• 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.

  • 2020-09-19

    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of virtually all previously terminated U.N. sanctions” and, in effect, declared a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran as no longer in force.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.

  • 2020-09-16

    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.

  • 2020-08-30

    This SIPRI Policy Brief describes European responses to secondary sanctions that the United States imposed on Iran after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In particular, it looks at the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), which was established by France, Germany and the United Kingdom in 2019 to facilitate European–Iranian trade, initially focusing on the humanitarian sector. While falling short of the kind of comprehensive economic normalization that was expected under the JCPOA, INSTEX could help maintain the ailing nuclear agreement in addition to addressing some of the negative humanitarian consequences of sanctions in Iran. INSTEX can also be seen as a test case for a more independent European foreign policy that could better withstand future disagreements with major powers.

  • 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. 

  • 2020-07-31

    The call here is not for an overall change of US policy toward Iran, even though that would be the most desirable course to take. Rather, it is a call for pragmatic measures that could help ensure that sanctions, which have humanitarian exemptions under US and international law, actually protect the lives of Iranian doctors and nurses as well as the wider public. There are other reasons besides humanitarian ones for why the US should take the step of providing sanctions relief. As Iran’s neighbour, Turkey knows full well that Iran’s stability and security are essential for the region. This cannot be overemphasised. It is a regional power. Pushing and pressuring Iran into a corner serves no one’s interest and is tantamount to looking for trouble. The Gulf States and Israel also stand to benefit from the COVID-19 crisis in Iran stabilising. To expect Iran, a proud and enduring nation, to fold in the face of sanctions is futile. 

  • 2020-07-23

    This week, Iran announced its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in February. The uptick in cases and deaths is the result of a new wave of infections that began May 3rd, two weeks after the gradual easing of the country’s partial lockdown in mid-April.