• 2020-06-14

    Manufacturing Gives Iran a Lifeline

    Private-sector growth has compensated for the sanctions squeeze on oil exports, but a new threat looms.

    By Esfandyar Batmanghelidj

    June 14, 2020

  • 2020-06-08

    Majid Taheri had spent nearly 16 months in US prisons for allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran. The release comes a few days after US military veteran Michael White was freed by the Islamic Republic. He was sentenced to prison for security crimes and a lawsuit by private plaintiffs. Iran has reiterated that no direct negotiations had taken place between Tehran and Washington for the release of the two prisoners.

  • 2020-06-08

    U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran’s shipping network took effect on Monday, months after they were announced in December following accusations of supporting proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement on Monday warned commercial and maritime industries, governments and others that they risked U.S. sanctions if they did business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its Shanghai-based subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping Company.

  • 2020-06-07

    In a statement on Thursday night, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi confirmed media reports that the United States had released Dr. Majid Taheri, an Iranian scientist who had been imprisoned in the US on false charges, after spending over a year in jail, while calling on Washington to release all other Iranian citizens taken “hostage.”

  • 2020-06-04

    In recent weeks, Iran and China have pitched in with spare parts, inputs such as catalyst and expertise to help PdV to repair key units of its 305,000 b/d Cardon and 140,000 b/d El Palito refineries. The Iranian-flagged Clavel, the last of the five Iranian tankers, arrived yesterday at the El Palito terminal and started unloading over 300,000 bl of gasoline early today, an oil union official at the refinery in Carabobo state tells Argus.

  • 2020-06-04

    Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian elaborated on the achievements made during his visit to Iraq, saying a two-year contract was signed with Iraq to export electricity. Speaking in an exclusive interview with IRNA, Ardakanian said the contract used to be one-year but during this trip both sides signed a contract for exporting electricity in 2020 and 2021.

  • 2020-05-24

    On Saturday, AP News reported that the first of 5 Iranian oil tankers “reache(d) Venezuelan waters with no sign of (a) US threat.” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted the news, saying: “Today, the first ship with gasoline arrives for our people.” According to maritime tanker tracking information, the last of 5 Iranian tankers en route to Venezuela is about three days from entering its waters as of Sunday. In its latest edition, the Washington Post cited unnamed analysts, saying that 5 Iranian tankers carry an estimated 60 million gallons of gasoline, adding: The Trump regime “invoked the (long ago outdated) Monroe Doctrine” that rejects foreign interference in the Western hemisphere. It’s a footnote in the dustbin of history where it belongs. The US interferes regularly in parts of the world not its own by endless preemptive wars and other hostile actions — the highest of high crimes under international and constitutional law.

  • 2020-05-14

    On May 14, 2020, the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury, and the U.S. Coast Guard, issued an advisory​​ to provide those engaged or involved in trade in the maritime industry and energy and metals sectors with further information and tools to counter current and emerging trends related to illicit shipping and sanctions evasion.  

  • 2020-05-07

    Iran provides Iraq with around 1,200 megawatts of electricity per day, and 40 million cubic meters of gas. On Dec. 9, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said his country had signed a three-year cooperation agreement with Iraq for extending Iranian energy exports. On Nov. 9, Ardakanian had announced that the power grids of Iran and Syria were to be connected through Iraq, as Tehran and Damascus signed a preliminary agreement in this regard. From an Iranian perspective, exporting electricity to surrounding countries, including Turkey, is part of Tehran's efforts to widen its financial resources; however, from US President Donald Trump’s point of view, this is an attempt to get around the sanctions imposed by Washington under the “maximum pressure” strategy that aims at drying up all sources of funds that might reach Iran. 

  • 2020-05-06

    Just a few days after Iran announced its first deaths from COVID-19 in February, the Trump administration’s Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook was asked during a briefing for an update on the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), a payments channel intended to ease the sale of medicine and medical devices by Swiss companies to Iran. Responding to the question, Hook acknowledged that no further transactions had been processed since a pilot transaction involving a $2.55 million sale of medication a month earlier, but insisted that there were “more transactions coming.”Two months later, over 6,000 Iranians have lost their lives to COVID-19, and the Swiss channel has yet to process any further transactions. Since the Trump administration reimposed secondary sanctions on Iran in November 2018, the Swiss government has worked to establish a dedicated banking channel to ease the export of medical supplies to Iran. Switzerland is the second largest supplier of medicine to Iran after the European Union. While technically exempt from sanctions, the sale of medical supplies has been made more difficult as banks refuse to process Iran-related transactions. In a recent client note, former Director of the US Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) John Smith detailed how “the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign has likely dissuaded many companies from exporting medicine and medical devices to Iran that they otherwise could.” 

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