10222018Mon

U.S. Sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 21 Oct - The second round of U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil exports and international banking operations will be ineffective, claims the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Abdolnasser Hemmati.

However, the first round of sanctions that followed the United States' exit from the nuclear deal with Iran had a devastating impact. The second round is expected to increase the impact on Iran’s rising unemployment and poverty.

The next round of sanctions, beginning in early November, targets Iran's oil exports, among other important aspects of its economy.

Iran-FATF

Iran Focus

London, 20 Oct - Iran is among the cases scheduled to be reviewed in this week’s FATF (Financial Action Task Force) summit. More than 800 officials representing 204 jurisdictions, the IMF, UN, World Bank and others came to Paris for FATF Week to discuss the global combat of financing terrorism. Meanwhile, factions within Iran argue whether the Islamic Republic should join the FATF or not.

FATF Week began on Sunday, October 14th, and continues through Friday, October 19th. Important issues to protect the integrity of the global financial system, and to improve safety and security across the world, are on the agenda. Three out of the four laws that are necessary to avoid being black listed by the global anti-money laundering body, are still unclear.

Iranian Brain Drain Leaves the Country

Iran Focus

London, 14 Oct - “Brain drain” is defined as the emigration of highly trained or intelligent people from a particular country. Highly educated experts and at least 64 percent of Iranian students, including the winners of the Olympiad and the national math competition, have left the country during the past 14 years.

Former minister of transportation, and head of Engineering Organization Ahmad Khoram revealed that Iran loses about 150 billion dollars each year to brain drain. In June 2018, Khoram told the state-run ISNA news agency, “UNESCO says that 150,000 intellectuals leave Iran every year. The government spends one million dollars for every university graduate student before the student can enter the work cycle of the country. Thus, we lose 150 thousand million dollars per year and nobody cares.”

Ali Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani

Iran Focus

London, 20 Oct - Iran is currently facing their biggest challenge to date – reimposed US sanctions – and they are looking for any allies to help them evade the impact of this.

The mullahs have crafted a plan with three objectives:

• Make sure Iranian oil exports can finance “essential expenditure”, i.e. salaries of civil service and military personnel

• Ensure that there is enough foreign currency in the domestic market to slow down the fall of the national currency and avoid inflation

• Make sure that crucial items, i.e. industrial parts to keep major factories going, remain available

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague

Iran Focus

London, 5 Oct - Iran failed on Wednesday to persuade the highest court in the United Nations to overturn the punishing economic sanctions from the US that are bringing the Iranian economy to a grinding halt.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, whom Iran appealed to in July, has left most of the nuclear sanctions in place, only ordering the US to lift sanctions that affect imports of medicine, food and civilian aircraft parts.

Twitter

Iran Focus

London, 19 Oct - Iran has tried to follow suit with Russia’s social media campaign to provide false information over social media, albeit in a more clumsy manner.

Social media giant Twitter released data showing the activity of the two nations on its platform earlier this week. There were over two million images and 10 million tweets. Iran was responsible for more than one million tweets and hundreds of profiles.

Twitter called on experts and analysts to look into the data it had released in its efforts to understand just how the two countries were able to misuse the platform on such a large scale.

Iran’s Striking Truck Drivers

Iran Focus

London, 3 Oct - Some of Iran’s leading prosecutors have threatened the country’s striking truck drivers with execution, according to state-run media.

On September 30th, the strike entered its second week. The truck drivers are protesting what they call “terrible working conditions”. They are demanding better pay, pensions, and stronger trade unions, as well as government subsidies to buy such things as tires and expensive parts that must be imported.

US-EU-Iran

Iran Focus

London, 19 Oct - Tensions are rising between the US and the EU over the issue of Iran sanctions – Europe has announced a “special purpose vehicle” to evade US sanctions and the US has threatened to blacklist any company that uses it – but they need to come back together to fight the real and present danger of the Iranian Regime.

Europe's special purpose vehicle to handle transactions between Iranian and European companies will not help evade sanctions on the Iranian Regime. First, no company wants to be blacklisted by the US and face all of the problems that brings.

Europe still trying to find loophole on Iran sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 3 Oct - Almost five months after Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord, the countries still party to the deal are becoming increasingly desperate to find loopholes to the US sanctions on Iran.

While a second lot of US sanctions on Iran, this time targeting its oil industry and central bank, will come into place on November 5 and it doesn’t seem likely that any country or company will get the sanctions waivers they desire, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has written that he will allow the five other countries (the UK, Germany, France, Russia, and China) a “short grace period” to offset these sanctions. This came after a meeting between the six nations at the UN General Assembly.

Twitter Logo

Iran Focus

London, 18 Oct - Earlier this year, Twitter had to suspend 770 accounts for engaging in “coordinated manipulation” that appeared to originate in Iran. According to research published on Wednesday, the accounts were made to appear as those of foreign journalists and concerned U.S. citizens, and were being used to spread political propaganda.

YouTube, which is co-owned by Facebook and Google similarly spotted and took down Iranian content, some of which had been linked to state-owned media, according to an analysis by FireEye, a security firm that first uncovered the activity.

Sinopec Corp

Iran Focus

London, 1 Oct - As China’s state refiner, Sinopec Corp, comes under intense pressure from Washington to comply with a U.S. ban on Iranian oil from November, people with knowledge of the matter said that the company is halving loadings of crude oil from Iran this month.

Volumes were not specifically identified, but based on the prevailing supply contract between the top Chinese refiner and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), its loadings would be reduced to about 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) — 20 percent of China’s average daily imports from Iran in 2017.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei

Iran Focus

London, 17 Oct - In a document published on his official website, his vision for the Islamic Republic in the year 2065 was outlined by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The document is officially called the "Islamic-Iranian Blueprint for Progress" (IIBP), and according to Khamenei, "has laid the main foundations and ideals of progress and has drafted the ideal horizon of the country for the five decades to come."

A New Strike by Iranian Truckers

Iran Focus

London, 28 Sep - Another nationwide strike by Iranian truck drivers has begun in protest of rising costs. A few months ago, a trucker’s strike drew international support and caused shortages at gas stations.

On Wednesday, video clips were posted online showing trucks idle in at least six regions: Ahvaz, Ardabil, Borujerd, Qazvin, Shahreza and Urmia. It has been verified that this is the fourth consecutive day of reports of the widespread strike by truckers in Iran.

The truckers are protesting low wages, which they see as unfair in light of the rapidly rising costs for parts and supplies.

Iran teachers strike

Iran Focus

London, 17 Oct - Teachers across Iran went on strike on October 14 and 15, holding sit-ins at their schools to demand better pay and conditions and an end to the detention of education activists. They are also demanding equal access to education for all Iranian children.

Social media has been flooded with pictures of striking teachers from all over Iran, including Amol, Eslam Abad, Garmeh, Gonabad, Hamadan, Ilam, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Marivan, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Sarvabad, Semirom, Tabriz, Torbat Heidarieh, Yasouj, Zarin Shahr, and Tehran, all using the hashtags #nationwide teachers' sit-in, #teachers_sitin and #nationwide_strike.. The videos and photos being shared show teachers holding up placards and banners with their demands on them.

Trump at U.N. General Assembly

Iran Focus

London, 26 Sep - On Tuesday 25th September, the U.S. President Donald Trump and several top officials in his administration spoke out about Iran and warned that Iran would have to deal with serious consequences if its belligerence continued.

President Trump spoke about Iran’s corrupt leadership, describing it as a dictatorship, and slammed Iranian officials for stealing wealth from the country. Trump also promised that he would continue to isolate Iran through the use of sanctions that are being put back into place after the U.S. exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

President of Iran at the United Nations

Iran Focus

London, 26 Sep - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani predictably accused the United States of breaking the law and trying to overthrow his government during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, before rejecting bilateral talks and insulting Donald Trump, even if he was too scared to name him.

While Rouhani was still mid-speech, US National Security Adviser John Bolton issued remarks that doubled down on Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal, which Bolton called "the worst diplomatic debacle in American history", and dismissed any entreaties from Tehran.

Iran’s oil

Iran Focus

London, 14 Oct - According to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, India has decided to continue buying Iranian oil, and to purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system, just days after President Trump warned that New Delhi may be facing punitive measures. Responding to questions on reports that India will continue to purchase oil from Iran after November 4th, Nauert said this was "not helpful".

Following Trump's decision to exit the 2015 multilateral deal that eased global sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's suspected nuclear programmes and malign activities, the US seeks to reduce Iran’s oil imports to zero by the November 4th deadline.

European leaders

Iran Focus

London, 26 Sep - Back in May, shortly after Donald Trump had pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, a senior US official told EU diplomats to stop trying to protect EU investment in Iran.

Now, just six weeks before the second wave of US sanctions hits, European diplomats are admitting that he was right, noting that the EU has failed to create a workable legal shield for its companies in Iran that will evade US sanctions.

Indeed, many companies including Total, Moller-Maersk, Peugeot, Renault, Air France, British Airways, Deutsche Telekom and Airbus have already pulled out and EU-Iranian trade is expected to fall well below its current $2.35 billion a month once sanctions on Iranian oil come into play.

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