Iran Digest Week of November 2nd - November 9th

Iran Digest

Week of November 2nd - 9th

AIC’s Iran digest project covers the latest developments and news stories published in Iranian and international media outlets. This weekly digest is compiled by Research Fellow Shiva Darian and Communications Associate Shahab Moghadam. Please note that the news and views expressed in the articles below do not necessarily reflect those of AIC.


Economy

US unleashes sanctions on Iran, hitting oil, banking and shipping

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The US unleashed its "toughest ever" sanctions against Iran on Monday, a move that has already sparked mass protests in the oil-rich nation.

The Trump administration reinstated all sanctions removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, targeting both Iran and states that trade with it.

They will hit oil exports, shipping and banks - all core parts of the economy. (BBC News)

Iran's president vows to defy Trump sanctions

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to defy US sanctions as penalties targeting the country's oil-and-gas sector went into effect on Monday.

The most biting round of sanctions since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 deal to curtail Iran's nuclear program came into force Monday. The move targets Iran's oil-and-gas, shipbuilding, shipping and banking industries.

Iran will "proudly break the unjust sanctions," Rouhani said in public remarks during a cabinet meeting Monday. "We must make the Americans understand in clear language that they cannot deal with us with force, pressure and sanctions." (CNN)

Russia says US sanctions 'illegal', will help Iran trade oil

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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said Moscow will support Iran to counter US oil sanctions.

Washington on Friday restored sanctions on Tehran, which had previously been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.

The measures are due to come into effect on Monday. (Al Jazeera English)

Iran Nuclear Deal: joint statement by UK, France and Germany

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We deeply regret the further re-imposition of sanctions by the US, due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

The JCPoA is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and of multilateral diplomacy, endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council through Resolution 2231. It is crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world.

The JCPoA is working and delivering on its goal. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed in 12 consecutive reports that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the Agreement. (GovUK)

Iraq Gets Exemption From U.S. Sanctions on Iran's Energy Exports

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Iraq will continue to have access to the energy it needs from Iran to generate and supply electricity, Brian Hook, the special representative for Iran at the U.S. State Department, said Monday on a media conference call.

“Iraq has been granted an exemption” to the energy sanctions the U.S. has reimposed on Iran, Hook said, without providing details.

Iraq is still importing natural gas and electricity from neighboring Iran and has set up a bank account to process payments in Iraqi dinars, according to two Iraqi government officials, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to media. (Bloomberg)


Economy

Mnuchin says Iran's Central Bank to be cut off from global system

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the financial messaging service that moves money around the global banking system will be cutting off Iran's Central Bank.

"I understand that SWIFT will be discontinuing service to the Central Bank of Iran and designated Iranian financial institutions," Mnuchin said in a tweet. "SWIFT is making the right decision to protect the integrity of the international financial system."

The decision by SWIFT means Iran's Central Bank will be cut off from the international banking system and will cause significant economic pain, observers say. The move comes as the US tries to squeeze Iran with a slew of sanctions and economic measures that administration officials say are meant to make the regime change its behavior. (CNN)

Iran's economy to suffer but likely ride out U.S. sanctions storm

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Iran is likely to ride out the storm from U.S. oil sanctions, suffering recession but no economic meltdown, thanks to rising crude prices and deepening divisions between the United States and other major powers, officials and analysts say.

“Iran’s situation is better than pre-2016 because of high oil prices and the fact that the U.S. is isolated this time,” said a European diplomat who asked not to be further identified.

Iran emerged in early 2016 from years of global sanctions under a deal with world powers that curbed its disputed nuclear program. But President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in May, calling it flawed to Iran’s advantage, and reimposed far-reaching U.S. sanctions in phases, with the most damaging oil and banking penalties taking effect on Nov. 5. (Reuters)

Oil hits 7-month low as fears of a shortage subside

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Oil dropped to a seven-month low as concern eased that U.S. sanctions on Iran will squeeze worldwide supplies.

Crude settled down in New York on Monday after climbing earlier as American sanctions against OPEC’s No. 3 producer formally kicked in. The Trump administration granted waivers to China and seven other major buyers so they can continue buying some Iranian crude. Meanwhile, expanding domestic inventories dampened worries about tightening global supplies.

“The reality of the waivers is there will be some Iranian oil left on the market, but it’s still going to be an amount that the market’s going to miss,” said John Kilduff, a partner at New York-based hedge fund Again Capital LLC. (Bloomberg)


Women of Iran

FIFA to engage with Iran to lift ban on women in stadiums

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World football’s governing body FIFA said on Thursday it would work with Iran to end a long-running ban on women attending matches but offered no insight on when to expect the breakthrough.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura made the announcement after she met Maryam Qashqaei Shojaei, a prominent Iranian campaigner who made headlines at this summer’s World Cup with her #NoBan4Women sign protesting the men-only stadium rule.

“Held v. constructive talks this morning with advocates for #NoBan4Women,” Samoura said on Twitter. (Reuters)


Analysis

Trump’s Iran Waivers Are Not the Concessions They Seem

By: Esfandyar Batmanghelidj

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It should be welcome news for Iran that the Trump administration has granted eight countries Significant Reduction Exemptions (SREs) from U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic. These allow Iran to sustain oil exports at levels higher than many analysts had predicted when Trump first announced his withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May. Iran’s exports may remain above 1.1 million barrels per day.

At first glance, it would appear that the Trump administration’s decision is merely a recognition that suppressing Iranian exports too aggressively would drive up oil prices while also compromising American diplomatic relationships worldwide. But a closer examination of the waivers suggests that the Trump administration has deployed its concessions tactically. The inclusion of China, Italy, and Greece among the waiver recipients will complicate the politics around Iran’s oil exports, and undermine the broader international effort to defy the extraterritoriality of U.S. sanctions. (Bloomberg)