All tagged sanctions
◢ Last year, the Swiss government opened negotiations with the Trump administration to ensure that Switzerland’s significant sales of pharmaceutical products and medical devices—technically exempt from U.S. sanctions—could continue unimpeded. But the National Security Council has so far prevented the Swiss effort to ease trade in food and medicine in a remarkable subversion of longstanding U.S. protections for humanitarian trade with Iran.
◢ The state-owned company at the center of European efforts to save the Iran nuclear deal is entering its next phase of development. In a push to process transactions more quickly, INSTEX is rolling out a new factoring service for European exporters. The company is also making new hires that will enable it to expand operations more quickly in the coming year.
◢ Over the last 18 months, the Iranian rial has lost nearly 70 percent of its value, hammered by the Trump administration’s decision to reimpose secondary sanctions on Iran in violation of the JCPOA. But new interventions by the Central Bank of Iran appear to have helped stabilize the currency, leading some commentators to proclaim that the rial is no longer vulnerable to Trump’s maximum pressure campaign.
◢ The Trump administration has imposed successive rounds of economic sanctions targeting nearly all productive sectors of Iran’s economy. But a new wave of restrictive measures now under consideration would have the practical effect of totally severing Iran’s economy from Europe, critically undermining humanitarian trade with Iran.
◢ Josep Borrell, the current foreign minister of Spain, is a worthy nominee to replace Federica Mogherini as the EU’s top diplomat. His views on Iran suggest continuity with Mogherini’s pro-engagement policy and willingness to push back on the Trump administration’s unilateralism. But as the crisis over the JCPOA accelerates, the situation Borrell will inherit in a few months may prevent him from keeping the EU engaged in constructive dialogue with Iran.
◢ According to analysis provided by TankerTrackers.com, a tanker owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) has delivered oil to the Jinxi Refining and Chemical Complex in China, marking the first confirmed delivery of Iranian crude purchased after the Trump administration’s revocation of waivers permitting the sale of Iranian oil on May 2.
◢ During a meeting with the Islamic Republic's political elite, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated calls for a “resistance economy,” but also placed new emphasis on the “increasing the ease of doing business.” The specificity of some of Khamenei’s advice and observations about Iran’s economy suggests a greater appreciation for the practical importance of economic reforms that go beyond well-worn political slogans.
◢ On the same day that Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif traveled to Beijing for talks on "regional and international issues,” the Chinese oil tanker PACIFIC BRAVO began to head east, having loaded approximately 2 million barrels of Iranian oil from the Soroosh and Kharg terminals in the Persian Gulf over the past few days, according to analysis provided by TankerTrackers.com.
◢ The appointment of a new CEO at Iran Air exemplifies Iran’s renewed reliance on what its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called a “resistance economy.” In order to overcome the restrictions imposed by sanctions, Iran will turn increasingly to a cadre of “resistance managers,” elevating individuals and empowering networks with unique capacities to keep Iran’s trade flowing under duress.
◢ Working class Iranians could look forward to a hearty meal of meat stew or kabob at least once a week. But with meat prices soaring to all-time highs, Iranians are having to cut back on their consumption in yet another example of falling living standards as Iran’s economy falters under the pressure of sanctions and mismanagement.
◢ The Trump administration has announced a new wave of sanctions on Iran’s steel, aluminum and copper industries. But while the administration has claimed the move is intended to deny Iran’s government foreign exchange revenue, the likelier intention behind targeting the metals industry related to the sector’s role as perhaps the single most important employer in Iran.
◢ Iran’s decision to scale down its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by President Donald Trump signifies a serious foreign policy failure for the EU and its member states. They have acted too meekly and ineffectively in the face of unilateral U.S. sanctions, and this unnecessary softness may well come back to haunt them as the U.S. use of extraterritorial sanctions expands.
◢ In a joint call coordinated by the Istituto Affari Internazionali and the European Leadership Network, Europe’s leading policy experts urge the United States to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in order to avoid a proliferation crisis in the Middle East, repair the transatlantic relationship, restore respect in international law and multilateral diplomacy, and end the harms being inflicted on the Iranian people.
◢ The standoff between the Trump administration and Iran is escalating, and Europe is caught in the middle. Brussels and national governments in the U.K., France and Germany, meanwhile, have been criticized by Iran for their response to U.S. sanctions. Europeans “speak eloquently”, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in February. “They also need to walk the walk.” But it would be wrong to dismiss Europe’s efforts as hopeless.
◢ Mohammed Barkindo, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), will arrive in Tehran tomorrow to visit an annual oil exhibition. Iran is one of the five founding members of OPEC, which is set to mark its 60 year anniversary. Despite this long history, the extraordinary challenges facing Iran’s oil industry have spurred industry leaders to debate three scenarios regarding Iran’s membership in OPEC.
◢ Until American policymakers can conceive of relations with Iran as something more than a set of tactical accommodations designed to address threat perceptions, they are unlikely to solve the question of Iranian proliferation decisively. It is discouraging to see Democratic candidates articulate their intentions towards Iran exclusively within the paradigm of the JCPOA and its ability to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.
◢ Iran’s automakers have pre-sold more than 1 million vehicles, most of which are earmarked for delivery to customers in the Iranian fiscal year that started in March. But with vehicle production declining at a steep rate, fulfilling these orders will be no easy task.
◢ Reform-minded Iranians, especially those inside the ailing banking system, are worried that the US government’s step to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization has doomed a years-long effort to get the Islamic Republic off a consequential global blacklist.
◢ The administration of US President Donald Trump last week designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, part of Iran’s armed forces, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. With the future of both the Iran nuclear deal and prospects for US-Iran diplomacy at stake, a political fallout is the clear intention behind designating the IRGC a terrorist organization.