• 2020-09-29

    Under the plan, the administration would blacklist roughly 14 banks in Iran that have so far escaped U.S. restrictions, under authorities designed to punish entities associated with terrorism, ballistic-missile development and human-rights abuses. The proposal is still under review and hasn’t been sent to President Donald Trump. Included in the list are Saman Bank and Middle East Bank, the two remaining lenders still able to import food and pharmaceuticals into Iran. Officials at the banks, and the Central Bank of Iran, weren’t immediately available for comment. Drug and medical supply companies in Iran are now weighing the possibility that the proposed new penalties would all but paralyze their work. That could leave companies increasingly dependent on a small network of informal money changers overseas who can execute financial transfers but who might also find themselves in Trump’s crosshairs under the new sanctions.

  • 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.

  • 2020-09-24

    On September 19, the Trump administration formally reimposed U.N. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal. […] The Trump administration also threatened third-party sanctions, which would punish any U.N. member state that sold or provided Iran with conventional arms and materials for its missile and nuclear industries. […] In additional new sanctions against Iran, the Trump administration targeted 24 government organizations, companies, officials and suppliers connected to conventional arms, nuclear and missile program. On September 21, Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.N. Ambassador Kelly Knight Craft and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien spoke at a joint press conference.[…]

  • 2020-09-19

    Over the strenuous objections of its closest allies, the Trump administration reimposed United Nations sanctions against Iran on Saturday, though the weight of their repercussions is unclear without the cooperation of the world’s other major powers. In an evening statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the “return of virtually all previously terminated U.N. sanctions” and, in effect, declared a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran as no longer in force. “The world will be safer as a result,” Mr. Pompeo said. He also warned that the United States “is prepared to use our domestic authorities to impose consequences” for other countries that do not enforce the sanctions. He did not elaborate. 

  • 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.

  • 2020-09-16

    US sanctions have made the import of these pharmaceuticals and the raw materials needed to domestically manufacture more basic pharmaceuticals increasingly challenging. While US sanctions ostensibly do not target the humanitarian sector, international financial institutions remain wary of processing humanitarian transactions with Iran due to fear of falling foul to US sanctions, contributing to medicine shortages. I interviewed two individuals working in Iran’s pharmaceutical sector in late August to discuss medicine shortages and some of the challenges that foreign and local companies operating have faced since the reimposition of US sanctions. Both interviewees, while highlighting an acute need for some medicines, shed light on some of the regulatory, operational and integrity risks that foreign pharmaceutical companies face on the ground. 

  • 2020-09-03

    The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions against 11 Iranian, Chinese and United Arab Emirates companies accused of helping to bypass the American embargo on Iran's oil exports.

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