◢ Tehran city council on Tuesday elected Pirouz Hanachi, a little-known technocrat, to the politically sensitive post of mayor that has in the past led to Iran's presidency, state television reported. Hanachi is the third mayor of Tehran to be elected by the city council since reformists swept to power in local polls in May 2017.
◢ The resumption of wide-ranging American sanctions on Iran promises economic uncertainty for the Islamic Republic’s neighbors in the Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. All three have to various extents relied on Iran for natural gas, and stand to be affected—if only by uncertainty until the exact scope of the sanctions becomes clearer.
◢ Austria has rejected hosting a special payment system designed to help EU countries trade with Iran despite US sanctions, the Austrian foreign ministry said Tuesday. "We were asked if Austria would be prepared in principle to host this special purpose vehicle," foreign ministry spokesman Peter Guschelbauer said.
◢ Iran has been abiding by the terms of its nuclear deal with global powers, the latest report from the UN atomic watchdog indicated Monday, days after fresh US sanctions hit the country. The International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report showed that as of early November, Iran had been complying with the restrictions to its nuclear program laid down in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
◢ US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Friday that more sanctions were possible on Iran just days after a new round of measures touted as the most punishing ever on Tehran entered into force. "I think that you're going to see even more sanctions coming into play over time and much tighter enforcement of the sanctions," Bolton told reporters in Paris.
◢ Iranian celebrities including Oscar-winning film director Asghar Farhadi and Grammy winner Kayhan Kalhor have launched a petition condemning US sanctions on Tehran and warning of the impact on ordinary people. A last tranche of US sanctions were reimposed on Monday following the decision by US President Donald Trump to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal earlier this year.
◢ Iraq has won an exemption allowing it to buy Iranian electricity despite US sanctions, as the country plagued by chronic power shortages walks a tightrope between rivals Washington and Tehran. With US measures imposed Monday taking aim at Iran's banking and energy industries, there were concerns Iraq—which heavily relies on its eastern neighbor for electricity and consumer goods—would be caught in the crossfire.
◢ The United States on Wednesday warned all ports and insurance companies to steer clear of Iranian ships, which it called a "floating liability" after the imposition of sweeping US sanctions. Since Monday, the United States has aimed to end all of Iran's sales of oil, its crucial export, in a bid to curtail the influence of the Shiite cleric-led state.
◢ Three members of an Iranian separatist group that Tehran blames for a deadly attack in Iran and who were targeted by a foiled assassination plot in Denmark have been arrested, Danish police said Wednesday. "Three people have been arrested suspected of violating the Danish law... on condoning terrorism," a police statement said.
◢ The United States said Tuesday it would exempt Iran's Indian-backed port of Chabahar from new sanctions on Tehran, recognizing the value of the project to Afghanistan. Iran late last year inaugurated the port on the Indian Ocean which provides a key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan and allows India to bypass its historic enemy Pakistan.
◢ The foreign ministers of Spain and Russia on Tuesday hit out at US sanctions policy against Iran and ultimatums they say are being imposed by Donald Trump's administration. President Trump in May abandoned a 2015 multi-nation deal with Iran aimed at reining in its nuclear program. The deal had been unanimously endorsed by a United Nations Security Council resolution, making it legally binding.
◢ Turkey has warned Washington against its new sanctions on Iran, saying isolating the Islamic Republic is "dangerous.” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday. Washington this week imposed a second set of sanctions on Iran that aim to isolate the country's banking sector and slash its oil exports. Eight countries including Turkey have received a US waiver to continue importing Iranian oil.
◢ The United States said Monday it was issuing waivers to allow the continuation of a nuclear deal with Iran, after declaring the agreement a disaster and slapping sweeping sanctions. Hours after sanctions went into effect that ban most trade with Iran, the State Department said it was exempting projects set up through the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated under former president Barack Obama.
◢ The United States will exempt China, India and Japan from oil sanctions on Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, while vowing to be "relentless" in pressuring Tehran. Hours after sweeping sanctions were reimposed following the US withdrawal from a denuclearization deal, Pompeo said eight countries would be at least temporarily exempt from the ban on buying Iranian oil due to special circumstances or so as not to disrupt energy markets.
◢ The SWIFT banking network, the backbone for international monetary transfers, said Monday it has suspended several Iranian banks from its service, after the United States reimposed nuclear sanctions on Tehran. SWIFT, the Belgian-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, provides banks with a secure messenger network to allow international transfers.
◢ Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic republic "will proudly bypass sanctions" by the United States that took effect on Monday targeting the country's oil and financial sectors. "I announce that we will proudly bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions because it's against international regulations," Rouhani said in a televised speech.
◢ Iran's powerful Guardian Council on Sunday rejected a bill on joining the UN convention against terrorist financing seen as crucial to maintaining trade and banking ties with the world. The conservative-dominated council, which oversees legislation passed by the parliament, said aspects of the bill were against Islamic law and the constitution and sent it back to lawmakers for revision.
◢ Iran's economy had plenty of problems even before US President Donald Trump decided in May to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose "crippling" sanctions. But that move exacerbated a record drop in Iran's currency, down 70 percent in the past year, and prompted an exodus of foreign firms.
◢ Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday that President Donald Trump has "disgraced" US prestige and would be the ultimate loser from renewing sanctions on the Islamic republic. A defiant Khamenei dismissed the renewed US sanctions—including an oil embargo—that take effect on Monday.
◢ Working from their small offices in Stockholm, analysts at a new watchdog that monitors global oil shipments have been run ragged by Iran's efforts to skirt US sanctions this month. In late October, every single one of Iran's vessels "went dark", switching off their transponders to avoid international tracking systems—a first since TankerTrackers.com began operating in 2016.
◢ Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook briefed reporters regarding Iran sanctions to be reimposed on Monday November 5. This transcript was published by the Office of the Spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State. The briefing took place on Friday November 2.
◢ Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin on brief reporters via teleconference regarding Iran sanctions to be reimposed on Monday November 5. This transcript was published by the Office of the Spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State. The briefing took place on Friday November 2.
◢ Turkey will be among eight countries allowed by the United States to continue importing Iranian oil, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Friday. "We know Turkey is among the countries that will be given an exemption but we do not have the details," the minister said, quoted by state-run news agency Anadolu,
◢ The United States will allow eight countries to continue importing Iranian oil but only at much lower levels after the reimposition of sanctions on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday. 700 companies, individuals, businesses, aircraft and ships will be added to the US sanctions list, widely expanding the people and entities Washington seeks to block from accessing global business and financial networks.
◢ Six months after President Donald Trump bolted from a nuclear deal on Iran, the United States from Monday will try to strangle the country's economy with sweeping sanctions, but doubts abound on how effective the campaign will be. But much has changed since the Obama administration targeted Iran's economy in 2012. Obama won broad international support as he set a goal of bringing Iran to the table to end its nuclear program.
◢ The US administration likely will enable some countries to continue importing oil from Iran in the short term, despite Washington's maximum pressure campaign against Tehran, White House national security adviser John Bolton said today. The State Department is expected to provide such exemptions before the full brunt of US sanctions pressure begins on 5 November, even though the scope of waivers is yet undetermined.
◢ The EU effort to save the Iran nuclear accord by building a mechanism to buy Tehran's oil despite the return of US sanctions has run into difficulty. Brussels supports the deal struck in 2015 to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, which was dealt a blow in May when the US President Donald Trump pulled out. But Washington has announced the reimposition of broad sanctions from November 4, including on Iran's oil sector, scaring off European traders.
◢ Denmark said Wednesday it was consulting with its allies about possible sanctions against Iran after accusing Tehran of plotting an attack against Iranian dissidents living in the Scandinavian country. Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen was to begin contacting his European counterparts on Wednesday to discuss possible sanctions against Iran—most likely economic ones, a diplomatic source told AFP.
◢ Befitting his bull-in-a-china-shop reputation, John Bolton's whirlwind tour of the Caucasus left a trail of geopolitical wreckage that his hosts are still trying to pick up even after Bolton himself is back in Washington. As expected, the visit of Bolton, the U.S. National Security Adviser, focused on getting the states of the South Caucasus—Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan—on board with Washington's efforts to isolate Iran.
◢ Denmark on Tuesday recalled its ambassador to Iran after it accused Tehran of plotting a foiled "attack" against three Iranians living in the Scandinavian country. "It is the Iranian government, it is the Iranian state that is behind" the plot, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen told reporters. He added that he was consulting with "partners and allies", including the EU, about possible sanctions.
◢ A hardline member of Iran's powerful Guardian Council was facing a backlash on Sunday after criticizing one of the country's top religious figures for meeting with reformist politicians. The dispute reflects the diversity of views within Iran's religious elite and the fact that, well after the 1979 Islamic revolution, some senior Shiite clerics fiercely defend their independence.