Sixteen countries, including Iran and China, have proposed forming a coalition to defend the UN Charter and counter unilateral sanctions and coercion. China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and others are seeking support for a coalition to defend the United Nations Charter by pushing back against the use or threat of force and unilateral sanctions, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday. […] Other founding members of the group are Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Syria, and Venezuela.
According to some reports China has developed a ‘blocking statute’ to subvert US sanctions imposed on Iran. This follows President Joe Biden’s stance, which amounts to enforcing the policies of the previous US President, Donald Trump, against Iran.
Media reports and sources have suggested that an Iraqi bank holding billions of dollars of Iranian funds has been allowed for the first time in years to process transactions involving the funds after gaining a waiver from US sanctions against Tehran. […] The issue of funds was also raised during a Saturday phone call between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, according to a report on the website of Rouhani’s office. Estimates suggest Iraq owes Iran $4-5 billion in unpaid dues over imports of natural gas and electricity. The two countries have negotiated on several occasions on how they can transfer the funds, including during a last week meeting between CBI and TBI chiefs in Tehran.
Wendy Sherman, US President Joe Biden's nominee for deputy secretary of state, has suggested that Washington should keep some sanctions on Iran - even if the United States returns to the multilateral nuclear deal.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iran retains access to just $8.8 billion of readily available foreign currency, roughly one-tenth of its total reserves. Without access to its reserves held in countries like Iraq, South Korea, Japan, and Germany, the central bank has struggled to forestall the weakening of Iran’s currency, which is today worth less than one-fifth of its value prior to Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This deep depreciation made imported goods more expensive, contributing to annual inflation rates of nearly 50 percent. […] In September 2019, the Trump administration designated Iran’s central bank under a terrorism authority, a move that jeopardized long-standing exemptions permitting the bank to play a crucial role in facilitating the purchase of humanitarian goods such as food and medicine. In February 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a new general license to allay those concerns. But more troubling was the intention behind the terrorism designation, which was applied to Iran’s central bank for the express purpose of making it harder for a potential Democratic administration to lift sanctions on the bank in the future.
An Iranian government spokesperson on Tuesday said that South Korea will be releasing $1 billion in frozen assets as an “initial step” in resolving a dispute between the two countries. […] According to Rabiei, there is currently $7 billion to $10 billion worth of oil payments held in South Korea. Bloomberg reports that Rabiei linked the release of Iranian funds to the recent seizure of a South Korean oil tanker.
Unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States inflicted $1 trillion worth of damage on Iran’s economy and Tehran expects compensation, its foreign minister said. Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday after the US takes action to restore Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers through lifting sanctions, Tehran will want to negotiate on the damages it has suffered. “When we meet, we will raise compensation,” Zarif told the Iranian state-owned news network PressTV in an hour-long interview. “Whether those compensations will take the form of reparation, or whether they take the form of investment, or whether they take the form of measures to prevent a repeat of what Trump did,” he said in reference to former US President Donald Trump.
The plane was carrying catalysts intended for the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), said the three people, who were speaking on the condition of anonymity, adding that over a dozen further similar flights are expected. Last year, Iran sent more than a dozen flights to help restart the 310,000 bpd Cardon refinery and alleviate acute gasoline shortages in Venezuela. It also dispatched three flotillas of vessels carrying fuel to the Latin American state.
Since President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20, Iranian and U.S. officials have postured in public remarks over who should make the first move in returning to the Iran nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Underlying this debate, however, are questions of how each party can come back into compliance with the deal and what barriers stand in the way. Iran will need to reverse a number of steps it has taken in ramping up its nuclear program. The Biden administration, on the other hand, must contend with a series of sanctions and designations that were inherently designed to make returning to the JCPOA more difficult. Known as the “sanctions wall,” architects of the Trump administration’s Iran policy targeted entities subject to nuclear-related sanctions relief under the Obama administration with duplicative terrorism designations. They said this double layer could create a “sanctions wall of political and market deterrence” to undermine a future administration’s ability to ease or lift sanctions. But on closer examination, their efforts created less a “wall” than a transparent edifice built on political calculations.
Biden’s insistence on keeping US sanctions in place, which is itself a clear violation of the JCPOA, reveals that the new president has effectively adopted Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy and that he intends to use this to his advantage vis-à-vis Iran. For Iran, therefore, Biden is already no different from Trump. Again, Biden the-candidate thought differently of the “maximum pressure” when he said that recent developments have “proven that Trump’s Iran policy is a dangerous failure. At the United Nations, Trump could not rally a single one of America’s closest allies to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran. Next, Trump tried to unilaterally reimpose UN sanctions on Iran, only to have virtually all the UN security council members unite to reject his gambit.” Biden the-President, however, thinks that it is not a good idea for the US to return to full compliance and that Iran, which never violated the deal even once before the US sanctions were imposed, must return to full compliance. There is, therefore, little gainsaying that such a position can be only taken with a view to un-necessarily complicating an already complicated enough a scenario.