• 2020-06-15

    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.” 

  • 2020-06-10

    Iran has recently unearthed a rare Bronze Age culture, related settlements and relics following to rounds of excavation in a plain near the north-central city of Qom.

  • 2020-06-06

    The next litmus test for Iranian-Chinese partnership is expected to come in October or maybe September. The U.S. has already announced its intention to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran and menaced to trigger the snapback mechanism enshrined in the UNSC resolution 2231 if other Security Council members refuse to support its initiative and let the embargo expire in October. China’s mission at the U.N. has stressed that Washington, which unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA before reimposing sanctions, has no right to extend the arms embargo or activate the snapback mechanism against Tehran.

  • 2020-06-04

    The two sides signed the agreement during a visit to Baghdad by Iran’s Minister of Energy Reza Ardakanian, stressing their determination to broaden cooperation in the energy sector, despite American pressure on the Iraqi government to reduce economic ties with its neighbor. Ardakanian in an interview highlighted the achievements of his one-day visit to Baghdad, where he signed the contract with the Iraqi Electricity Ministry.

  • 2020-06-01

    The economy minister noted, “The first offering of the shares of state-owned enterprises in the stock exchange was announced today and the worth of offering is 165 trillion rials (about $3.9 billion), and two more offerings will be held in near future.” “Along with such government-owned companies, we also saw non-governmental organizations such as Shasta, whose initial public offering took place [on April 15], and the rest have announced both their readiness and their plans,” he added. 

  • 2020-06-01

    The head of an Iranian parliamentary committee has said 230 people were killed during the November protests triggered by a spike in petrol prices - the first time an official has given an overall death toll for the unrest. "During these events 230 people were killed, six of whom were official agents and security forces," Mojtaba Zolnour, head of the parliament's national security and foreign affairs committee, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA on Monday. "Twenty percent of them were forces keeping order and peace," he said, adding that they included "the police, security and intelligence forces, and the Basij" militia, some of which are not under government control and considered unofficial.

  • 2020-05-28

    Given that China’s oil demand has now recovered from the COVID-19 outbreak to even higher levels than before, Iran is operating at full tilt to optimise the oil available to key ally Beijing from any and all of its fields. Principally this involves optimising output from the cluster of supergiant fields in the West Karoun oil region, attempting to increase the average recovery rate from older fields, and pushing forward on production increases from fields shared with Iraq and Kuwait. All of this is geared to twin objectives: increasing Iran’s crude oil production to 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the sixth development plan (ending in 2021/22), and ensuring that it is able to provide China with the steady flow of oil that it requires.

  • 2020-05-14

    The history and historiography of Iranian socialism and communism are myriad, plurivocal, and inevitably contentious. Like almost all national histories of socialism, they abound in emancipatory horizons, tales of unstinting bravery, and the unflappable conviction that things might have been otherwise. The first stirrings of social democracy in cities such as Tabriz during the Constitutional Revolution (1905–11), the Soviet Republic of Gilan (1920–21), the creation of the Communist Party of Iran, the activities of the group of fifty-three, the establishment of the Tudeh (Masses) Party in the course of the Allied occupation (1941-1946), and the revolutionary guerrilla campaigns of the 1970s, stand among a multitude of examples. The scholarship collectively attests to the immense importance of socialist intellectuals, parties, organizations, and movements, as well as the role they played throughout twentieth-century Iran’s politics and history. These histories feature various casts of heroes, villains, and renegades. They are imbued with tragic pathos, sectarian polemics, and lost futures. They have been characterized by unparalleled courage, commitment, and sacrifice in the struggle for revolutionary transformation, democracy, and radical equality. Yet they have also fallen foul of dubious trade-offs, miscalculations, intra-organizational violence, and blunders, as well as the perennial challenge of survival in the face of implacable and brutal state repression—first under the Pahlavis and subsequently in the shadow of the Islamic Republic. 

  • 2020-05-07

    Two months after the coronavirus pandemic broke out in Iran, we are seeing signs of a significant improvement for the total situation. The number of daily deaths has dropped below one hundred for a week in a row, the number of new COVID-19 cases has been on a continuous decline for more than three weeks, the restrictions are gradually being lifted and the streets are again vibrant. Iran’s success in combating the pandemic is the result of mobilizing all available governmental organizations and relying on its own know-how and industrial production. Alone and under the harshest sanctions seen in history, Iran has proven to be extremely effective, compared to the leading Western countries. In the face of global disasters and the vulnerability of civilians, it is traditionally common for nations to help one another, but recently we see something quite different from the U.S. regime. 

  • 2020-04-23

    In the past weeks, Iran has been pressing the international community for financial aid to help it deal with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. In March 2020 Iran appealed to the International Monetary Fund for a $5 billion emergency loan to fight the virus.  On April 7, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei approved President Hassan Rouhani's request of a $1 billion withdrawal from the National Development Fund of Iran for the fight against the pandemic. The fund, established in 2011, holds Iran's foreign reserves estimated at approximately $90 billion, obtained from the country’s oil and gas exports.

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