EU and US conflicted over Iran sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 16 August - Last week, US sanctions on Iran came back into force, fulfilling a promise that Donald Trump made in May when he pulled the US out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump tweeted: “Anyone doing business with Iran will not be doing business with the United States.”

On the same day, the EU instituted a “blocking statute”, which was supposed to protect any European firms doing business with Iran from current and future US sanctions. In fact, it bars any EU individual or company from complying with US secondary sanctions, which means that European firms who still wish to trade with the US are being penalised. It also allows EU firms affected by the sanctions to sue the US, but there is no method in place to reclaim any settlement.

Iran Protests

Iran Focus

London, 14 August - The Trump administration is keen to put an end to the Iran threat. Before even becoming president, Trump had criticised the weak Iran nuclear deal and said that he would scrap it. Although it took a while to do, Trump finally announced in May that the United States was exiting the one-sided deal. And since then the administration has been putting the Iranian regime under intense pressure.

It has been two years since the sanctions were lifted and now they have been re-applied. Iran had a real chance to get back into the global arena and Western companies certainly took the opportunity to make some money in Iran.


Iran Focus

London, 6 August - Iran is expected to take a series of actions this week designed to show strength at home and abroad, as nationwide protest rage on, the economy continues to fall, and US sanctions roll back into place.

An uprising that began in December has taken on new life in recent weeks as the Iranian people have taken to the street for strikes and rallies on a daily basis to protest the Government’s corruption and mismanagement that has caused so many crises in Iran.

One man in Karaj was shot dead for protesting against the failing economy, while hundreds were arrested in many cities from Eshtehard to Arak.

Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran

Iran Focus

London, 14 August - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, delivered a speech on Monday 13th August. It was clear to see that he does not see any way out of the desperate situation.

For the past few weeks, the country’s national currency – the rial – has been sharply falling. The more its value decreases, it seems that the people’s anger increases. Protests have been continuing and the uprising and unrest is getting stronger.

The Supreme Leader has been silent over the past few weeks, but he finally broke it by trying to encourage and persuade the country’s leadership that the situation is not as desperate as it appears. He said: “They are propagating viciously that the country has reached a deadlock and it has no way out other than to seek refuge from this Satan or Great Satan. Whoever states that we have reached a deadlock, he is either ignorant or his words are treacherous.”

Fresh protests in Iran could soon spell Mullahs’ overthrown

Iran Focus

London, 4 August - Fresh protests broke out across Iran on Thursday in response to the failing economy, the drastic devaluation of the rial, and yet more economic problems ahead of returning US sanctions.

About 100 people took to the streets in Sari, northern Iran, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, as well as unspecified numbers in the cities of Shiraz, Ahvaz and Mashhad. IRNA reported that these protests were broken up by police.

This follows on from protests on Tuesday and Wednesday, when 200 people took part in a protest in Karaj, west of Tehran. Videos posted on social media, which were said to be filmed in Gohardasht, a suburb of Karaj, showed protesters shouting “Death to the dictator” as they set fire to police vehicles. The police were seen spraying the protesters with tear gas.


Iran Focus

London, 13 August - Protesters in Iran have taken to the streets yet again to voice their anger at the government’s “widespread corruption, crippling inflation, and injustice”, which have caused the current crises in the country and reject the mullahs’ claims that the US is to blame for Iran’s economic woes.

Murad, an electrician from Tehran, bravely told the Daily Telegraph that Iranians are no longer “blaming the president of a foreign country” and are directing their anger solely at the government. He did not give his last name, due to the dangers associated with speaking to the foreign press.

Iran protests

Iran Focus

London, 3 August - Protests continued across Iran on Tuesday night as striking workers and the impoverished people refused to leave the streets, where they were demonstrating against a failing economy and the Regime as a whole, after the rial’s sudden loss in. value over the weekend.

In the past six months, the rial’s value has dropped by more than 120%, while the cost of living has shot up and the country has been plagued by water shortages and power outages.

Iran: Ahmadinejad says Rouhani must go

Iran Focus

London, 11 August - Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said publically that he thinks current President Hassan Rouhani must leave office.

After days of increased protest by the people of Iran, Ahmadinejad posted a video on his Telegram social media account on Thursday, where he explained that Rouhani is unfit for public office.

He said: “Your continued presence is at the expense of the country.”

Germany's Deutsche Bundesbank

Iran Focus

London, 3 August - Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, passed a new financial policy on Wednesday that will effectively bar the transfer of nearly $400 million in cash to Iran.

The German daily newspaper, BILD, reported in July that Iran wanted to use the European-Iranian trade bank to transfer the nearly $400 million in cash to circumvent pending US sanctions. Now it has reported that the bank expanded its business conditions to include a section on "cash payment transfers" in order to reject financial transfers of partners of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Religious School Attacked During Iran Protests

Iran Focus

London, 10 August - A religious school in northern Iran was attacked on Friday, as the popular people’s protest continued to grow in size and scale in Iran.

About 500 protesters attacked the seminary in the province of Alborz by hurling stones at the building, which led to several arrests by the state security forces, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency on Saturday.

Protests rocked major cities across Iran this weekend, including Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad, as the people continue to express their anger at the failing economy and corrupt politicians.

US Secretary Mike Pompeo

Iran Focus

London, 3 August - The Trump administration has put high-level corruption in Iran under the spotlight as they increase their efforts to undermine the mullahs’ rule in Tehran.

US Secretary Mike Pompeo recently called the mullahs “hypocritical holy men” in front of an Iranian-American audience in California, who applauded his assessment.

On July 22, he said: “The Iranian economy is going great but only if you’re a politically connected member of the elite.”

European commission

Iran Focus

London, 10 August - On Tuesday, the European commission used to maintain trade with Tehran and convince it to abide by the 2015 nuclear deal despite US withdrawal. In response to US President Trump’s sanctions on Iran, it is using a “blocking statute” that shields EU businesses from the effects of US sanctions and gives any firm hit by them the right to claim compensation.

The commission declared that it “forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorized to do so.”

According to Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, firms “should comply with European legislation rather than with American ones.”


Iran Focus

London, 2 August - Donald Trump suggested on Tuesday that diplomatic talks with the leaders of Iran were imminent, but the Iranian Regime has dismissed and criticised the idea, with one lawmaker calling the proposed negotiations a "humiliation".

Trump, who has previously said that he would meet the Iranian leaders at "any time" with no preconditions, told a rally in Tampa, Florida, that he had a feeling that the talks would occur “pretty soon”, but that even if they didn’t, that was still okay.

Trump then addressed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which he withdrew from in May, due to concerns that Iran had been cheating on the deal and that it did not address all of Iran’s malign behaviour.


Iran Focus

London, 9 August - August 6th was the deadline for the first round of U.S. sanctions that target companies who continue to do business in Iran following the U.S. exit from the nuclear deal with Iran.

U.S. President Trump announced that the U.S. would exit the Iran Nuclear Deal, also known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) in May 2018. He also issued a National Security Memorandum ordering several government institutions, including the Treasury Department, to prepare the framework for reimposing sanctions on both U.S. and international companies operating in Iran.

Donald Trump And John Bolton

Iran Focus

London, 2 August - While campaigning for the American presidency, Donald Trump made a bold pledge on Iran’s prisoner taking, “This doesn't happen if I'm president!”

Still, over a year into his presidency, Iran holds at least five U.S. citizens and permanent residents’ prisoner, including one taken during Trump’s tenure.

Although the White House declined to comment, the State Department claimed that the United States works “tirelessly” to free Americans held in Iran.

Iranians continuing to take to the street

Iran Focus

London, 7 August - The people of Iran are deeply concerned about the economic future of Iran. They are suffering from the rising prices that are making the essentials unaffordable to many. The value of the rial – Iran’s national currency – has fallen sharply in the past few weeks.

Reports from inside Iran indicate that the protests are turning violent, with police cars and tyres being burned in the street. There were also reports highlighting that at least one protester has been killed in recent days. Details, however, are very hard to come by as the state media is heavily controlled and prevented from publicising information that shows the government in a negative light.

Iranian people continue their water shortage protest

Iran Focus

London, 31 July - Every day, Iranian farmers drove their tractors to the entrance of Varzaneh town, stopping their vehicles next to the canal that once watered their crops, but has been dry for years, and protests against the government’s mismanagement of the water shortages.

One farmer, Mostafa Benvidi, chanted: “We are the people. Help the people. At night they go to bed hungry!”

Many demonstrators hold up signs with the names of officials that they blame for the crisis during their protest.

Growing protests in Iran; people pushed to breaking point

Iran Focus

London, 6 August - On Sunday, the Iranian people had been protesting for six days straight against the Mullahs’ Government that has destroyed the Iranian economy.

The Iranian people have been telling the world for a long time that the Government’s corruption and mismanagement has caused many problems in their country, from a lack of jobs to high food prices to severe water shortages. They advise that the Government spends the people’s money on foreign adventurism across the Middle East (i.e. Syria, Lebanon, Yemen), while ignoring problems at home. This negligence has caused the people to take to the streets, despite the threats of violence from the Government’s security forces and the risk of imprisonment or execution.

Iran won’t close the Strait of Hormuz

Iran Focus

London, 27 July - US-Iran relations are at an all-time low after their presidents’ war of words last weekend, but could this really lead to Iran cutting off a key oil shipping strait?

On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened the US with “to the mother of all wars”, to which Donald Trump responded with an all-caps tweet warning Iran not to threaten the US ever again.

Their exchanges have only intensified since the US pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May and promised extensive sanctions against Iran, the first of which come into place next week.


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