Iran (June 29, 2020)
Why Iran won’t be broken
By Pepe Escobar
June 26, 2020
„[…] China, Russia and Iran are the three key nodes of Eurasia integration. Politically and diplomatically, their key decisions tend to be taken in concert. So it’s no wonder that was reiterated last week in Moscow at the meeting of Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Javad Zarif – who get along famously. […]“
„[…] Additional conversations with Iranian analysts reveal how they interpret the regional geopolitical chessboard, calibrating the importance of the axis of resistance (Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Hezbollah) in comparison with two other fronts: the US and its “stooges” (the House of Saud, UAE, Egypt), the master – Israel – and also Turkey and Qatar, which, like Iran, but unlike the “stooges”, favor political Islam (but of the Sunni variety, that is, the Moslem Brotherhood). […]“
„[…] Another key foreign policy front is Venezuela. Tehran’s soft power, in quite a spectacular manner keenly observed all across the Global South, de facto ridiculed Washington’s sanctions/blockade in its own Monroe Doctrine “backyard”, when five Iranian tankers loaded with gasoline successfully crossed the Atlantic and were received by a Venezuelan military escort of jets, helicopters, and naval patrols. […]“
Iranian Tankers & the Age of Interdiction
Two forms of interdiction — the steady expansion of U.S. sanctions and our stunning drift toward unmasked censorship — have begun to intersect.
By Patrick Lawrence
June 22, 2020
„Over the weekend, a sixth Iranian cargo ship entered Venezuelan waters and is due to dock shortly. It follows a convoy of five Iranian tankers laden with gasoline to supply Venezuelan refineries. The freight this time, according to the Iranian embassy in Caracas, is humanitarian aid — food. There are unconfirmed reports the ship also carries spare parts for refineries in need of repairs.
Earlier last week, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that Mexico would sell gasoline to Venezuela for humanitarian reasons were Caracas to ask for assistance. The Maduro government has so far made no such request. […]“
Pompeo’s UN Move Against Iran Will Fail. Why Is He Still Pressing It?
Moon of Alabama
June 24, 2020
„[…] With Iran’s influence growing and Russia making inroads even with once staunch U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia it seems that real U.S. influence in the Middle East is on a decisive downturn.
Whatever Pompous Pompeo says or tweets will not change that. But there’s a sucker born every minute. Some of those may still fall for the stuff he says.“
Pressed by sanctions and coronavirus, can Iranian businesses bounce back?
By Mohsen Tavakol
The Atlantic Council
June 24, 2020
„There are currently no reliable, updated statistics on the coronavirus pandemic’s medium and long-term impact on businesses in Iran. […] The International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts the inflation rate in Iran at 34.2 percent, the GDP growth rate at -6 percent, and unemployment at 16.3 percent in 2020. […]“
Iran’s Defense Spending
By Henry Rome
United States Institute of Peace
June 17, 2020
„Between 2015 and 2019, Iran annually spent 4 percent to 5 percent—or $18 billion to $22 billion—of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. Defense spending was around $18.4 billion in 2019, although the precise value is contested, given the opacity of the Iranian system and disagreements over what funding constitute defense spending, as reflected in these different estimates for 2019: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated $12.6 billion; The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) estimated $17.4 billion; and The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reported $20.7 billion. […]“
Reviving the revolutionaries: How Trump’s maximum pressure is shifting Iran’s domestic politics
By Ellie Geranmayeh
Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa programme
The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
June 23, 2020
„SUMMARY: Europeans wish to persuade Iran to compromise on strategic issues – but, unless they understand the dynamics of domestic Iranian politics, they will not get far.
Three main power blocs compete to influence Iran’s supreme leader, including the ‘modernisers’, who were instrumental in building the case internally for the nuclear deal. The US ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has placed them on the back foot.
Improving the economy remains the most pressing issue in Iran. Without a Western economic offer, the other two power blocs – the conservative ‘Principlists’ and IRGC-linked ‘securocrats’ – will continue their recent ascendancy and press for a confrontational ‘maximum resistance’ response.
Immediately after the US presidential election, Europeans should embark on shuttle diplomacy with Washington and Tehran to agree an interim deal on the nuclear issue. This could also strengthen modernisers ahead of Iran’s own presidential race in 2021.“
What explains the decline of Iran’s moderates? It’s not Trump
By Ali Fathollah-Nejad and Amin NaeniMonday
June 15, 2020
„[…] How does the weakening of the moderate establishment impact Iranian foreign policy, particularly relations with Washington? It’s tempting to presume that the rise of Iranian hardliners will intensify U.S.-Iran tensions, as “voices against the deal in Iran will strengthen, and those who favor a more confrontational policy toward Washington will once again have the wind in their sails.” However, this assumes that the nuclear deal — a major diplomatic breakthrough that pulled the relationship back from the brink of war — was driven to a significant degree by Iran’s moderates. That’s a superficial read of Iranian internal dynamics; in fact, in many instances Tehran’s factional differences serve a utilitarian purpose in foreign policy. As an outgoing moderate member of parliament recently acknowledged, hardliners’ harsh protests against Rouhani’s détente policy were deployed to assist Tehran in obtaining greater concessions under the deal. And it should not be forgotten that Iran and the U.S. started secret negotiations in Oman in November 2011, precisely when hardliners controlled both the presidency and parliament. The bottom line is that the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy is not determined by its president, particularly in the context of U.S.-Iran relations. Echoing this point, Ali Motahari, a self-described nonpartisan and longtime member of parliament who was not permitted to run in the recent election, admitted that “Iran is under unprecedented pressure” and argued that “hardliners, by taking power, probably will agree with relations with the United States.” […]“
Understanding U.S- Iran relations
By Hashim Abid
Foreign Policy News
June 16, 2020
„The US-Iranian relationship over the years has been much misunderstood by many. Reality is that Iran and the United States are not really “enemies” as the media portrays it to be, however, this does not mean that they are friends either. Instead the two are frenemies who require each other’s assistance regarding each one’s interests. For the last forty years, Iran along with Saudi Arabia and Israel-has safeguarded American interests in the region. Especially the Persian Gulf, where Saudi Arabia and Iran have continued to aid US interests in the region, which was part of the twin pillar policy. Although the twin pillar policy has been obsolete since Shah’s disposal, the reality, however, tells a different story that Iran continues to safeguard US interests. […]“
Iran ‘categorically’ deplores IAEA resolution, vows ‘appropriate action’
June 19, 2020
„[…] The resolution was passed by 25 votes in favor, two against, with seven abstentions: South Africa, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and Niger. Russia and China, two other permanent members of the UN Security Council and signatories to the JCPOA, voted against. In a post on his Twitter account, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov called on Iran and the IAEA to settle issues pertaining to the two nuclear sites „without delay.“ „We believe that the resolution can be counter productive,“ he tweeted. The Chinese diplomatic mission to the IAEA also warned on Twitter that the resolution could have „huge implications“ for the future of the JCPOA.“
NPT safeguards agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran
Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors on 19 June 2020
New tensions dim hopes for salvaging Iran nuclear deal
By Richard Stone
June 17, 2020
„[…] Despite the nuclear deal’s slow-motion collapse, observers don’t expect Iran to open up the throttle on its program—at least not before the U.S. elections in November. If Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins, the next administration “may try to resurrect some form of the JCPOA,” Stricker says. “And the Iranians would probably want to test and see what they can get.”“
6th Iranian Ship en Route to Venezuela
Tasnim News Agency
June 20, 2020
„An Iranian cargo ship is expected to dock in Venezuela soon, an arrival that comes shortly after Tehran sent five tankers loaded with gasoline to relieve its fuel-starved South American ally, a report said. […]“
Iran’s economy in desperate need of solutions
Amid a drop in global oil prices, even relief from US sanctions may not be enough to save Iran’s collapsing economy.
By Ali Dadpay
June 19, 2020
„Facing declining oil prices and rigid sanctions by the United States, the Iranian government needs to find new ways to fund its public spending. The solutions might prove unpopular both with the public and the powerful elites. […]“
„[…] The new legislators admit that the infrastructure for the successful implementation of new taxes is lacking, but they cannot wait. Fearing that such fees would impact capital markets and saving patterns across Iran, pushing Iranians to invest in the highly volatile Tehran Stock Exchange, many economists are warning the parliament to study their potential consequences carefully. The government is searching for new ways of selling its holding in various companies via new privatization programs or directly via the Tehran Stock Exchange. Some officials propose to impose taxes on religious foundations and their associated conglomerates, something which has never happened in the past. […]“
How Oil Sanctions Spurred Iran to Reconsider Regional Trade
For those seeking pathways to stable economic growth in the Middle East, developments in Iran may serve as a model – Iran represents the first major oil producer in the Middle East to transition to overall dependence on non-oil exports.
By Esfandyar Batmanghelidj
The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington
June 15, 2020
Manufacturing Gives Iran a Lifeline
Private-sector growth has compensated for the sanctions squeeze on oil exports, but a new threat looms.
By Esfandyar Batmanghelidj
June 14, 2020
„[…] Iranian authorities eased the lockdown in mid-April, and that decision appears to have paid-off in the short term. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data published by the Iran Chamber of Commerce, show that private-sector manufacturers returned to expansion in the first month following the relaxation of the lockdown. As the pandemic continues to depress oil prices, the non-oil exports will be even more important for the country’s economy this year. But new threats loom. Given the pivotal role of Iran’s manufacturing sector in the country’s economic resilience, the U.S. may seek to tighten the sanctions noose. In January, the White House issued a new executive order targeting the “construction, mining, manufacturing, or textiles sectors of the Iranian economy.” The administration is in effect targeting the private sector and the millions of blue-collar workers in the country’s factories, contrary to its stated intention of using sanctions to restrict the financial resources of government authorities. If the Trump administration follows through on this order the impact will undermine any post-pandemic rebound.“
Iran Navy successfully test-fires new-generation cruise missiles during drills
June 18, 2020
„Iran’s naval forces have successfully tested new-generation cruise missiles — designed and developed by experts at home — during military drills in the Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean. […]“
Chief rabbi of Iran: Israel does not represent Judaism
In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Rabbi Yehuda Garami, chief rabbi of the Jewish community in Iran, explains about their daily lives and why he paid a condolence visit to the family of assassinated Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
By Mordechai Goldman
June 22, 2020
US-IRAN CONFRONTATION IN LEBANON: COUNTER-MEASURES AND ESCALATION
By Elijah J Magnier
June 27, 2020
„It’s looking like a long, hot summer, as tensions increase between Washington and Tehran, US elections approach, and the “maximum pressure” exercised by the US escalates. After Syria, it is Lebanon’s turn. The country’s financial failure has reached the point of no return. The US is trying to attribute the consequences of the severe economic situation to Hezbollah, the strongest of Iran’s allies even if US officials claim otherwise. However, Iran and its ally have resolved that the Lebanese society to which Hezbollah belongs will not be bullied or pushed into famine. No one should be surprised to see Iranian ships docking at Latakia harbour to supply Lebanon with much needed food, energy and medical supplies. […]“
THE US “SOFT WAR” ON IRAN AND ITS ALLIES TURNS AGAINST WASHINGTON
By Elijah J Magnier
June 23, 2020
„The US administration under Barack Obama drafted “Caesar’s Law” in 2016 to subdue Syria but kept it in the drawer. President Donald Trump and his administration dusted it off and are now implementing “Caesar’s Law”. In fact, Trump’s policy is manna to Iran: the US administration is playing straight into the hands of Tehran. Iran is reaping huge benefits, including more robust allies and resistant strongholds as a result of the US’s flawed Middle Eastern policies. Motivated by the threat of the implementation of “Caesar’ Law”, Iran has prepared a series of steps to sell its oil and finance its allies, bypassing depletion of its foreign currency reserves. […]“
Iran, France Finalize Date to Read Black Box of Ukrainian Plane
Tansim News Agency
June 29, 2020
„[…] Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Mohsen Baharvand said Iran and France have finalized the date to read the black box of a Ukrainian plane that was mistakenly downed near Tehran.
“The Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) has done the necessary correspondence with the air accident investigation and analysis office of France, and agreements have almost been finalized,” Baharvand said on Sunday.
“If everything goes like this and no unexpected event comes up, the black box will be taken to France by an aviation team from our country, and work to read and extract information from the black box will get underway on July 20, 2020,“ he said. […]“
Iran Develops 3D Printer to Produce Fibre-Reinforced Composites
Researchers at an Iranian university have designed and built the largest 3D printer to produce fibre-reinforced composites in various industries.
By IFP Editorial Staff
June 29, 2020
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Last updated: May 14, 2020
36 individuals identified in connection to Soleimani assassination
Iran has asked Interpol to arrest Trump at the top of the list for the assassination
June 29, 2020
„Tehran Prosecutor General Ali Alqasi-Mehr has said that 36 individuals have been identified in connection with the U.S. assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani. “36 individuals who cooperated, collaborated, and participated in the assassination of Hajj Qassem, including political and military authorities of the U.S. and other countries, have been identified,” Alqasi-Mehr said on Monday, according to ISNA. Their arrest warrant has been issued and announced to Interpol, he added. […]“
No End to Illegal US Sanctions War on Iran
By Stephen Lendman
June 29, 2020
„[…] Aiming to make Iran’s economy scream and its people suffer, they’re political instruments of mass destruction, a flagrant UN Charter breach — war by other means.
In 1996, the Vienna-based International Progress Organization called sanctions “an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorest members of society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill, and the elderly.”
Imposed to get targeted nations to bend to its will, US sanctions war on North Korea for around 70 years, on Cuba for over 60 years, Iran for over 40 years, Venezuela for over 20 years, and other countries failed to accomplish their objectives by turning their populations against their ruling authorities. […]“