All in Business

Californian Farmers Waged 'War' on Iranian Pistachios and Won

◢ A forthcoming documentary by journalist Yasha Levine and filmmaker Roman Wernham explores the fiercely political and highly lucrative world of pistachio farming in California. Their reporting focuses on Stewart and Lynda Resnick, a billionaire couple who stumbled into pistachio farming fifty years ago as a safe haven from high inflation and taxes, only to become power-brokers on issues ranging from Californian water supplies to US sanctions on Iran.

For Iran’s Economy, the Price of a Car Matters More Than the Price of Oil

◢ The combination of reimposed sanctions, a slowing economy, and a devalued currency have put Iran’s automotive sector under severe pressure With nearly 1 million jobs linked to the automotive industry, the price of a new car could be even more important than the price of oil for the Iranian economy. In an interview with Bourse & Bazaar, Saeed Madani, the former CEO of SAIPA, warned that price controls are squeezing state-owned automakers.

Under Trump, US Sale of Medical Goods to Iran Down Nearly 40%

◢ With just two weeks until Trump reimposes secondary sanctions on Iran, administration officials are under increasing pressure to prove that the returning sanctions will not adversely impact humanitarian trade. Looking to US Census Bureau export data, a clear pattern emerges—the export of humanitarian goods like food and medicine remains significantly lower than average monthly values registered during the Obama years.

For Payment Service Venmo, 'Persian🍕' Raises Alarms

◢ Venmo is a “digital wallet” connected to one’s bank account that allows users to instantly send and receive money. Venmo users commonly include little messages when sending money to friends. But as a recent experience shows, including the words “Iranian” or “Persian” in a memo, even in reference to a pizza dinner among Iranian friends, can have transactions blocked for further review. Yet including the word “cocaine” in a payment memo will not lead to a compliance review, despite the violation of Venmo’s user agreement. This reflects the unique stigma around Iran transactions.

European Executives in Iran Ask: 'Should I Stay or Should I Go?'

◢ Many European businesses are pulling out of Iran for fear of being entangled in US sanctions. But these companies are overstating the complexity of the situation. Compliant business in Iran is not only possible, it is also ethically important because it helps support employees who not only face unemployment but will also no longer be influenced by values that promote increased understanding and tolerance in Iranian society. Recognizing such social obligations, Western companies in Iran cannot hide behind the sanctions if their real reason to leave or restructure is lost business result from the management’s lack of business skills, capabilities, and commitment.

International Airlines Are Leaving Iran. Here’s Why.

◢ News that British Airways and Air France are axing their service to Iran was met by anger from Iranians, who felt the airlines were bowing to political pressure from the Trump administration. To better understand whether commercial or political considerations are driving these decisions, Bourse & Bazaar spoke to an executive from one of the international airlines now withdrawing from Iran. The executive’s account provides a more precise picture of why numerous airlines have determined that flying to Tehran is no longer commercially viable. 

Iran's Government Steps in to Address Paper Crisis, But Papers Over the Cracks

◢ Iran is battling a paper crisis. Gradual price hikes have been increasing pressure on book and newspaper publishers over the last year, but the scale of the crisis became clear when Culture Minister Abbas Salehi announced on August 4 that the country has just enough newsprint paper in storage to meet two months worth of demand. The government has rolled out a support package that includes importing paper as an essential good. But the move defers real reform that is needed to address a decades-long problem of corruption and inefficiency.

Iran Sanctions Hopes Fly on Possible Delivery of Eight ATR Aircraft

◢ In a recent interview, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire expressed optimism for the delivery of eight ATR turboprops to Iran as part of a contract with Iran Air, the country’s national airline. Le Maire spoke of being “hopeful that the United States will provide authorization to deliver these aircraft.” The ATR deliveries, like the three Airbus deliveries made prior to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, are highly symbolic of the hope and expectations for increased trade and investment following the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

New US Sanctions Target Operator of Iran's Presidential Aircraft

◢ The US Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control on Thursday announced a new round of targeted sanctions designations, including sanctions on Dena Airways, the company which operates the Iran’s presidential aircraft used by Hassan Rouhani for official travel. The new sanctions follow the designation of Iran’s central bank governor, Valliollah Seif, and reflect a further targeting of the Rouhani administration.

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. 

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?

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. 

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. 

Iran Air Expands Routes Amid Uncertainty

◢ Despite recent uncertainty surrounding the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran Air has been moving forward with its expansion efforts, drastically changing its face in the airline industry.

◢ Iran Air's network has grown significantly since 2015, but remains much smaller than that of a decade ago. In 2002, the airline was serving 18 European destinations, compared to today’s 13 destinations.

LaLiga and MTN Irancell Team Up to Bring Global Football to Iran

◢ Spanish football league LaLiga held a three-day football clinic in Tehran in late February, welcoming 90 children for a day of coaching and friendly competition at the Olympic Football Complex.

◢ The clinic was delivered as part of a partnership concluded between MTN-Irancell and LaLiga in December 2017, which covers joint broadcasting and marketing activities. Irancell is one of the most active companies in sports marketing in Iran. 

As Delays Mount in Iran, Executives and Employers Face Tough Career Choices

◢ In multinational companies, the prospect of earning a promotion is largely tied to the ability to meet targets and hit milestones with speed. For exectuives, working on Iran-related projects in the present environment makes this difficult to do.

◢ For employers, longer project timeframes make management and staffing more difficult. In the current environment, the main concern around human resource management is not recruitment, but retention. To improve retention, companies finding ways to encourage and reward persistence