• 2020-11-13

    U.S. sanctions are preventing Iran from making advance payment to the global COVAX facility set up to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries, the Iranian government said as the virus death toll kept climbing in the Middle East’s hardest-hit state. 

  • 2020-11-05

    Currently, it appears that American sanctions have had two outcomes: first, there has been a decrease in foreign tourists from Europe and China coupled with an increase in foreign tourists from neighboring countries, presumably for pilgrimage; and second, policymakers have shifted their attention to stimulating demand for domestic tourism. By all measures, however, the industry has been severely handicapped by the COVID-19 pandemic, suffering job losses estimated at around 13,000 by August 2020 among tour guides alone, not to mention in hotels and travel agencies. Prognoses for the future remain bleak, as demand is not likely to rebound soon, and promised government support for the industry has been slow to materialize.

  • 2020-10-11

    As a legal matter, the next U.S. president could remove sanctions on Iranian banks immediately, although there could be practical limitations, such as how quickly the bureaucracy updates regulations and documentation for compliance officers worldwide. But the president has wide-ranging authorities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to suspend or terminate the sanctions under which these designations were made. He could simply instruct the Treasury Department to terminate the designations. Politically, it may be more complicated. The terms of the designations do not identify any illicit conduct by these institutions, which makes it easier to argue for their termination. But it would be more controversial politically to remove sanctions on banks identified as facilitating terrorism, human rights violations, or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy also has support outside the administration; any move to lift sanctions could face opposition and claims that lifting sanctions undermines the broader effort to contain Iran’s ability to conduct terrorism, repress its own population, or build up its military.

  • 2020-09-29

    The first tanker of a three-vessel Iranian flotilla carrying much-needed fuel for Venezuela has entered waters of the South American country in clear defiance of sanctions imposed on both countries by the US. According to Refinitiv Eikon vessel tracking data, the Iran-flagged tanker Forest, which is transporting some 270,000 barrels of fuel loaded in the Middle East, entered Venezuela’s exclusive economic zone around 8:05 a.m. local time (1205 GMT) on Monday with no disturbances.

  • 2020-09-27

    The US has granted Iraq a 60-day extension to a sanctions waiver allowing it to import Iranian gas for its crippled power grids, an Iraqi official told AFP on Wednesday. Baghdad relies on gas and electricity imports from its neighbour Tehran to supply about a third of its electricity sector, worn down by years of conflict and poor maintenance. The US blacklisted Iran's energy industry in late 2018 but has since granted its ally Baghdad a series of temporary waivers to stave off country-wide blackouts.

  • 2020-09-24

    On September 19, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States had reimposed U.N. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The five other major powers that signed the original agreement – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – rejected the Trump administration’s decision to invoke so-called snapback sanctions.

  • 2020-09-19

    The United States took this decisive action because, in addition to Iran’s failure to perform its JCPOA commitments, the Security Council failed to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which had been in place for 13 years. The Security Council’s inaction would have paved the way for Iran to buy all manner of conventional weapons on October 18. […] If UN Member States fail to fulfill their obligations to implement these sanctions, the United States is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences for those failures and ensure that Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity. […] In the coming days, the United States will announce a range of additional measures to strengthen implementation of UN sanctions and hold violators accountable. Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until Iran reaches a comprehensive agreement with us to rein in its proliferation threats and stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed.

  • 2020-09-19

    In March 2020, Iran became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic outside China. […] Although the early predictions that the virus would kill between 250,000 and 500,000 Iranians by August 2020 have failed to materialize, and the second wave is slowly flattening, Iran is by no means out of the woods. Its economy is still in tatters, its currency is depreciating, and inflation is still above 30%. Given how far apart the positions of Iran’s leaders and the Trump administration are, there is little hope for any improvement in the near future. The situation could change significantly if the Democrats win the White House in November and decide to return the US to the JCPOA.  It is ironic how intertwined the lives of ordinary Iranians with US politics is given how hard the Islamic Republic has tried to distance itself from the US over the past four decades.

  • 2020-08-20

    For years, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders have beseeched Trump to drop his America First, bull-in-a-china-shop approach to diplomacy, in favor of consensus-building through the United Nations and other international organizations. They may soon wish they hadn’t. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed he will travel to U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday to formally trigger the so-called snapback provision that would force the Security Council to reactivate sanctions imposed against Iran in the years before a 2015 agreement to try and force Tehran to curtail its nuclear weapons program. 

  • 2020-08-01

    The head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) said that his organization is determined to facilitate the export of technical and engineering services to Syria, TPO news portal reported. Emphasizing the significance of the Syrian market for the export of Iranian services, Hamid Zadboum said that this issue has been seriously investigated in two expert sessions of the TPO. During a meeting between Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous and an Iranian delegation in Damascus on June 17, the two sides explored the ways to further develop economic cooperation between Iran and Syria which have been targeted by the U.S. sanctions. 

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