Increased Competition Squeezes Air France in Iran

◢ Air France recently announced the reduction of its flights from Paris to Tehran after first switching the service on the route to its subsidiary airline JOON. At a time of uncertainty surrounding the future of the Iran nuclear deal, the reduction of flights led to speculation that the move may have been influenced by the return of sanctions. But a look to the current competitive environment shows other significant changes to the market to which Air France was forced to react. 

Cañete to Discuss Vital Central Banking Solution on Iran Visit

◢ Europe’s Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete is set to travel to Tehran this weekend. Cañete’s visit will include discussions on possible new payment mechanisms designed to allow Europe to repatriate oil revenues to Iran’s central bank despite despite Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, offering a vital lifeline for the Iranian economy as sanctions begin to bite.

They Want War With Iran, They’re Settling For Economic War

◢ On Tuesday, French officials convened a briefing for French business on possible responses to Trump’s reimposition of secondary sanctions. French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire reportedly cited the French parable that “money is the nerve of war” to describe what is at stake. He may be more correct than he realizes, as the Trump administration gears-up for an economic war on Iran.

Total CEO Pouyanné: Transatlantic Partners Risk Gifting Iran to 'China and Russia'

◢ Speaking on Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington D.C. think tank, Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné faced several questions about his company’s recently announced decision to wind down operations in Iran following the reapplication of secondary sanctions by the Trump administration. Pouyanné warned that the “Atlantic allies” risk giving “all the Middle East region to China and Russia.”

Ambiguity in Trump Sanctions Could Put Humanitarian Trade with Iran at Risk

◢ In the years when Iran was under broad international sanctions, the country saw shortages in key foodstuffs and life-saving medicines. Despite attestations to the contrary, international sanctions hurt the Iranian people in cruel ways. As Iranians prepare for the return of U.S. sanctions, concerning ambiguity in OFAC’s new sanctions guidance may undermine the longstanding exemptions for humanitarian trade and the carve-outs for the Iranian banks which facilitate these sales.

U.S. Sanctions on Iran Set to Return: A Simple Explainer

◢ On 8 May 2018, U.S. President Trump announced that the United States “will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal” and that the United States “will be instituting the highest level of economic sanctions”. At the same time, U.S. authorities announced that U.S. sanctions would be re-instated, at the latest by 4 November 2018. What does this mean for companies who have ties to Iran or who do business in Iran?

After Trump’s Iran Decision: Time for Europe to Step Up

◢ The E3 should now acknowledge that its negotiating tactic of accommodation and comprise with Trump has failed. If Europe is to have any influence forthcoming US policy on Iran, European governments should quickly shift tack, unifying behind a more assertive diplomatic strategy aimed at deterring the worst-case scenario of renewed Iranian nuclear program and more instability and violence in a region close to its borders. 

Trump's Unequivocal Iran Deal Withdrawal Was the Best Outcome for Iran

◢ President Trump has violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and withdrawn from a landmark arms control agreement that enjoyed broad international support. Crucially, he did so more decisively than many expected. It is this decisiveness which may offer a sliver lining for Iran and Europe, who will find it easier to coordinate a robust response in the face of such a definitive action by Trump.

Iran’s Currency Crisis Spurs Action in Financial Reform Efforts

◢ Forced to respond by Iran’s recent currency crisis, the Central Bank of Iran is approaching regulatory reform in the financial sector with new energy. A critical deadline to meet standards set by the Financial Action Task Force is forthcoming in June. Iran needs to demonstrate progress in tackling financial crime estimated to include at least USD 27 billion in transactions annually.

Macron and Merkel Must Flex Muscles to Save Iran Nuclear Deal

◢ The forthcoming visits to Washington by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel come at a time of great importance for the Iran nuclear deal, regional security, and transatlantic relations. European policymakers are considering credible ways to signal that the EU is willing to take action if confronted with U.S. withdrawal from the deal, but a significant resolve will be needed.

Iran’s Energy Sector Takes Stock After Year of Ambivalent Results

◢ The last Iranian year, which ended in March, saw several interesting developments for Iranian energy, both domestically and internationally. Despite persistent challenges, Iran is keen to build on the momentum of last year’s developments. In doing so, the question of whether the Trump administration will stay in the JCPOA and renew sanctions waivers on May 12 will have great importance.

For Iran Warehouse, ‘Unglamorous’ Logistics Real Estate Offers Resilience and Returns

◢ The logistics industry in Iran is burgeoning with international players such as DHL Freight and Maersk Line connecting Iran's supply chains to the world. But Iran's logistics infrastructure remains underdeveloped. Iran Warehouse is making a big bet on logistics real estate and is building Iran’s first true Grade A warehouse park—a 60,000 square meter development in West Tehran. 

In Confirmation Hearing, Pompeo Unwittingly Makes Strong Case for the Iran Nuclear Deal

◢ During confirmation hearings yesterday, Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo sought to ensure the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of his deep commitment to diplomacy, even in the case of Iran. But committee members were well-prepared, challenging Pompeo on his record of hawkish statements. To defend himself, Pompeo was forced to defend the JCPOA as he struggled to stick to the administration's illogical talking points. 

Trump Stance on JCPOA Nuclear Deal Poses Legal Dilemmas for Iran

◢ With the May 12 deadline for the issuing of key sanctions waivers as part of the Iran nuclear deal fast approaching, the legal impact of the collapse of the 2015 agreement ought to be considered. Regardless of how Iran responds to a change in U.S. policy, the possible withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA will have a legal impact on its parties. Any possible change in the partnership or the provisions of the agreement will be reflected within the domain of international law.

Rouhani Government Unifies Iran’s Exchange Rates in Decisive Move to Stabilize Currency

◢  In a decisive move intended to stop the further devaluation of the rial, the Rouhani government announced it would unify the official and free market dollar exchange rates, settling on an official rate of IRR 42,000. First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri made the announcement last night, declaring that trading dollars above the new rate would be a serious crime. 

First OECD Complaint Filed Against a European Company for its Activities in Iran

◢ The filing of a complaint against Italian telecommunications firm Italtel under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises for its business activities in Iran is a warning about the scrutiny and politicized climate surrounding investment in the Islamic Republic. But companies can navigate these claims succesfully if they remain committed to responsible business and proactive monitoring.