds to solve budget crisis

The Iranian government opted in mid May to issue domestic bonds to fill the enormous budget deficit that is expected in the current year. The plan is to sell a total of 2,400 trillion rials in new bonds (equal to about $13.5 billion at the free market rate). Incidentally, the current state budget already included the issuance of 900 trillion rials in domestic bonds and the government plans to secure the approval for an additional 1,500 trillion from the Economic Coordination Council to use the same tool to fill the expected budget deficit. Yet what the overall impact will this policy have on the country's economy? -Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monitor 6/4/20

Iran signs new deal with Iraq for export of electricity

Iran and Iraq have agreed on a two-year contract for supply of Iranian electricity to the Arab country as the neighbors keep deepening energy ties despite American sanctions that forbid such exchanges. Iranian state-news agency IRNA said late on Wednesday that Iran's Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian and Iraqi minister of electricity Majid Mahdi Hantoush had signed a two-year contract for export of Iranian electricity to Iraq. -Press TV 6/4/20

Rouhani: EU must take stand against illegal US moves against Iran

President Hassan Rouhani has once again censured the unilateral American sanctions that are disrupting imports of medical supplies into Iran, renewing a call for the European Union to take a stand against such illegal US moves. "The Americans have taken the health of 83 million Iranians hostage by imposing cruel sanctions [on them] and preventing the transfer of medicine and essentials to Iran" at a difficult time when a coronavirus outbreak has hit the country, Rouhani said in a phone conversation with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto on Tuesday. 6/3/20

Huawei hid business operation in Iran after Reuters reported links to CFO

China's Huawei Technologies acted to cover up its relationship with a firm that had tried to sell prohibited U.S. computer gear to Iran, after Reuters in 2013 reported deep links between the firm and the telecom-equipment giant's chief financial officer, newly obtained internal Huawei documents show. -Reuters 6/3/20

Regional initiative for locust infestation

A trilateral plan among Iran, Pakistan and India is being formulated to address locust swarm infestations that devour crops and threaten the livelihood and sustenance in the region, already struggling with coronavirus pandemic. The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering one square kilometer can contain up to 80 million locusts. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said on Friday there was an increased risk along both sides of India-Pakistan border. 6/2/20

Venezuelan President Says He Will Visit Iran To Sign Energy Agreements

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he will visit Iran shortly to sign cooperation agreements in energy and other sectors after Iran sent five fuel tankers to the South American country. "I am obliged to go to personally thank the people," Maduro said on June 1 in an address broadcast on state television. He did not provide a date for his visit to the Islamic Republic. -RFE/RL 6/2/20

Goldman's Eccentric Couch-Surfing Trader Plans a Credit Fund

Not many Goldman Sachs partners seek out citizenship in a tiny Caribbean island to speed through airports. Ali Meli wasn't your typical Goldman partner. Couch-surfing inside the investment bank, an almost $US10 million ($15 million) pay cheque as a junior trader and clashing with peers are all parts of the legend of Meli, described by colleagues as an unlikely figure in Wall Street's most elite club: Abrasive but brilliant, subversive but successful, and above all one of its most "eccentric" figures. -Sridhar Natarajan, Bloomberg 6/1/20

Second Iranian Oil Tanker Arrives At Venezuela's Largest Refinery

A second Iranian tanker carrying gasoline and oil derivatives has arrived at crisis-stricken Venezuela's main oil refinery, amid escalating tensions between Washington and the two U.S.-sanctioned countries. The Forest docked at the Paraguana refinery complex in northwest Falcon state on May 26, Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami wrote on Twitter, also sharing photos of the vessel at the dock. 5/27/20

Iran-China trade falls 40% in first 4 months of 2020 yr/yr

Based on the data released by the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China, Iranian imports from the Asian country reached $2.92 billion in the January-April period, indicating a three percent rise compared to the same time span in 2019. The exports to China, however, fell 61 percent to stand at $2.34 billion. 5/26/20

Venezuela celebrates docking of tanker with Iran gasoline

Venezuelan authorities celebrated Monday as the first of five Iranian tankers loaded with gasoline docked in the South American country, delivering badly needed fuel to the crisis-stricken nation that sits atop the world's largest oil reserves. The gasoline shipments are arriving in defiance of stiff sanctions by the Trump administration against both nations, and they mark a new era in the burgeoning relationship between Venezuela and Iran, which is expanding its footprint in the Western Hemisphere. -AP 5/26/20

Tehran Real-Estate Survey

The Statistical Center of Iran has published its latest report on home and land prices as well as rents in the capital city Tehran during the fourth quarter of the last Iranian year (Dec. 22, 2019-March 19), the winter season of fiscal 2019-20. -Financial Tribune 5/26/20

First Iranian Tanker 'Fortune' Reaches Venezuelan Coast Escorted by Bolivarian Armed Forces

Iran has sent five ocean-going tankers loaded with an estimated 1.53 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela, a move that has reportedly received threats from Washington. Tehran, in response, promised "retaliation" if the US moves to act against the ships. The first of five Iranian fuel tankers, the 'Fortune', entered the Venezuelan exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on late Saturday, according to data from Refiniv Eikon. -Sputnik 5/25/20

Why Iran has the world's best-performing stockmarket

There seems to be no end to Iran's suffering. It has struggled with one of the world's worst outbreaks of covid-19. As it opens back up there are signs that it is being hit by a powerful second wave. Last year the economy shrank by almost 8%. It may do worse this year. American sanctions had largely cut if off from the global market. The coronavirus has just about finished the job. Yet, somehow, the Iranian stockmarket is booming. -Economist 5/22/20

Turkey eyes leverage as it drags feet on Iran gas pipeline repairs

Turkey is delaying the completion of repairs to the Iran-Turkey gas pipeline, which was blown up at the end of March, in an apparent attempt both to curry favor with Washington and to pressure Tehran to reduce its prices, according to industry sources. Register Now Flows through the pipeline were halted early on March 31 following an explosion. -S&P Global 5/22/20

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