In September 2021, at the height of the unprecedented fuel shortage in Lebanon, a tanker carrying Iranian fuel docked at a Syrian port where the fuel was loaded onto trucks and driven through an illegal border crossing into Lebanon. The fuel shipment was brokered by Iran-backed Hezbollah to help alleviate Lebanon’s energy crisis that has been brought on by the country’s ongoing economic crisis. The newly formed Lebanese government made no comment about the shipment while Hezbollah hailed the arrival of the fuel a ‘victory’ and as having ‘broken the American siege’ on Lebanon. Despite it being in violation of US sanctions on trade with Iran, the US ignored the scenario altogether.
This case highlights the continued effort of Iran to break trade control laws and sanctions of other nations to procure items for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Additionally, Iran continues to actively recruit sympathetic or persuadable individuals to acquire commodities for its sensitive programs. Some of these exports appear to violate the JCPOA. Future discussions with Iran should address the illicit activities being undertaken by Iran’s government in defiance of international and national laws and regulations. This also highlights that Iran continues to lack the domestic capability to produce certain sophisticated measuring equipment and analytical instruments, such as spectrometry systems essential for a uranium enrichment program, and thus, is forced to seek these items elsewhere. Iran continues to go to extensive lengths to acquire the necessary components for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and utilizes front companies and other schemes to deceive legitimate businesses and individuals. All suppliers should remain vigilant, exercising greater due diligence when fulfilling orders for sensitive commodities and reporting any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities.
Below are breaking news items from a speech delivered by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on 13-09-2021, in which he provided extensive details about his movement’s ongoing efforts to import much-needed fuel shipments from Iran to Lebanon aimed at breaking what Nasrallah says is a US-led economic siege on Lebanon.
Yesterday morning, an Iran Air A330 on its way to Hamburg entered a holding pattern waiting for the heavy fog parked over the airport to lift. However, a little over one hour later, the plane lifted back up to 30,000 feet and took off for… Milan. How come? […] Iran Air is not allowed to receive jet fuel at any airport in Germany. This is because many western supply companies have stopped selling fuel to the airline in order to comply with the sanctions imposed against Iran and its flag carrier by the US. The problems for Iranian airlines to refuel in much of Europe first arose in 2011. Measures were tightened again in 2019, making any third parties who supply Iranian airlines with maintenance, catering, refueling, and even booking, also liable to prosecution. For fuel companies, of which many also operate in the US, this is a bit of a conundrum. […]
Lebanese economist Ziad Nasreddine comments on the potential ramifications of Hezbollah’s ongoing efforts to ship Iranian fuel to Lebanon, an effort announced by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah a day earlier.
It appears likely that Iran’s enormous economic potential will remain untapped by most European enterprises in the short term. Nevertheless, Europeans should ramp up their economic diplomacy. Those European companies that resume trading with Iran deserve the full support of their governments – the billions of euros of goods and services they trade will create the foundation for constructive EU-Iran relations. Without this foundation, pro-deal figures inside Iran, including in the new administration, will find it much harder to make the case for sustaining the agreement in the long term.
Iran is exporting hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil each day, violating American sanctions even as world powers negotiate to lift the economic penalties and revitalize a nuclear accord that was rendered all but defunct by the Trump administration. The oil exports have been rising over the past year, according to data and analysts who monitor a collection of monthly statistics and satellite images from around the world. Iran’s exports sharply increased last winter, the data show, after the November elections. That has raised questions about the effectiveness of American sanctions when they are imposed unilaterally, as they were during the Trump administration. And it suggests that Iran and its oil buyers may be betting that any penalties they may face are worth the risk as the Biden administration works to rejoin the nuclear deal that Mr. Trump jettisoned in May 2018.
2021-04-13Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minist
Last month, we marked the 20th anniversary of signing the Treaty on the Basis for Mutual Relations and Principles of Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Treaty laid the foundation for bilateral interstate communications under the principles of international law and mutual respect. Our relations fully meet the high standards set forth in this extremely important document. We have noted the intensive nature of bilateral political dialogue, including at the highest level. We have agreed to continue implementing trade, economic, energy, agricultural, transport, industrial and nuclear-sector agreements, reached by our leaders. We have praised the close coordination between various agencies in key areas of the diverse Russian-Iranian partnership. We have positively assessed contacts between the secret services, military agencies, humanitarian institutions and overall human contacts. We have separately discussed expanding cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran. In December 2020, it was decided to launch talks on signing a permanent free trade agreement that would replace the 2018 temporary agreement which is now being successfully implemented. We have agreed that full-fledged trade liberalisation will help boost mutual trade still further.
When now-retired Republican Sen. Bob Corker put a hold on U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia in 2017, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro drafted a memo titled “Trump Mideast arms sales deal in extreme jeopardy, job losses imminent.” The memo, along with the Trump administration’s subsequent decision to lift the hold, is often framed as cynical trade-off: Billions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-made military hardware were helping to sustain a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, but those same dollars could help support thousands of American jobs. Faced with the choice between workers at home and human rights abroad, the Trump administration appeared to have put “America first.” But bombs aren’t the only thing the American worker can build for the Middle East. Just as President Donald Trump was ramping up arms sales in the Gulf, he was also working to kill the Iran nuclear deal. A primary component of that deal was economic—as sanctions lifted, Western companies could help rebuild Iran’s aging civilian infrastructures by resuming trade and investment in Iran. One of the earliest contracts that Iran signed called for American aerospace manufacturer Boeing to build 110 jumbo jets—worth roughly $20 billion—to help revive Iran’s civilian air fleet. The estimated nearly 20,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs the civilian contract could have created was strikingly similar to number associated with the Saudi arms deal, yet it was terminated when Trump backed out of the Iran deal and reimposed sanctions.
The Biden administration has boxed itself into a maximalist position that jeopardises efforts to make the Iran sanctions programme more humane. European governments should be pushed to change course.